Beyond 16 Days of Activism Against Gender-Based Violence – ongoing collective action and civil society advocacy #thisisprevention

On this page, you can read all about primary prevention of gender-based violence and find out what is being done in northeast Victoria and the Goulburn Valley to contribute to a safer, more equitable region throughout the year. We want to encourage our community to get involved in prevention activities – at home, socially, in the workplace and in public life. Preventing gender-based violence is all about understanding and challenging the social and systemic conditions that drive gender-based violence – like gender inequity. It is only through broad cultural, social and systemic change that we will truly eliminate gender-based violence. People can make a difference working together – even decision-makers can be influenced by social norms and cultural values. Read on to find out more.

WHGNE Staff at the Mitchell and Murrindindi Shire Councils’ 16 Days of Acticism event, Steps Towards Change walk in Seymour

WHGNE is showcasing the value of prevention and civil society advocacy beyond the period of 16 Days of Acitivism

During the 16 Days of Activism, WHGNE highlighted the collective power of prevention and civil society advocacy. Beyond that, we are showcasing some of the exceptional prevention work being undertaken in our region throughout the year to demonstrate the strength of united action and collective investment in time, resources and commitment to the prevention of gender-based violence.

 WHGNE has developed a regional resource capturing the collective work of organisations in Goulburn North East towards the prevention of gender-based violence and ultimately gender equality – this is where our community and regional partners have contributed to showcasing prevention in action.

We hope to highlight how through civil society advocacy, we can all contribute to the prevention of gender-based violence and demonstrate to decision makers the value of prevention, which requires an investment in time, funding and resources.

We also hope to send the message to community that in spite of the awful statistics that accompany the 16 Days of Activism, there is hope, there is a pathway to change and there are practical actions we can all take to create a future that is safe and equal for everyone.

Preventing gender-based violence is a collective responsibility. Sometimes we all become overwhelmed by the statistics and the devastating human toll behind them. But as a collective, we can all contribute to positive change.

Civil society advocacy is about motivating governments, institutions, systems and the media to take collective action towards change. These seemingly monolithic entities are also made up of people – people like you and me. Organisations, businesses and communities can all embed gender equality into their everyday policy and practice, encouraging others to do the same.

We all have a part to play in the prevention of gender-based violence – in our day to day lives, through participatory democracy and through living the collective values of equity, justice and a commitment to human rights. To learn more about preventing gender-based violence and how we can work towards eliminating it through a whole-of-society effort, you can read our blog.

To illustrate how collectively, we can prevent violence with investment in time and resources, WHGNE is mapping prevention in our region through the ‘socioecological model’ (SEM), adapted from Our Watch’s original model to demonstrate a regional, strengths-based approach.

Here, this model features work being undertaken by WHGNE in the Goulburn North East region. To make the images larger, click on them. You’ll notice the different layers of the model – this is reflective of the multifaceted approach needed to promote gender equality and prevent gender-based violence.

Some of the prevention work illustrated here is directly linked to promoting gender equality, which is key to eliminating gender-based violence, and some of the prevention activities focus on increasing social equity and community cohesion. Our prevention work does not always appear directly linked to gender-based violence, but if you look closely all of our work is undertaken to increase equity and improve the lives of women and gender-diverse people in our region.

For example, in rural and regional areas, factors like more frequent climate-based emergencies can give rise to increased levels of family and intimate partner violence – demonstrating a need for climate policy and action through a gendered lens. 

Individually, actions or projects at a single level might appear to be insignificant in the broader scope of gender-based violence and femicide, but these actions as a whole, at varying societal levels, will make a difference over time – keep in mind, this model shows projects undertaken by one organisation across levels. Imagine what we can achieve as a collective movement, backed by decision-makers with investment in time, support and resources.

WHGNE’s own work featured here alongside organisations, institutions and individuals in our region provide insight into how we are collectively working to prevent gender-based violence across north-east Victoria and the Goulburn Valley demonstrating the potential of prevention as a cumulative, whole of society movement towards gender equality.

We want our community to know that the prevention of violence is possible through collective action and civil society advocacy. We want our governments and decision makers to acknowledge the value of prevention with investment and resources. And we want businesses,  organisations, institutions and government entities to know that your work towards gender equality and the prevention of violence against women and girls is important and will make a difference.

To find out more about any of the projects and activities in WHGNE’s socioecological model displayed here, you can navigate to further information via the links in this document.

Introducing the Goulburn North East regional socio-ecological model of prevention

16 Days of Activism Against Gender-Based Violence reminds us each year that ongoing action is required to prevent gender-based violence and femicide. The statistics can sometimes seem overwhelming – but as individuals, communities and as a whole society, the responsibility to prevent gender-based violence is collective. The most effective way to ensure the elimination of gender-based violence long-term is to practice primary prevention all year round, at all levels of society.

Through the adaptation of Our Watch’s socio-ecological model of prevention, we’ve added a strengths-based lens and applied it to activities and initiatives happening in the Goulburn North East region. These organisations in our region are taking practical action in the effort towards social, cultural and systemic change – and this is just a snapshot of the work being done across our region and the state.

Anyone can undertake prevention activities, from businesses, organisations and individuals, to all types of institutions and government. Most of these activities were submitted, but we’ve added some prevention activities we’ve noticed in the region – like highlighting women in leadership in local media or fostering digital inclusion among rural women – to showcase the diversity of settings in which prevention can take place.

When perusing the activities on the model, you might notice some crossover – activities can influence more than one category in the SEM – and these activities can be especially impactful. Each activity and initiative shown in this model is described in more detail in the links below. So go ahead and read more about the incredible collective effort taking place in northeast Victoria and the Goulburn Valley to prevent gender-based violence and promote a safe and equitable region.  

WHGNE extends a big thank you to all of the organisations and individuals who submitted their activities and quotes for this model.