WHITE WARRIORS: Mildura Rural City Council White Ribbon Ambassador Tim Rodger, Advocate Kate McMillan, Ambassador Chris Parham, Advocate Mandy Whelan and Ambassador Cr Mark Eckel ahead of next weekend’s White Ribbon Community Walk. The group, and members of the public, will be joined by Richmond Football Club CEO, Brendon Gale, for the event. Photo: PAUL MENSCH

RICHMOND Football Club Chief Executive, and White Ribbon Ambassador, Brendon Gale, will walk shoulder to shoulder with Sunraysia residents in the push to stop violence against women during next week’s White Ribbon Community Walk.

Gale has been a prominent White Ribbon Ambassador for 12 years, and will be in Mildura next Friday, November 23, to officially kick-off and take part in the walk.

Next Friday’s White Ribbon Walk will start in the Langtree Mall at midday, and take the community along ‘Feast Street’ to the Langtree Connection at Seventh Street, and then down to the Mildura Rowing Club lawns.

The community will then be invited to gather together and enjoy a free barbecue lunch, or bring their own picnic, providing a chance to learn more about White Ribbon and the numerous local and regional services available for victims of family and domestic violence.

There will be information stalls from the following organisations and groups at the community barbecue, including Victoria Police’s Centre for Family Violence, Department of Justice, Aboriginal Family Violence Legal Service, Mallee Sexual Assault Unit, Orange Door, Murray Mallee Community Legal Service, Gender Equity Action Project Team, Mallee Family Care and Bunnings Vic Rocks stand.

People will also be able to show their support for White Ribbon in a variety of ways, including making their own White Ribbon, White Ribbon face-painting or writing messages of support and hanging them on a White Ribbon Tree.

Mildura Rural City Councillor, and White Ribbon Ambassador, Mark Eckel, said the inclusion of such a high-profile White Ribbon supporter would help strengthen the local message that violence against women must stop.

“Our role as White Ribbon Ambassadors, and Council’s role as a White Ribbon-accredited workplace, is to take a lead in raising awareness about violence against women, as well as serving as role models for men in our community,” he said.

“I can’t think of a better role model to the thousands of men and young boys in our region than Brendon Gale to help bolster our message.”

Council Chief Executive Officer, Gerard José, echoed Cr Eckel’s comments.

“Brendon, and Richmond Football Club’s subsidiary business Aligned Leisure, have done so much on a Victorian and national scale to raise awareness about violence against women,” Mr José said.

“By joining us locally in this very important event for our region, it will help us reach even more residents in reinforcing the message that violence against women is simply not acceptable and must stop.”

Mr Gale said he was incredibly proud to be a White Ribbon Ambassador.  

“We hope through the work we do with our business, Aligned Leisure, that we can help bring to light a serious and widespread problem within Australia,” he said. “Our aim is to raise awareness and to change the attitude and behaviours that support or excuse violence against women in this country.”   

This month’s community walk is Council’s major event of the year in support of White Ribbon – considered the world’s largest movement of men and boys working to end men’s violence against women and girls, as well as promoting gender equality, healthy relationships and a new vision of masculinity.

Cr Eckel encouraged residents to wear something white and join the walk.

“I’m proud that we’re our region’s first and only White Ribbon-accredited workplace, and we continue to increase our commitment to this massively important program each year,” he said.

“I believe we’re certainly making a difference in raising awareness about men’s violence against women, and sending a very strong message throughout our community that it’s simply not acceptable and must stop.”

Mr José said that while it was encouraging to see the way Council staff continued to embrace the White Ribbon program, men’s violence against women remains a serious issue in our region.

“I believe we’ve definitely made progress, but unfortunately there’s plenty of evidence out in the community that men’s violence against women continues to occur all too regularly, making it vitally important that we maintain and continue to spread the White Ribbon message,” he said.

For more information about this month’s White Ribbon Community Walk, contact Council White Ribbon Committee member, and Human Resources Coordinator, Angela Umback.

For anyone who has experienced, or is at risk of, family and domestic violence and/or sexual assault, call 1800 RESPECT (1800 737 732).