The Movement Carries On – White Ribbon Week at Kirrawee High School

Despite the White Ribbon Australia organisation unceremoniously closing their doors last month, the movement to eradicate violence against women and domestic violence in general is more needed than ever. It is an international cause that still has plenty of work to do around the world, in Australia and in the Sutherland Shire, and still has significant momentum with or without the official White Ribbon Australia office.

This year, our annual White Ribbon week focused on the prevalence of domestic violence in our community and cyberbullying.

On November 15, the White Ribbon whole school assembly brought these issues to the forefront. Entirely led and organised by our White Ribbon Student Ambassadors, the assembly featured interactive presentations on the statistics surrounding domestic violence and violence towards women, showcased vox-pop videos from the playground where students explored the issue of cyberbullying, included musical performances from the ever-talented Ami Humphreys (‘Cherry Wine’ by Hozier) and the Kaleidoscope acapella group (‘You’re the Voice’ by John Farham), welcomed guest appearances by Archie Scott and Scarlett Mitchell (from the Class of 2035), and privileged to welcome the Honourable Mark Speakman (NSW Attorney General and Minister for the Prevention of Domestic Violence) to give the keynote address.

Following the assembly, students participated in reflection activities in class where they shared what they thought of the issues raised in the assembly and their roles (as individuals and as a collective) in creating a better world for themselves and the future generations.
While the assembly raised some heavy topics, it was a moment in time that brought our school community together against the scourges of violence against women, domestic violence and cyberbullying in our community.

In particular, it is worth acknowledging the talents of the following students who played integral roles in the assembly:

  • Satine Goss, assembly producer.
  • Emica Rutter and Stirling Schwartz, assembly MC’s.
  • Ami Humphreys and Kaleidoscope, musical performances.
  • Alyssa Bishara and Skye Carroll, DV and gender inequity statistics presentation.
  • Kieran Weatherall, reader of a DV and assault victim true story.
  • Lukas Goncalves & Kieran Weatherall, vox-pop producers.
  • Isabella Purdy and Yasmine Damcevski, reflection activities organisers.
  • Jay Louison-Roe, leading the White Ribbon Oath.
  • Ben Weaver, He4She initiative presentation.
  • Cooper Gannon, organising Mark Speakman as guest speaker.

On November 22, our White Ribbon Student Ambassadors along with KHS students who also wanted to take a public stand for the White Ribbon cause, joined 12 other schools in our area for the Sutherland Shire White Ribbon Community Walk along the Esplanade in Cronulla.

It was a wonderful spectacle on a cracking late spring day to see hundreds of students reinforce their stance that theirs is the generation of change on the issue of violence against women.

The walk culminated in a short ceremony and sausage sizzle to encourage students to continue to be ambassadors in all that they do.