In a bid to spark the conversation in regional towns, a family domestic violence Q and A event will be held at Gulgong this Friday.
After listening to Ilona Harker’s song, Another Woman Gone, event coordinator Lyra Burghaus, said she felt the need do something about domestic violence.
“After my friend Ilona did the song, I was just so fascinated by it, the cause and speaking out about domestic violence and the statistics,” Lyra said.
We have a death every week from domestic violence and I didn’t know that, so I was just so captivated by it and thought ‘let’s do an event’.Lyra Burghaus
On average, one woman a week and one man a month are killed by a current or former partner, as reported by the Australian Institute of Health and Welfare.
With conversations held more regularly in larger cities on the topic of family domestic violence, Ms Burghaus believes it’s about time more of these conversations are had in towns such as Gulgong and Mudgee.
“We need to have the conversations in rural communities because it’s being had in parliament, in Sydney, in all the big cities, but we’re not really getting the conversation into our community,” she said.
“Having the conversation kind of opens the door for people.”
The event title, ‘Men we need your help’ was given to invite men into the conversation.
“The name of the event is inviting men into the conversation whether they have had the experience of domestic violence. It encourages men to join in the conversation,” Lyra said.
“We do have this idea that a man needs to be strong and a protector and can’t be vulnerable, that mentality is tough in the country.
“It’s not pointing the finger saying all men are horrible, it’s ‘let’s have the conversation’.”
The event will have a Q and A style format with Ilona Harker who is “really knowledgeable” about the topic leading the panel alongside a local police officer who has dealt with FDV, a local man and a local woman.
While discussions and questions will be asked among people on the panel, audience members are encouraged to share their experience or ask questions if comfortable to do so.
“If you do want to speak out, maybe think about what questions you would like to ask, write them down and if you’re feeling confident and comfortable, voice your thoughts but only if you're feeling 100 per cent comfortable,” Ms Burghaus said.
“It’s not easy to speak up.
It’s not about pushing anger or blame, it’s about communicating and bringing the conversation into to communities so that there’s more light on the topic.
“We are promoting this event is a peaceful conversation, and if anyone is feeling angry or anything then they will be asked to leave because we do want to create a safe environment for everyone that’s there.”
People who are not in a domestic violence situation are also invited to attend the night.
“For people that haven’t been a part of domestic violence, I’m one of those people too, it’s extremely important to visit events like this so that if there is someone close to you that is going through this, you have useful tools you can maybe help that person out of a tricky situation,” Lyra said.
It could be really insightful.
With the conversation based on a heavy topic, local band Wicked Whiskey will be playing after the Q and A to lighten the mood.
The event will be held at the Commercial Hotel Gulgong on March 15 commencing at 6pm.