Friday, 25 November is White Ribbon Day, an Australian campaign to prevent men’s violence towards women. Anything that raises awareness of the alarming facts about this prevalent and insidious problem in our communities is a good thing, and the topic has been strongly supported over the past year. It’s time such behaviour stopped, for everyone’s benefit. I wish, though, that the gender bias be removed from these campaigns, and that support be publicly offered to anyone who suffers from domestic violence and abuse, regardless if they are female or male.
It’s a matter close to my heart that, as a result of such strong campaigning that paints men with the colour of violence, men who have been the victims of violence by their spouse – female or male – are being made to ‘stand down’ and feel unable to speak up and be heard and helped equitably. The language of current compaigning is very exclusive and inadvertently creates a greater divide between the sexes. Male victims receive much less support – from being laughed at and sent home to their abusers by police officers when they finally make a complaint, hearing negative comments like, ‘why don’t you stand up to her and hit her back?’, to not being able to access appropriate Domestic Violence housing, and being denied access to their children and home when AVOs are the first go-to action of a displeased spouse (even if the order is not supported by the magistrate at the court hearing, it still creates undue stress of an already distressed person who is suddenly unable to see his family or access his home and possessions – with no access to DV housing a dispossessed man may end up sleeping in his car, or worse). As any woman who has experienced abuse in the home could confirm, speaking up about it is hard enough when you’re being listened to compassionately; imagine how much harder it is when you’re not of the ‘weaker sex’, and the response you’re most likely to first be confronted with is disbelief.
Men and women are equally important to our communities, and need to be able to stand shoulder to shoulder to help prevent each other from slipping into the shadows and falling down the cracks. I believe that violence in the home is unacceptable, regardless of gender. Let’s foster positive long term change through inclusiveness and support of anyone who lives with domestic violence.
A few months ago I picked up some hinged, vintage cigarette tins at a swap meet stall, figuring they would make excellent cases for some bespoke, handmade photo books. Soon after, a project came to mind that would feature photos from a family weekend by the sea, and I planned to use this pale blue tin as it would complement the sea-and-sky colours.
To start the book, I measured the insides of the tin, subtracting a border to allow for the rounded corners, and laid out the pages in Microsoft Publisher. I then cropped the photos to match the page dimensions, before inserting them into the publication document, and added a title page. They were printed on a basic Epson ink jet printer using matte double-sided photo paper, allowed to dry, then trimmed to size. I folded each page in half and attached them along the side edges to form one long concertina. The final part was to attach the end pages to the inside flaps of the tin. The result is a tiny keepsake, to be treasured by the recipient – hopefully – for many years to come.
A short walk from the central car park at Halls Gap, I had been wanting to visit Venus Baths since I first heard about that place from a friend last year; like many such wondrous places that one eventually gets around to visiting, I can’t imagine what took me so long. Recent good rains, plus more the previous night, ensured the rock pools and creek were lively with running water. The trail is clearly marked and is, despite there being some steps, easily navigated – as was evidenced by the presence of an enthusiastic mother of a toddler and babe-in-pram.
Along one rock face I was surprised to see text chiselled into it from, I presume, a century ago. Further along the trail I was delighted to find native maidenhair fern growing lushly on the side shaded from the afternoon sun. I am looking forward to visiting again at different times of the year.
Last month I grabbed some friends and indulged in an eating/walking tour of Adelaide, led by Carrie of Feast on Foot. We booked to do the dumpling tour, which started at the gates of Chinatown on Gouger Street, and made our way to four different eateries to try dumplings from a surprising variety of cuisines, beginning with Russian! My favourite was the tiny Korean eatery, just south of the railway station, where we picked the bowls clean.
Between venues Carrie showed us street art, sharing her passion for this currently popular art form.
It was a terrific way to spend the afternoon, with little guilt over the eating, due to all the walking!
Feast on Foot operates a few different tours around Adelaide CBD, you can find them online and on Facebook.
My home is in country Victoria, so kangaroos are a common sight: usually, as they’re bounding out in front of your car on the way home after dusk, which brings on more shrieks of concern than oohs of delight. Today, however, I was treated to a kickboxing show from the window of my accommodation, as two bucks engaged in a bit of biffo. Notice how the roo on the right is propped back on his tail while his legs are off the ground. They weren’t getting very serious about it, so were very entertaining to us and various other members of the mob who were standing around gawping, instead of careening into passing cars. Ah, the magic of Halls Gap!