A slightly embarrassed but rather chuffed Damien Roberts was loudly applauded at the launch of Healthy Futures Our Kids Deserve It, a new campaign aimed to empower women to avoid physical violence.
Damien is 10 years old and happy to stand up and be counted as a young person who will not tolerate family violence. He was also proud to star in the campaigns TV commercial that, along with radio commercials and posters, will hopefully send a strong message to the community to say no to violence.
Auspiced by the Northern Rivers Community Legal Centre, and with funding from the Indigenous Co-ordination Centre and Lismore City Council, the campaigns Aboriginal name is Mirrung Ngu Wanjarri, which means Aboriginal women making changes. As well as the TV and radio commercials there is a set of beautifully illustrated strength cards featuring Aboriginal artworks and positive affirmations to help women and men cope with concerns such as blame and anger.
David Kapeen, a local member of the Aboriginal community who officially launched the TV commercial, said he was proud to be known as an Aboriginal man who says no to domestic violence.
Violence is a learnt behaviour, said David, and a lot of men grow up and think it is normal. I want young kids today to be able to deal with anger differently. Its great to see young Damien stand up here and say this isnt right, and for Damiens mum to allow him to participate in this campaign takes great courage. She has had to deal with those issues and wants Damien to grow up differently.
Mirrung Ngu Wanjarri project officer Nancy Walke said it was important to reinforce the message that violence is wrong.
Were trying to create a different role model for the kids, teaching them that you can deal with anger in different ways, said Nancy. I know there are a high number of incidences of domestic violence in our community but I also know that Aboriginal people are talking about it more, and thats really positive. The fact that more police are called to these incidences is positive too, because it means more cases are being reported.
The strength cards will be distributed to indigenous organisations and will eventually be available for sale.
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