On 14 November, one determined woman, Kirrily Dear, will begin an 860km run through regional NSW, Australia to raise funds and to get people thinking about what they can do to end violence against women.
Starting in Walgett , 8 hour’s drive North West of Sydney , the White Ribbon Ultramarathon will take Kirrily on a journey through some of the communities most affected by domestic violence in NSW.
“The White Ribbon Ultramarathon aims to show that by working together, men and women can thrive and overcome a seemingly insurmountable challenge.” said Kirrily. “Many people believe that men being violent toward women is inevitable. But it’s not. By taking steps together, by learning to recognize violence and speaking up, we can make the violence stop.”
“It’s a horrific statistic that on average one Australian woman is killed each week by a current or former intimate partner. And one in three Australian women will experience violence in their lifetime.
“I became increasingly frustrated with the public reaction to each new tragic case of violence against women. Many people were saying the government must do more; or the law-makers must do more; and even the victims themselves must do more. No-one was taking personal responsibility and saying ‘I must do more’.
“The stark truth is that most of us, me included initially, would prefer to make violence against women someone else’s problem to solve. It’s confronting and a difficult reality to face. Violence is a culturally derived problem. Governments don’t create culture, people do, and if we want the violence to stop then we are the ones who have to make the changes.”
“Training for ultramarathons gives you a lot of time to think. While out training one day, I came to the realization of how I could do more; how I could make a difference: And so the White Ribbon Ultramarathon was born,” said Kirrily.
Kirrily decided to focus on regional NSW, as according to official figures, domestic assault rates in regional NSW can be up to 11 times higher than metropolitan areas. Further, the problem isn’t only in the home. 60% of women report experiencing violence in the workplace. 75% report experiencing unwelcome and unwanted sexual behavior in the workplace.
While regional NSW is facing the toughest of challenges it is also where incredible work is taking place and it is having a positive impact. During the White Ribbon Ultramarathon we will showcase that work, hear from the voices of experience and following their leadership, learn the practical steps we can all take to help stop violence against women.
“It took me a few months to summon up the courage to send an email to White Ribbon Australia about my idea. From there the NSW Police Force became involved via the Local Area Command in Walgett. Their response was overwhelmingly positive,” said Kirrily.
Through the commitment of the NSW Police Force, local domestic violence committees, schools, businesses, councils, government, media and sporting groups the White Ribbon Ultramarathon has snowballed. Each day the Ultramarathon will be like a torch relay, triggering community events and what will possibly become, over its 12 day duration, NSW’s biggest gathering of community with the collective focus of bringing an end to violence against women.
In the 12 months to December 2013, 28,291 domestic violence related assaults were reported in NSW alone.
60% of women report experiencing violence in the workplace. 75% also report experiencing unwelcome and unwanted sexual behavior in the workplace.
How can you get involved?
- Visit and like us at facebook.com/whiteribbonrun. There you can stay up-to-date with the Ultra news, join in the conversations and buy a pair of White Ribbon shoe-laces.
- Sign up to become a guest runner or support crew along the route – return forms to firstname.lastname@example.org
Crew application: http://ewo.com.au/PDF/WRUMCrew.pdf
Runner application: http://ewo.com.au/PDF/WRUMRunner.pdf
- Donate to the White Ribbon Ultra fundraising page at https://give.everydayhero.com/au/kirrilyd
- Join us on Twitter @WhiteRibbonRun #WhiteRibbonUltra
- Spread the word about the Ultramarathon by using your own networks, holding your own events or fundraising efforts.
- Get in touch with Kirrily via email@example.com to apply to join her on the road
 Trends and patterns in domestic violence assaults: 2001 to 2010, BOSCAR
 VicHealth, 2012, Preventing violence against women in the workplace: An evidence review. Victorian Health Promotion Foundation, Melbourne, Australia.
 BOSCAR Quarterly Report. Note in these statistics the victim could be male or female
 VicHealth, 2012, Preventing violence against women in the workplace: An evidence review: summary report, Victorian Health Promotion Foundation, Melbourne, Australia).