Personnel at HMAS Albatross marked White Ribbon Day with a range of events highlighting their support for Defence's commitment to the campaign to end violence against women.
In the gym, more than 40 personnel from across the base, cycled for four hours raising funds and awareness.
Throughout the week personnel proudly wore a unique White Ribbon patch on their right shoulders.
Executive Officer of the Royal Australian Navy Tactical Electronic Warfare Support Section, Lieutenant Glyn Hunter, said the idea for the patches came up during a unit discussion about the horrifying statistic that one in six women in Australia would be affected by domestic violence in their lifetime.
“With a very high rate of women within the unit, it was quickly evident that we needed to assist and promote greater community awareness that the violence is unacceptable,“ Lieutenant Hunter said.
The idea of the patch was embraced as having all of Albatross wearing the same patch that reads ‘In support of White Ribbon’ sends a very powerful message, as part of Navy’s commitment as an accredited organisation.
“Having 1,000 sailors and officers go home with a new patch on their uniform is a useful mechanism to raise awareness and commence discussions with family and friends in the wider Shoalhaven community,” Lieutenant Hunter said.
“I hope the patch reminds everyone that the violence must stop and the statistics must get better, for our women work colleagues and our loved ones.
“It also serves as a reminder to all who have worn the patch that this is a worthwhile and continuous commitment.”
A morning tea held later in the week featured a thought provoking and informative range of speakers providing perspectives and experiences from women who had been victims of violence, and those working within the corrective services system with men who have committed violence and some of the strategies they are using.
Lieutenant Peter Kenworthy, a White Ribbon Ambassador, said the event presented an important opportunity to reflect and recommit.
“We were also able to provide the audience with many educational tools such as Navy’s Family and Domestic Violence Strategy explaining how we can all play a part in preventing men’s violence against women now, and into the future,” Lieutenant Kenworthy said.
“Something as simple as reflecting on our own behaviour or having a conversation about respectful behaviour in our workplaces can be very effective.”
The morning tea attracted a broad cross section of personnel.
Able Seaman Aviation Technician Avionics Braedon McGuinness of 725 Squadron said he thought it was important to be there to demonstrate his support.
“White Ribbon is about much more than stopping violence against women,” Able Seaman McGuiness said.
“It’s about respecting women, supporting women, and making sure we uphold our duty to ensure that everyone feels safe at all times.”
Commanding Officer Albatross, Captain Fiona Sneath, emphasised the resources available for Commanders and managers, in particular the Guide ‘Responding to Family and Domestic Violence’.
“Activities such as those we have undertaken at Albatross this week go a long way to breaking down barriers that prevent people coming forward or speaking out to assist themselves or others,” Captain Sneath said.
“Violence against women and family and domestic violence, are not just private issues as they have far reaching effects, including in the workplace.
“Taking action does not just help individuals; it assists us maintain our operational capability,” she said.
The events concluded with personnel standing by 52 silhouettes of women, which represented the number of women who die each year from domestic violence, as Lieutenant Kenworthy led them in the White Ribbon oath – “I will stand up, speak out and act to prevent men’s violence against women”.