By Jackson Russell
THE Kilmore and District Hospital is hoping to turn awareness into accountability in its response to family violence as part of the 16 Days of Activism campaign.
The hospital launched its campaign on Thursday with an Orange Day, where staff had an orange lunch and were encouraged to wear orange.
To create a personal connection with its messaging, the hospital has placed pairs of orange shoes around the hospital with messages about gender stereotyping and inequality posted nearby.
The Kilmore and District Hospital strengthening hospital’s response to family violence project officer Regula McKinlay said the shoes helped people remember the people behind family violence.
“The shoes are to raise awareness, make it very personal and make people realise that it’s not just a campaign and there are actually young boys and young girls, women and men behind it who suffer from family violence and who have been raised in a society where gender stereotypes are very strong and carry throughout their whole life span,” she said.
“Especially the staff, some of them have been really touched, they say it makes you realise that there is a person behind this.
“Sometimes in a campaign, the actual individual gets lost and we wanted to really draw back to the fact there are individuals behind this and very much children who grow up in this world.”
The hospital has also hosted education sessions for staff and participated in online seminars about gender inequality, women with disability, family violence, and other topics such as what to do as a bystander and what to do as an accidental counsellor.
To help promote conversations around the idea ‘respect is growing’, hospital staff have also planted sunflower seeds in an orange bathtub.
“One of the aspects of turning awareness to accountability is actually working out what respect is for anybody, for men, women and children,” Ms McKinlay said.
“We have taken on the idea that respect is growing and to just bring more to a conversation, we are growing sunflowers in our orange bathtub that we painted and have written on it ‘respect is growing’ and hope that it’s more a catalyst to conversation.”
Ms McKinlay said the hospital’s executive team, including chief executive Sue Race, provided fantastic backing, making it easy to support the campaign.
“We want to be a support to the community for people to come and know there is a safe place where you can talk about what you’re experiencing, the danger, if they feel unsafe and we can help them to make the first steps,” she said.