Men playing netball in skirts turned a few heads on Friday afternoon, and that was exactly the point.
They were raising awareness of violence against women as part of Dubbo’s annual White Ribbon Day event.
The day brought service providers and the community together for a barbecue and an all-men’s netball match to encourage people to “stand up, speak out and act to prevent men’s violence against women”.
“It’s all about awareness and telling people what services are out there,” Dubbo White Ribbon ambassador Kevin Saul said.
“We should be talking about domestic violence all year round but we need to have today to get the conversation going.”
Mission Australia, Dubbo Neighbourhood Centre, Orana Support Service, Murdi Paaki Regional Enterprise Corporation, Gagamin Aboriginal Men’s Group, Dubbo Community Connect, headspace, Break Thru, officers from Dubbo Police Station, Regional Australia Bank and Newcastle Permanent were all on hand to show their support.
Members of Dubbo College’s Clontarf Academies also helped out on the day, just one week after their mammoth 7622 lap White Ribbon bike relay.
Mr Saul said White Ribbon’s mission was to make all men responsible for violence against women.
“If you walk past it and let it happen then you condone it and it’s just not on,” he said.
“I’m not saying you have to physically stand in between two people...but if it’s a bloke you know, saying ‘mate that’s not on’.”
He also urged men to condemn emotional, psychological and financial abuse, as well as physical.
Mr Saul said he hoped the community day would encourage more victims to seek help.
“The more successful we are, the more the incidents are reported,” he said.
“People know that there’s support for them.”
If you or someone you know is impacted by domestic or family violence call 1800RESPECT on 1800 737 732 or visit www.1800RESPECT.org.au.
In an emergency, call 000.