The theme of Wednesday’s International Women’s Day was #BeBoldForChange and 22 women from culturally diverse communities took up that challenge by speaking of their personal experience of family violence.
While many women are naturally reluctant to speak about their experience of domestic abuse, this is particularly true of women from culturally diverse backgrounds.
The Poetry Corners program records the experiences of women, whose voices are often silenced with the aim of encouraging change within their communities.
Titled One in Three, the digital poetry exhibition that launched on Wednesday evening in the Shire of Hume features the authors (and other members of the community) performing the poems.
Every year in Australia, one in three women will experience family violence.
Poetry Corners producer Emma Macy-Storch said that making One in Three was a powerful experience for all involved.
“Poetry Corners has been a transformative experience,” Ms Macy-Storch said.
“Where previously there was silence and shame around talking about family violence, during the workshops the women found the courage to step out of their comfort zone and speak up about the issue.”
Co-producer Nayana Bhandari hopes the courage of the women will encourage others to take a stand against family violence.
“I don’t think there is a compilation of poetry in Australia that is so raw and brutally honest about how women from diverse cultures really feel about family violence in their communities,” Ms Bhandari said.
“I dream of a world where every single girl irrespective of her age, demography, ethnicity or colour truly belongs to this world without fear of violence. Poetry Corners is a small step towards inspiring change from within community itself.”
While family violence was once seen as a ‘private’ problem, the work of people such as Rosie Batty and groups like Destroy the Joint have brought the issue to the fore of public discussion.
As the name suggests, the Counting Dead Women campaign keeps a tally of the number of women killed through violence. Last year, the death toll was 72 women. On 8 March this year (IWD), the number was nine. While these figures are shocking, much of the cost of family violence is hidden. Family breakdown, homelessness and an increase in police, medical and legal resources all impact on the wider community.
One in Three was launched on social media on International Women’s Day with the aim of reaching 1 million views throughout the next few months. The group encourages people to watch the video below and share with the hashtags #PoetryCorners #dv #STOPVAW
For more information go to www.facebook.com/PoetryCorners/