UNDA pays tribute to victims of gender-based violence

09 Dec 2021

By Amanda Murthy

(L-R) Manager Student Conduct and Wellbeing Sarah Lovegrove, UNDA Pro Vice Chancellor Student Experience Professor Selma Alliex, and Respect Officer Rachel Fuller, dedicating a rose to commemorate those who have been impacted by gender-based violence. Photo: Supplied.

Staff and students of the University of Notre Dame Fremantle Australia gathered at the Holy Spirit Chapel on 1 December at 12.30pm, to pray for women affected by violence, in conjunction with a “Sixteen days of Activism against Gender-Based Violence campaign,” which takes place between 25 November (International Day for the Elimination of Violence against Women) until 10 December (Human Rights Day).

The Mass, celebrated by UNDA Chaplain Father Joseph Laundy, followed by the planting of a white ‘Guardian Angel’ rose – paid tribute to those who have lost their lives to violence, those left behind, and all those who continue to be impacted by violence in all its forms.

Following the planting and blessing of the rose, the community prayed together for an end to gender-based violence. Staff and Students were also invited to share lunch together which was generously hosted by Notre Dame’s Chaplaincy staff members, Belinda Norris and Jessica O’Keefe.

During the campaign, University of Notre Dame Respect Officers, Charlotte Armstrong and Rachel Fuller, prepared a social media campaign that was shared across student focused social media pages to educate, inform, and encourage student engagement with the 16 Days of Activism against Gender-Based Violence in an online setting.

Ms Fuller said that the campaign aimed to raise awareness and encourage the positive changes that the community can make to actively address the drivers of violence against women and children, she said that the University of Notre Dame community were encouraged to participate in this campaign as an opportunity to reflect on the individual role that “we all play in creating safe and respectful communities.”

Father Joseph Laundy leads the Notre Dame community in prayer, as they pray for women affected by violence on 1 December. Photo: Notre Dame.

“The University of Notre Dame continues to demonstrate an ongoing commitment to the elimination and prevention of gender-based violence within our community. Notre Dame has Respect Officers on all campuses of the University,” Ms Fuller said.

“Respect Officers are specially trained to provide tailored support to staff or students who have been impacted by sexual assault, sexual harassment or family and domestic violence.

“We are also given the opportunity to regularly participate in prevention education workshops covering a range of topics including, Bystander Intervention, Respect in the Workplace, Respectful Communication, and Responding to Disclosures of Sexual Assault or Harassment,” she added.

By taking a primary prevention approach, Ms Fuller added that the University of Notre Dame can have a role in changing the story of violence in Australia.

The University of Notre Dame, together with all other Australian universities, is a part of the Respect. Now. Always. initiative driven by Universities Australia. The initiative aims to raise awareness among university students and staff that sexual assault and harassment are unacceptable, and to ensure that avenues of support are available, appropriate, and easily accessible.For more information, go to https://www.unwomen.org/en/what-we-do/ending-violence-against-women/take-action/16-days-of-activism and https://www.notredame.edu.au/community/student-wellbeing-and-support/unda-respect-now-always