Love never raises its hand – it takes you by the hand’

On November 25, 1960, three sisters, Patria Mercedes Mirabal, María Argentina Minerva Mirabal and Antonia María Teresa Mirabal, were assassinated in the Dominican Republic on the orders of the Dominican ruler Rafael Trujillo. The Mirabel sisters fought hard to end Trujillo’s dictatorship. Activists on women’s rights have observed a day against violence on the anniversary of the deaths of these three women since 1981.[1]

On December 17, 1999, November 25 was designated as the International Day for the Elimination of Violence against Women by the UN General Assembly. Each year observances around the International Day for the Elimination of Violence against Women concentrate on a particular theme. This year 2019 the theme is: Orange the World: Generation Equality Stands against Rape!

And it is not just this day but year-round that Griffith University staff, students and researchers are contributing to the body of knowledge, to the conversation, to the prevention of violence against women, and to the support of women.

This month the Griffith Mate Bystander Program team led by Shaan Ross-Smith  and Anoushka Dowling organised a well-attended summit at Sanctuary Cove. Key-note speakers Natasha Stott Despoja – Our Watch; Cathy Hunt – Of One Mind (Women of the World, Australia) and Advisor to the Griffith’s Yunus Centre; Heather Nancarrow – Australia’s National Research Organisation for Women’s Safety (ANROWS) brought valuable insight and comment to the dialogue, along with other champions from universities and organisations Australia-wide. Also in attendance were staff and students including those involved in the Safe Campuses initiative.

Last month Australian writer and Griffith’s Senior Lecturer in the School of Humanities, Languages and Social Science, Dr Stephanie Green presented at the Australasian Centre for Italian Studies Visual and Performance Studies Research Group interdisciplinary conference in Adelaide: Indelible/Indelebile – Representation in the Arts of (in)visible violence against women and their resistance. Stephanie spoke on representing violence and the Gothic New Woman in Penny Dreadful. Also presenting were Griffith’s PhD candidates Lucienne Fontannaz, speaking about art, and imaging; Christie Fogarty on rape, resistance and representation in literature; and Karen Morgan on the Red bench seats in Italy and elsewhere: Indelible messages of love in the prevention of violence against women.

Next month will see Associate Professor Kathleen Baird, School of Nursing and Midwifery, Griffith University  and Director of Women, Newborn & Children’s Education, Gold Coast University Hospital  present on Women’s Experience of Maternity Care Response Using a Trauma and Violence Informed Care Framework at the 2019 STOP Domestic Violence Conference on the Gold Coast 9 – 11 December 2019.

Kathleen has been a midwife in Australia and the UK and is a member of the Queensland Domestic and Family Violence Implementation Council and Deputy Chair of the Queensland Domestic and Family Death and Homicide Review Board

Along with other Griffith initiatives, members of Griffith’s Violence Research & Prevention Program and Director Patrick O’Leary, with their expertise in key topic areas conduct cutting-edge research to better understand, prevent and control violence. Indeed, with Griffith’s multidisciplinary approach, engaging with community and government organisations, it seems that collectively all are working together to prevent violence and echo the catch cry of Shaan Ross-Smith ‘Let’s change the world’.