Together we UNiTE to End Violence Against Women and Girls
Gender Equality – through the lens of our health care workers and community partners.
Nurse Unit Manager, Emergency Department
What is your role?
Nurse Unit Manager, Emergency Department.
How does family violence impact the health of women and children?
Family violence has a profound impact on women and children. Unfortunately, we often see the evidence of this in the Emergency Department in Ballarat.
It is traumatising for women and children, and sadly the trauma can lead to ongoing stress, anxiety, mental health conditions, eating disorders, or Post Traumatic Stress Disorder (PTSD). As a coping mechanism, some victims will resort to self-medicating with alcohol and drugs to manage the pain.
How do you think COVID19 has impacted gender equality and family violence?
Social isolation, financial stressors, anxiety and stress are likely contributing factors leading to family violence. Extended period of time in isolation, disconnected from family and friends.
How do gender stereotypes drive violence against women?
A perception that men are the ‘bread winner’, and women are the house wife. Assuming women will undertake all the ‘administrative / household’ tasks including cleaning, meal preparation and child care needs.
A misunderstanding that men are to control their emotions, not cry (perceived as a sign of weakness) which leads to build up of frustration and anger.
What does it mean to you to be an ‘active bystander’ in healthcare?
It is really difficult to witness the effects of Family Violence on the community in which we live. We are always looking to ways of supporting initiatives, programs that offer real support and prevention measures. In our roles as leaders of health care we want to be active most importantly in the prevention, but also in identification and assistance of family violence victims.
What do you think the barriers are for women and children from diverse backgrounds seeking help when experiencing family violence?
Access to services may be difficult for those with cultural or linguistic barriers. Also, cultural differences between clinicians and patients impact this. Stigma is another reason I believe people are reluctant to seek help.
Can you provide a statement to our community about your stance on gender equality and family violence?
I believe we all are accountable for our actions. It is not ok to be a perpetrator of violence against women and children. I would encourage all who are experiencing some form of discrimination (including gender inequality) to take carriage and speak up. There are support services out there to assist (including 1800RESPECT), so please make use of these and together let’s put an end to gender inequality and family violence against women and children.