Flying the flag for womens safety

Women from the Lismore and District Womens Health Centre (l-r) Pamela Ashton, Sue Fraser, Andrea Brooks and Karuna Fielden with concerned supporters (front) Madeline Long and Amber McBride and the flags that will be flying around Lismore over the next two weeks.

When a young German tourist was brutally murdered in Lismore last year, the focus of womens safety was brought sharply to the publics attention.

Just two blocks away from where the body was found is the Lismore and District Womens Health Centre. No strangers to the increasing levels of violence against women but completely shocked by this brutality so close by, the Womens Health Centre team enlisted the support of young women to participate in a project focussing on safety and non-violence.

The result was Flagging Concerns, a series of flags designed by a group of young Nimbin women and decorated with messages of non-violence. Thanks to a grant from Lismore City Council and the support of both Lismore and Wollongbar TAFE, the flags came to life in 2005 to coincide with the international 16 Days of Activism Against Violence Against Women.

From next Wednesday, November 29, the flags will be flying in and around Lismore as over 35 local businesses, community and government organisations come on board to say no to violence against women.

The message is that women have the right to be safe in the community and within relationships, said Womens Health Centre manager, Karuna Feilden. Domestic violence in particular is largely a hidden crime and the message has to get out that it is wrong. We are trying to give young women a voice and the flags are a wonderful public display of support for womens safety.

The 16 Days of Activism Against Violence Against Women is an offshoot of White Ribbon Day (November 25), which was created by a group of Canadian men after 14 women at the Montreal School of Engineering were shot dead on December 6, 1989. The murderer believed it was because of female students that he wasnt accepted into the school.

If your business would like to support the Flagging Concerns project phone the Womens Health Centre on 6621 9800.

For more information on White Ribbon Day go to www.whiteribbonday.org.au. Women who are experiencing domestic violence should call the Domestic Violence Line on 1800 656 463.


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