Students and staff from 67 different nationalities stood together and took the pledge “I will stand up, speak out and act to prevent men’s violence against women.” during an assembly designed to create awareness for White Ribbon Australia. White Ribbon Ambassador Max Lewington along with cultural speaker Champo, spoke passionately about the importance of creating respectful relationships. Student performances from the Dianella A Capella as well as the Year 9/10 dance troupe helped to reinforce the message. In a show of support, students were also invited to sign the pledge and receive a white cupcake.
Principal Wayne Austin shared his personal journey and reasons for becoming a White Ribbon Ambassador and State committee member.
“This program supports school leaders in helping to create a culture of respect and equality; to help students understand the damage of gender put-downs and to have the courage to help change our community for the better.”
“All of you here know me as Mr. Austin, Principal of Dianella Secondary College but for the duration of this assembly I want you to know that I am more than that. I am a parent, I am a grandfather, I am a brother, a son and a mate”
Mr. Austin finished by saying “I encourage you all to play an active role in helping create a world where violence against women isn’t ok; that you will be brave and speak up. If I can change the view of only one male today, then it is all worthwhile”
Arguably the highlight of the assembly was a media presentation compiled by teacher Chris Ellis, featuring staff and students who had been filmed against the backdrop of the schools White Ribbon mural, making various White Ribbon statements in their native language.
White Ribbon Australia is a part of a global movement of men and boys working to end men’s violence against women. It aims to create an Australian society where all women can live in safety, free from violence and abuse. At Dianella Secondary College, the school focus is encouraging respectful relationships with no gender put downs.