The Australian High Commission partnered with Les Chefs du Coeur association on 23 November to host the 2018 White Ribbon Fundraising Dinner which raised over MUR284,000 for local NGOs Passerelle Women and Children’s Centre and Chrysalide.
The event, marking the International Day for the Elimination of Violence Against Women, attracted eminent guests including the Vice Prime Minister and Minister of Gender Equality, Child Development and Family Welfare, the Hon Mrs Fazila Jeewa-Daureeawoo, the Speaker of the National Assembly and Chairperson of the Parliamentary Gender Caucus, the Hon Maya Hanoomanjee and the Ombudsperson for Children Mrs Rita Venkatasamy.
Leading corporates, artists, members of the business community and members of the Association Mauricienne Des Femmes Chefs d'Entreprises supported the White Ribbon cause and its pledge never to commit, excuse or remain silent about violence against women.
Australian High Commissioner to Mauritius Ms Jenny Dee said the Australian Government had a clear commitment to reduce violence against women, in Australia and overseas.
“Violence against women and girls is pervasive and persistent throughout the world. It takes multiple forms such as physical, sexual, emotional and economic abuse. It may occur in the home or in the workplace and includes domestic and family violence, sexual assault, sexual exploitation and trafficking, and harmful practices such as early or forced marriage, and female genital mutilation. Real change can only happen if we change attitudes and behaviour.”
Ms Dee said she appreciated the strong support the High Commission received from its partners, particularly Les Chefs du Coeur, host Le Suffren Hotel and Marina, and the local corporate sector and artists.
“This support reflects a real commitment to work together to prevent domestic violence by looking at changing attitudes so that we can Stop It at the Start”.
Notes for the Editor:
· Chrysalide is a rehabilitation centre dedicated to supporting women suffering from substance abuse (drug and/or alcohol), including vulnerable women engaged in sex work, ex-prisoners and HIV positive individuals. Responding to demand, the centre has evolved since its creation in 2002 to provide a shelter for women who are victims of domestic violence.
· Passerelle Women and Children’s Centre was set up in 2015 to provide shelter for women and their children who are victims of domestic based violence and also those who are homeless. The centre provides a temporary shelter, providing support for them until they are able to reintegrate into society.
· White Ribbon was initiated after a student at the University of Montreal divided his class by gender then massacred 14 of his female classmates. In response to this horrific bias, a group of men decided to speak out and work to stop men’s violence against women and in 1991 they initiated White Ribbon as a male-led initiative. White Ribbon Day is now fixed on 23 November and the movement continues to grow with men and boys working to end violence against women in over 60 countries.
· In Australia, statistics tell us that on average:
- one woman a week is murdered by her current or former partner,
- Intimate partner violence is a leading contributor to illness, disability and premature death for women aged 18-44,
- Violence not only affects women, but the children of mothers experiencing domestic violence have higher rates of social and emotional problems than other children,
- violence against women is estimated to cost the Australian economy alone, $22 billion a year.
- One of the ways Australia is trying to address this is through the innovative Male Champions of Change program, founded in 2010 by the former Australian Sex Discrimination Commissioner, Elizabeth Broderick, together with a group of senior Australian businessmen committed to increasing women’s representation in leadership positions.
· The Male Champions for Change in Australia believe gender equality is one of the nation’s most significant societal and economic issues.
- The heart of The Male Champions of Change strategy involves men of power and influence forming a high profile coalition to achieve change on gender equality issues in organisations and communities.
- The Male Champions of Change Institute works with influential leaders to redefine men’s role in taking action on gender inequality. It activates peer groups of influential male leaders, supports them to step up beside women, and drives the adoption of actions across private sector and government.
28 November 2018