16 Days of Activism

This year’s 16 Days of Activism Against Gender-based Violence was a joint effort from staff and volunteers of CMY’s Speak Up program, a program dedicated to creating gender equity.

The campaign itself is a worldwide initiative starting on the International Day for the Elimination of Violence against Women, November 25th and ending on December 10th. The 16 Days campaign intends to bring awareness to the root causes of violence against women, and offering solutions to end it. Throughout the 16 consecutive days of the campaign, various messages were posted to our social media channels that were written by young Speak Up volunteers.

The messages were intended to highlight issues young people, particularly young multicultural women face, and solutions that could ensure safety for these women. To strengthen the campaign, CMY staff members from multiple different programs provided their own solutions from their own experience working with young people.

“Every conversation we have about rigid gender roles and gender-based violence helps in breaking down the taboo and moving us from apathy to action.”⁠

Sameera Fieldgrass, Practice Leader

“One of the biggest and easiest things that our communities can do to prevent gendered violence is to stop thinking it couldn’t happen to the people close to us, and that people close to us couldn’t be perpetrators themselves. We have to be ready to call out the actions of others, including friends, to contribute to greater societal change around preventing violence against women and gender minorities.”⁠

Thomas White, Project Support Officer with Culture Spring

“I think it’s really important that we normalise having conversations about gender-based violence in school environments because I didn’t know or learn enough about it until I was in Uni. It’s also important to create that safe space for young people to have conversations about gender equality, healthy relationships, respect and consent. This also includes more initiatives in schools, communities, and media that challenge harmful gender stereotypes

Frances Masi, Project Officer with WYPIN

“Culturally responsive education is crucial to dismantling deeply ingrained gender norms, particularly for culturally and linguistically diverse communities. They should be empowered to challenge and overcome cultural factors that contribute to gender-based violence.”⁠

Carissa Tan, Sector Development Officer

“Creating safe environments for women and girls in sport starts with representation – local clubs need to make sure there is equal representation in girls and boys sporting teams, coaching and club committees. This will ensure women and girls feel a sense of belonging and can feel confident to raise any concerns to people they feel comfortable with.”⁠

Simon Rodder, CMSport Manager

“Sharing the load, including the mental load, is key to gender equality. Knowing what is in the fridge, the kids’ schedules and when to do the washing shouldn’t fall back only on women. Reflect on normalised behaviours, how they impact different people around you and find ways to learn and make it better.” ⁠

Julia Rovery, CMY Gippsland Team Leader

CMY Gippsland in support

The CMY Gippsland team committed to 16 days of Activism by spotlighting themes of gender equality and respectful relationships into existing programs and initiatives.

In November, the Gippsland Youth Advisory Group (YAG) received GCASA for a special workshop encouraging important discussions about respectful relationships and consent. Empowered by the conversation and an ability to spark positive action, Gippsland’s own multicultural young peoples podcast ‘Double Standards’ tackled ‘Red Flags and Green Flags’ in their latest episode, dissecting empowerment, consent and respect in relationships. Listen to “Context Matters”

Continuing the momentum in December, Atong and Rebecca from the CMY Gippsland team joined Mirboo North Secondary and Trafalgar College to facilitate conversations with young people about what respect feels, looks and sounds like. Partners such as Headspace, Victoria Police, GCASA, Gippsland Women’s Health and Quantum also provided their expertise in services to support conversations.

Closing out the final Culture Club of the year, Traralgon College covered the theme of respect in their workshop, discussing the intersection of culture in chatting about respect and consent.

“Young people showed great engagement and we had meaningful conversations about respect in different settings”

Rebecca, CMY Gippsland