MWWA White Ribbon 2015 Barbecue ‘Draw the line’
MWWA White Ribbon Barbecue
‘Draw the line’
During the White Ribbon Day Awareness campaign, on the 29th of November 2015, the Muslim Women’s Welfare of Australia (MWWA) held its exclusive White Ribbon Family Barbeque. Families, including men, women and children, were invited to gather together for a day out to learn, make a change, and engage in a serious family conversation about the pressing issue of domestic violence in the community.
The theme for the event was ‘Draw the line’, as attendees were encouraged to take a stance and draw the line on domestic violence. A large amount of families dedicated their Sunday to joining MWWA in their awareness day to help change the facts, and stop the problem before it starts by preventing the occurrence of domestic violence.
The attendees were confronted with the tragic fact that, more than one woman per week, is killed by a partner due to an act of violence. For this reason, the many men who attended were asked to take a stand on Sunday with MWWA to prevent men’s violence towards women. The event focused on the positive role that men could play both on a personal level and in influencing the actions of other men within the community, in the hope of reducing the prevalence of such a tragic situation.
The President of MWWA, Mrs Faten El Dana OAM, shed light onto the work that the Muslim Women’s Welfare of Australia is doing to assist women in the community. Mrs El Dana targeted the deeper effects of domestic violence by considering the first step – preventing it in the first place.
She said: “Today as a community we will draw the line and hopefully stand together against DV. Here at MWWA, our main strategy in dealing with domestic violence is primarily through education and awareness,
by taking a more proactive (rather than reactive) approach to Domestic Violence.”.
The Deputy Chair of Darulfatwa, his Eminence Sheikh Ibrahim El Shafie offered the attendees an insight into the role of religious advisors as they teach, educate and advise men in the community using the religious knowledge of Islam. Sheikh Ibrahim spoke about the role that using the manners of the Messenger of God, Muhammad, peace and blessings be upon him, can have in helping couples and families to combat conflict in their relationships and applying these manners in the way women are treated.
He said: “It is narrated that the Prophet peace be upon him said, “The best of you are those who are the best to their women”.
Assistant Minister for Multicultural Affairs, Senator Concetta Fierravanti- Wells voiced the support of her colleague Minister for Women, Senator Michaelia Cash and highlighted her own support of involving men in the conversation on domestic violence and considering the cultural overlays, complexities and deeper factors that make up domestic violence.
Shadow Minister for Multiculturalism, Sophie Cotsis MLC, offered her input by highlighting how spreading awareness can help change attitudes and the social stigma associated with domestic violence, which is extremely important for the development of an effective prevention process.
Finally, Superintendent at Bankstown Police Local Area Command, Dave Eardley shared a very valuable perspective from the police point of view, emphasizing the importance of men developing strong relationships with their wives and daughters.
All the attendees at the event were given a resource produced by the MWWA team which gives a clear understanding of what domestic violence is, the causes and effects of domestic violence, its devastating impact on every member of the family, the religious judgement on domestic violence and various strategies for combatting domestic violence. Many attendees were delighted to get a copy and they commented on how “beneficial it was”.
To encourage men to participate, they were all invited to the White Ribbon Photo Booth where they had the opportunity to offer their promises to the women in their lives and share it with the world! The families also mingled in a joyous, comfortable and supportive atmosphere where they enjoyed the barbeque prepared for them along with some lovely side dishes.
Upon the conclusion of the event, the MWWA received some great feedback from its special guests. Senator Concetta Fierravanti-Wells said ‘I congratulate the Muslim Women’s Welfare of Australia for the work that you do, it is very important in raising awareness, not just for our resilience building for women, but also amongst the men in our community.’
Superintendent Dave Eardley, on the MWWA event said ‘I think today is an incredibly exciting thing, this is an inaugural White Ribbon Day with the Islamic community, particularly the MWWA. They have shown themselves to be true leaders within the Muslim community particularly in trying to further the needs of the Muslim women. It is imperative that we as police are a crucial stakeholder in this role about preventing violence against women and children and I just take great heart for the leadership that the MWWA is showing in this really worthy cause. We have to stamp out violence against women and children.’
Most importantly, the event on Sunday was a true reflection of the important role of the MWWA in its aim to drive change, make a difference and draw the line against domestic violence.