White Ribbon Day Luncheon 2015

On Thursday 19 November 2015, the Casey Multi-Faith Network hosted a luncheon to mark the White Ribbon Day held around the globe to raise awareness about the issues surrounding violence against women. 

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About 50 people from the City of Casey and surroundings attended the event. The gathering began at 1pm with an informal luncheon and an opportunity to network for the guests present. Ms Stephanie Saunders, President of the Casey Multi-Faith Network invited the Mayor, Cr Sam Aziz to the podium to welcome the guests. Cr Aziz congratulated the Network in holding sessions which bring members of community together to talk about important issues such as family violence. Ms Saunders spoke briefly about the history of White Robbon Day before inviting the first guest speaker, Dr Crystal Bruton to talk about the Interfaith Resource booklet developed by the Dandenong Interfaith Network in collaboration with the CHALLENGE project. She gave practical examples about how faith and interfaith groups can come together to raise their stance against family violence.

The second speaker Ms Roshan Bhandary was from inTouch, a service provider that directly deals with victims of family violence from the Culturally and Linguistically Diverse communities. She spoke about the many types of family violence, the issues that are faced particularly by multicultural communities and the ways in which inTouch is raising awareness about Australian laws and educating newly arrived migrants about the way of life in Australia. She also said that one of the emerging issues the service provider is dealing with is the issue of "forced marriages" in various communities.

The third speaker at the forum was Ms Maha Sukkar, Constable and Multicultural Liaison at Victoria Police. Ms Sukkar in her entertaining style tackled various issues which included safety of women in general and how reporting assaults was the only way for the Police to help. She also spoke about she encounters backlash for being a Muslim policewoman on a regular basis. The local paper has written an article about Ms Sukkar. 

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Each speaker took questions after their talk and the audience took keen interest in the subject matter. Resources and publications related to family violence were made available to all guests. Ms Judy Wardale from Sunshine Australia also raised funds by selling Christmas cakes which sponsor education and empowerment of women in a small village located in South India. White Ribbon Day ribbons and bracelets were also available for sale, which raised a total of $42 which has been donated to the organization. 

It was a lovely event where community came together to express their solidarity against family violence, to meet one another and to network.