In my memory I don’t think an Australian of the Year has made such an impact as Rosie Batty. She took the mammoth responsibility and ran with it, in fact some days it was hard to keep up with her.
She took a shameful secret and made it public discourse. Never before had we talked so much about domestic violence, but in a way that did more than just empower survivors. The discussion also saw us shine a spotlight on what is happening at the coalface and the stark reality of what happens cut after cut.
While late last year the Prime Minister announced a $100m injection back in to the domestic violence sector, it went nowhere need the amount needed to repair years of cuts.
So now that Rosie is no longer in our media every other day, what can we do to help?
Well you may be surprised but it can be really simple. All you need is a community you can call on and a local domestic violence service who needs your help.
Identify a local women’s shelter, support agency or organization in your area. Keeping it local will help you reach them easily and stay in touch with them.
Once you’ve identified them, do a bit of background research.
Are they affiliated with a religious group?
Are you ok with that?
Will your community be ok with that?
What services do they provide?
Can you describe them to other people who want to know more?
Get to know who they are as you will need to be able to promote them and raise awareness about them amongst your community.
Get in touch.
Once you have worked out which women’s service you wish to support get in touch with them. Find out what they need. While you may think a women’s shelter would love a heap of second hand furniture, really what they may want is money to buy new furniture.
Some times we make assumptions that they would want all our second hand goods when really they have no where to store it.
Or do they need food for emergency hampers? Disposable nappies?
When I contacted our local women’s shelter to do an Easter appeal for them they were quite clear. No soap or toothpaste as they have plenty of that, but instead things like hand creams and bath bombs for women to pamper themselves with.
They also did not want fresh food or baked goods. They wanted food they could store in their pantry for months to come.
What if they want money?
Then take that second hand furniture and hold a garage sale donating all you earn to them. Or have a bake sale and raffle.
A casual day in your office or school with a gold coin donation can bring in some cash.
Stay in touch.
While there are lots of ways to raise money and goods
what’s really important is it does not happen just once. Fundraising for grass roots women’s services needs to be ongoing and make sure your community knows that.
Just because Rosie Batty is no longer our Australian of the Year it does not mean domestic violence has gone away.