Television personality and White Ribbon Ambassador Andrew O’Keefe was a special guest at a joint Department of Human Services and Australian Federal Police event acknowledging the work of White Ribbon Australia and their campaign to prevent men’s violence against women.
Department of Human Services Family and Domestic Violence Senior Leader Barry Jackson, spoke about the unique and crucial role the department’s frontline staff play in identifying people affected by family and domestic violence.
“White Ribbon is an important campaign for our community,” Mr Jackson said.
“I’m proud to work for a department that is taking positive action to support those affected by family and domestic violence.
“As an organisation that interacts with so many Australians on a daily basis, we’re able to make a real difference by taking a stand, raising awareness and providing help.”
White Ribbon Day is a cause close to Mr O’Keefe’s heart, having brought the international campaign to Australia, and he spoke passionately about the great power that words and actions can have.
“We need to have those important and sometimes difficult conversations about respect and restraint, with our friends, our colleagues and our kids, and to model what love and dignity really look like.
“It’s a wonderful opportunity to be part of the change. Because our words and actions could ultimately save a life.”
Mr O’Keefe quoted 13th Century middle-eastern poet and scholar Rumi – who said “You are not a drop in the ocean. You are the entire ocean in a drop.” – and challenged the audience members to consider how they could all make a difference.
“Every one of us is individually responsible for starting the cultural change that will end men’s violence,” Mr O’Keefe said.
In a show of support for people affected by family and domestic violence, senior public servants stood together on stage as Mr Jackson led them in taking the White Ribbon Day oath, repeating together “I will stand up, speak out and act to prevent men’s violence against women.”