October shines light on sexual violence

OCTOBER is sexual violence awareness month. The theme is #RespectMeToo. Sexual violence can affect anyone regardless of age or gender. Women, however, carry the largest burden. One in five Australian women aged 15-plus have been the victim of some form of sexual assault.

Search #RespectMeToo and you’ll discover memes which encourage consensual, safe, equal and respectful relationships by seeking enthusiastic consent; accepting boundaries; calling out sexist behaviour or comment; accepting people may change their minds and celebrating diversity.

Logan women gathered at the Centre Against Sexual Violence on Friday to light candles, sending a message to survivors: “You are not alone.”

CASV provides counselling, education and information to communities in Logan, Beaudesert and Redlands. It counsels and supports women aged over 12 affected by sexual assault. The service also counsels and supports men and women affected by the Royal Commission into Institutional Responses to Child Sexual Abuse.

Prime Minister Scott Morrison will deliver a national apology to victims and survivors of Institutional Child Sexual Abuse on October 22 at Parliament House, Canberra. In Queensland, Women’s Minister Di Farmer has urged all Queenslanders to take a stand against sexual violence. 

Events held across the state to raise awareness include a Survivor’s Art Exhibition called What Were You Wearing? at CASV on Tuesday, October 9 from 2pm to 4pm. If only ending sexual violence was as easy as changing clothes. Instead it requires us to evaluate what enabled us as individuals and as a society to ask, “What were you wearing?” in the first place.

For information about support for those affected, visit qld.gov.au/community/getting-support-health-social-issue/sexual-abuse-assault, or phone 1800 RESPECT (1800 737 732) or Lifeline 13 11 14.