Regular readers will know I have spent the past six months as a volunteer Board Director for a new women’s shelter that is opening in Sydney’s northwest, The Sanctuary. Like most Australians, I’ve become increasingly alarmed by the headlines about women dying at the hands of their partners. In my work with teen girls, I hear more and more stories about young girls who are already trapped in relationships that are dangerous. My team of presenters at Goodfellas report the young men they work with also express concern about the men in their lives who make home a frightening place.
Part of the solution lies in educating youth and broadening awareness through my writing and work in the media. My more hands-on work at The Sanctuary is another more practical part of the way forward.
I’m happy to do everything from running our social media, to writing media releases, to helping with fundraising. But I am particuarly proud of two of the initiatives I’ve instigated for this refuge. One is The Sanctuary’s partnership with local boys’ college Oakhill. The other is connecting our work to the broader community through the establishment of an Ambassador program. Here our Ambassador Sarrah Le Marquand explains why this connection matters to her. This guest post was first published in The Daily Telegraph 5/4 and posted online at RendezView.
It might sound a bit rich coming from someone who writes and speaks for a living, but talk alone is cheap. Heightened awareness of certain issues is vital, but unless that awareness eventually translates into action then words are just words.
Which is why, at a time when certain aspects of the national discussion regarding domestic violence threaten to descend into a he said/she said slanging match, it is on-the-ground measures and community solutions that are making a real impact.
Late last week I had the privilege of touring The Sanctuary, a new shelter for women and children fleeing domestic violence that will open in Sydney’s northwest suburb of Castle Hill this week.
A state of the art facility equipped to provide three months of crisis accommodation for six women and their young families, The Sanctuary is a collaboration between the local community and Women’s Community Shelters that has become a reality despite no government funding.
To see first-hand the generosity of volunteers, including welcome packs for each family put together by male students from a nearby high school, is to see first-hand the triumph of action over talk.
There’s no navel-gazing lectures and petty point scoring on domestic violence here. Just good men and women making a real difference in the lives of victims.
Sarrah Le Marquand also spoke about her visit on Radio 2UE. You may listen here: