Rev Belinda Groves reflects on Canberra Baptist Church's annual Blessing of the Animals for St Francis of Assisi Day and Season of Creation.
The Queensland Government dedicate the month of May as Domestic Violence Prevention Month. This May, in 2019, Strong Women Talking will participate by holding an Art Exhibition proudly supported by Wesley Mission Qld, Common Grace, and Speak Out.
I have the privilege of being the Founder and CEO of Strong Women Talking. The sole focus of Strong Women Talking is to prevent the cycle of family and domestic violence within our communities. Our vision is to educate, equip, and empower women, and we know prevention is the only way to achieve this for our women, children, and families.
Strong Women Talking’s program is based on an Aboriginal cultural framework. Our women that participate in the program are reinvigorated by connecting back to traditional cultural practices which includes ceremony. This is vitally important in each woman’s healing journey. At the start of the eight week Healing Journey, women are part of a ‘Cleansing Ceremony’ and a ‘Commitment Ceremony’. We also incorporate Indigenous caterers who, along with our Elders and our facilitators, make the women feel so special and supported as they commit to their healing journey.
Art is an important outlet and cultural practice for many of our women and this Domestic Violence Prevention Month we are holding an Art Exhibition in Brisbane on 28 May 2019. The art exhibition will showcase local Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander artists from the community as well as display artworks created by the women who have participated in Strong Women Talking workshops and women’s groups.
Strong Women Talking’s work is vitally needed in our communities, and in Australia. The women in our program complete pre and post evaluation surveys. These surveys show the following from participants:
knowledge of forms of abuse grew by 50%
knowledge of the cycle of violence grew by 80%
knowledge of abuse grew by 90%
knowledge of the impact of trauma on children grew by 92%
We believe this cultural framework, coupled with the element of education are the perfect ingredients for our women, children and families to be informed which will help break the cycle of violence. Our prayer is to break the cycle of violence once and for all! We are so excited to be on this journey with our women in community and are extremely excited to be hosting our first, but definitely not our last, Art Exhibition to highlight the work we are doing around the space of domestic and family violence prevention, and also to highlight the voice, talent, and strength of these resilient women.
Sono Leone is a proud descendant of the Garawa and Butchulla Nations now living in Brisbane, and the founder and CEO of Strong Women Talking, delivering culturally-sensitive Domestic Violence workshops to Aboriginal & Torres Strait Islander Women in communities.