Under grey and oppressive clouds, a significant event unfolded on the shores of Pumicestone Passage, close by the Bongaree Jetty on the morning of 6 March 2020.
In the Moreton Bay Regional Council area, some close attention is being given to the modern curse of our communities – domestic violence.
No one is claiming to have a silver bullet; a universal solution to a community burden which affects many thousands of women and children, and, of course, men, who are also subjected to domestic violence although not in the same numbers.
But some actions towards addressing the matter of domestic violence do not always have to be overt: and some ideas are best expressed in a low key fashion.
So, what are we talking about?
We are talking about a RED BENCH.
A normal park bench painted bright red and distinguished with a stainless steel plaque naming the sponsors and the purpose.
So what? May you ask?
Well, this is a seat where you can quietly take your place, on the Red Bench, beside Pumicestone water…and reflect upon the matter of domestic violence. You can talk to strangers as they go by – I did!
Because I sat there for a while…spoke to some people as they strolled along, swapped the time of day and the weather; we could have done more.
It is located on the side of the footpath, by the seashore, just behind the trees at the end of the Bongaree Jetty.
It is planned to have twelve such Red Benches throughout the Moreton Bay Regional Council area; one in each division of the Local Government area.
This one, on Bribie Island, was the first such bench to be officially opened.
And, its purpose, as mentioned above, is to draw attention to the abuse of elders in our community and to domestic violence. The bench, in its current location, is obvious.
Go there. Think for a while about the honesty of purpose. Almost all domestic violence is about control and possession. Take the opportunity, talk to others, involve the community in a discussion about a very touchy subject.
Currently, in Australia, we all look to the Government, and it does not seem to matter what level of Government, we all look to the Government to fix problems. More funding, more assets, more equipment, “ someone should do something “, “ we need the Police to fix it.”
Quite frankly, the Government and the Police can only do so much- they cannot fix everything. They simply cannot.
So, maybe we can start to fix this terrible problem because we own it and we can begin to take responsibility for our actions. Males, mainly, can make positive contributions by thinking about their actions: there is always a better way to solve a problem rather than resorting to violence.
It is not the idea to focus simply upon males to address this problem; obviously, the issue is about actions, and domestic abuse involves psychological as well as physical abuse and females, as well as males, are involved in that.
Domestic violence and abuse should not be dealt with in silence; if you know something, say something.
This event was marked by the presence of Councillor Brooke Savige, from the Moreton Bay Regional Council, one of the two major sponsors of the idea. Councillor Savige is the incumbent and popular Local Government representative for Bribie Island, plus the CEO of the other major sponsor, The Red Rose Foundation, Betty Taylor. Also present was Fiona Worrall, a Senior Representative of the Centre Against Domestic Abuse in Caboolture and a lively, committed and very effective team from Hairdressers with Hearts, headed up by Sonia Colvin.
These are determined women; they have ‘ skin in the game ‘.
They all deal with the effects of domestic violence regularly. Their presence at this small event, by the water at Bongaree speaks volumes for the importance they place upon the idea and the purpose of the Red Benches.
Next time you are in the area of the Bongaree Jetty take note of the Red Bench – use it for the view is pretty good, and people do talk to you.