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Lived experiences on canvas

Each year, from 25 November to 10 December, World Human Rights Day, the 16 Days of Activism campaign calls for action against one of the world’s most persistent violations of human rights – violence against women.

Meli and the Sexual Assault & Family Violence Centre, in partnership with the Barwon Area Integrated Family Violence Committee and their member support service organisations, came together to run two art workshops in November, for women who had experienced family and/or sexual violence.

Nineteen women who took part in the first the workshop, led by Victorian artist Jasmine Mansbridge, each creating something true to themselves and their lived experience.

The pieces, alongside an artwork created in a second workshop run by Wathaurong, make up Our Stories for Change Lived Experience art exhibition which launched at Deakin Waterfront on 29 November.

There are stories of darkness, of coming into the light, there are also stories of hope for the future.

Meli Director Family Safety and Therapeutic Services, Lisa Robinson, who spoke at the exhibition launch said everyone deserved to feel safe.

“We know that prevention of gender-based violence is possible,” she said.

“We hope this exhibition inspires and ignites conversations in the Barwon community about gender-based violence.”

CEO of The Sexual Assault & Family Violence Centre Helen Bolton explained that by creating a platform for victim-survivors to share their lived experience was one way we can continue building conversation within our community about gender-based violence.

“Regaining power and control of their lives is an important part of the healing journey for victim-survivors, and we are pleased to provide this art exhibition as one form of advocacy for those impacted by violence in our community,” she said.


Our Stories for Change exhibition is on until January 22. View the exhibition at The Project Space at Deakin University, Waterfront campus in the Sally Walker Building, level one, weekdays from 10am-2pm. The exhibition will close temporarily from 18 December – 5 January, reopening on 8 January.

This project was made possible by the support of the Anthony Costa Foundation, Aim For Change Foundation and Rotary.

If you are experiencing behaviour that doesn’t feel ok, that doesn’t feel safe, or that makes you uncomfortable in any way, contact the Barwon Orange Door on 1800 312 820 during business hours.

If you are experiencing family violence and you need help after hours or over the weekend, call Safe Steps Family Violence Response Centre toll free on 1800 015 188. In an emergency call 000.

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