In the lead-up to White Ribbon Day (Tuesday 25 November), several local councils and organisations are throwing their support behind the Elephant in the Room. This colourful fibreglass elephant was developed in Wodonga by Gateway Health as a response to the often hidden or shameful issue of family violence.
The aim of the Elephant in the Room, as the name suggests, is to encourage conversations in the community around an issue that many find difficult to discuss openly. It is only through bringing the issue into the open and providing the community with information about the services like our own that we can assist victims and perpetrators to tackle the problem and help people to move on from its devastating effects. The elephant is accompanied by information about family violence, including brochures on services like ours that can help people seeking protection from family violence.
The elephant was a project originally developed by a group of women survivors of family violence. One side of the elephant features images that speak to the damage caused by family violence. The images on the other side highlight the strength that’s found by women recovering from family violence.
The elephant started its local road trip in Kyneton, where it was on display at the Kyneton Toyota Sports and Aquatic Centre. It’s fitting that the elephant should make her first Central Victorian appearance in Kyneton. The safety of victims of family violence at Kyneton courts have been an ongoing concern. In recent times they have also become a local state election issue, as reported in the Midland Express.
Last week it was in residence in the foyer of the Phee Broadway Theatre in Mechanics Lane, Castlemaine. Mount Alexander Shire recently acknowledged the importance of the issue on its website. In a statement that alerted locals to the elephant’s arrival in town it noted that: “Family violence has devastating effects on individuals, families and communities and there’s often a reluctance to acknowledge the issue. The problem is universal and is not isolated to specific ethnic or socio-economic groups. We all have a responsibility to act to prevent violence.”
After its Phee Broadway residency, the elephant moved on to the Castlemaine Farmers’ Market on Sunday the 2nd of November before travelling to Bendigo where it now has pride of place in the foyer of the Bendigo Bank building (pictured).