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Stronger Together Episode 7 - Zonta Empowering Voices in Our Community

Last updated: 01/12/2023

"STRONGER TOGETHER" is a weekly column where Tanya explores key issues. This week Tanya discusses the vital importance of community engagement and collaboration in addressing and overcoming the challenges of gender-based violence, as highlighted in our podcast episode 7 featuring Jo Leverett from the Zonta Club of Bundaberg.

By Tanya O'Shea, Managing Director, IMPACT Community Services

The 16 Days of Activism Against Gender-Based Violence campaign, spanning from November 25 to December 10, brings global attention to an issue that’s often concealed in the shadows until it's tragically too late—gender-based violence.

Statistics from the Australian Institute of Health and Welfare on gender-based violence in Australia are alarming to say the least:

  • 1 in 6 women (17%) and 1 in 18 men (5.5%) have experienced physical and/or sexual violence by a current or previous cohabiting partner since the age of 15 years
  • 1 in 4 (23%) women have experienced emotional abuse by a cohabiting partner, compared to 1 in 7 (14%) men
  • 1 in 6 (16%) women experience economic abuse by a cohabiting partner, which aims to control access to economic resources, compared to 1 in 13 (7.8%) men
  • 1 in 5 women (22%) and 1 in 16 men have experienced sexual violence since the age of 15 years

IMPACT Community Services is passionate about this movement, which aims to do more than just raise awareness about gender-based violence; it seeks to create a lasting and positive change that echoes throughout societies.

In our most recent STRONGER TOGETHER Podcast (Episode 7), I sat down with Jo Leverett, Zonta Club of Bundaberg board member and Zonta Advocacy Committee chair, to discuss the importance of community engagement and collaboration in preventing and eliminating gender-based violence.

Our conversation shone light on the indomitable spirit of those who have turned personal tragedy into powerful advocacy. The heart-wrenching stories of Hannah Clarke and Allison Baden-Clay, as shared by their families, emphasise the pressing need for societal change, inspiring legislative reforms such as the landmark legislation on coercive control in Queensland.

Over the 16 Days of Activism, the Zonta Club of Bundaberg’s projects, such as ringing bells to honour the victims of gender-based violence or lighting up fig trees in orange, are powerful expressions of support and memory.

Yet, our responsibilities extend beyond symbolic gestures. We must continually challenge ourselves and our community to recognise and address all forms of violence, broadening our understanding and language to encompass the diverse experiences of individuals facing violence and oppression.

As we approach the Day of Community on December 8, we extend an invitation for everyone to gather in Buss Park. Wear orange, symbolising a brighter future, and make the pledge to a future free from all forms of violence.

Our strength lies in unity; together, we can be the change. Remember, if the discussions in this column resonate with you, support is available. Contact Lifeline at 13 11 14 or visit impact.org.au for additional resources.

Please note: This website may contain references to, or feature images, videos, and voices of Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander peoples who have passed away.

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