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Domestic and family violence is the biggest issue in Australian society in that it effects every race, culture, age, sexuality, and social class.
The unfortunate statistics include that over 95% of abusers are male; 1 in 3 women in Australia have experienced physical and/or sexual violence at the hand of someone known to them; and 61% of women who have been abused in the home have had children present at the time of the abuse.
It's statistics like these that make us ashamed of the society we have.
Women's movements around the world have taken to the stage to bring equality to the front of the conversation but also to shed light on just how commonplace domestic violence and physical abuse is to women. From the #metoo movement to public forum on workplace harassment in positions of power, the rise of women offering up their voice for women everywhere has taken over. And we applaud it.
The conversation has now turned to how we address this issue and we're lucky to witness organisations such as RizeUp around Australia are beginning to tackle how to set an example and set a tone at an early age. To discuss the issue and behaviour in early childhood is a crucial move to changing the landscape.
Looking at Abuse
Did you know that there are 7 types of abuse?
Back when laws were stricter and you needed to provide physical proof of serious injury obtained by a spouse to be granted grounds for divorce, the other 6 types of abuse were hardly recognised. Now that we do recognise these as serious forms of abuse it's time for the laws and support systems to catch up.
The cost to escape
According to the NSW Communities and Justice data a woman will attempt to flee a domestic violence scenario 7 to 8 times before leaving for good. The Australian Council of Trade Unions has found it takes the average victim $18,000 and 141 hours to extricate themselves from an abusive relationship.
Currently under Australian federal legislation victims can access 5 days per year paid leave support to help relocate and deal with trauma – some public servants can access 10 days. That is only one quarter of what is needed. Further those who don't have financial independence often have to start from scratch whilst providing for their children.
Another major issue that falls into this sphere is Child Care. Access to affordable childcare has long been a debated topic in government and community. Australia has the 4th most expensive childcare system in the OECD (The Organisation for Economic Co-operation and Development comprises of 38 countries around the worlds). A KPMG analysis in 2018 found the cost of childcare is so high that for many working mothers, it’s more expensive for them to work four or more days a week than it is for them to do unpaid care work.
Nearly half of all women looking to return to the workforce cited access to affordable childcare within their local area was the biggest barrier they faced. Factor this statistic in to the already grim situation that it faced by women leaving abuse.
Providing support and opportunity
Caring for our earth and its inhabitants means holding out our hand to someone who may need a little extra strength to be picked back up. When you’ve spent, your years being pushed to the ground, physically or psychologically it can be difficult to find the courage to stand.
We want to do more than just help someone to stand up, we want to provide them with the opportunity to and support to help themselves stand on their own. So how can we do this?
Being on their side is a great start. Listening and empathising is helpful. Opening doors provides opportunity.
Our vision for the future
earthYARD has a dream of providing a workspace and learning hub for women escaping domestic violence, complete with on-site FREE day-care, food and essential supplies, equal fair pay and transport arrangements from shelters, lodgings and supported accommodation. We want to give women the opportunity to forge their own path, be it for a week, a month or for a few years. Providing opportunities to learn or relearn warehousing, administration, sales, operational management, quality control and even technical skills like natural cosmetic manufacturing is a great way to show these women that they are supported but also self-supporting. They are strong inspirational women and don’t need to feel like they are a statistic on the governments hand out list. The shame that can forge out of such a thought can negatively impact a women’s decision to leave an abusive setting. Women should not feel shame for taking back control.
Our vision is to see every business in Australia have a dedication to providing some level of support and equal opportunity to women choosing to stand on their own. Ideally there would be no need for such activities in the future as violence and abuse is eradicated, though until then, we have our own goals for what we can do to better the environment these women live in.
The work RizeUp do
RizeUp fund essential supplies and furnishings for women and children leaving emergency refuge and entering supported accommodation. RizeUp has three main programs that they seek financial support to achieve:
1) Rapid Response Program - RizeUp’s crisis program sources critical items required at a moment’s notice, including the costs associated with emergency relocation.
2) Homes Program - RizeUp sets up and furnishes the homes sourced by specialist services to support clients moving on from domestic violence.
3) Youth Enrichment Support Solutions - RizeUp supports the family by providing items of clothing for children to start at their new school.
Our One Good Thing
Getting to see our vision come to fruition is the end goal for us, but we’re not there yet. We’re still a small family business with a long way to go. We need growth, community support and stability to provide opportunity and support to women escaping family violence and abuse. Until we get to that point an equal portion of our One Good Thing Fund will be donated to support RizeUp and all the important work they are doing.