Role model speaks out about stopping domestic violence before it starts

Lani Brennan, domestic violence advocate, Aboriginal Wellbeing Conference in Ballina

33 Creative’s Georgia Cordukes and Jonathan Jeffrey joined advocate for prevention of family violence, Lani Brennan, as she shared her personal journey from survivor of domestic violence to spokesperson and role model at the Aboriginal Wellbeing Conference held in Ballina, New South Wales, on the 29th and 30th of March. The conference focused on issues related to trauma and healing and showcased programs being delivered nationally and within communities to promote healing for Aboriginal Peoples.

Ms Brennan is a supporter of the Stop it at the Start campaign. The campaign encourages adults to reflect on their attitudes, and then have conversations about respect with young people. The campaign also asks adults to reflect on the common excuses that are made for disrespectful behaviour.

“The campaign made me really think about the different excuses (for disrespect), just say you’re sitting at school and you see them boys that always torment the girls and everyone says ‘oh well, he must like her,’ well really that’s just an excuse for that disrespectful behaviour and if we don’t pull that type of stuff up we’re condoning it,” said Ms Brennan.

33 Creative was among a small number of stall holders at the conference which attracted the participation of over 200 delegates.

Ms Brennan has become a role model for those who are suffering from domestic violence or have survived it after sharing her experiences in her film and book, ‘Lani’s Story’.

“This campaign looks at the tricky questions, ‘what’s an excuse?’ that people might say which without even realising it, may excuse disrespectful behaviour,” said Ms Brennan.

“This (campaign) is prevention work, don’t we get sick of intervention? Why aren’t we looking at our youth and making the change before it get’s to that situation?”

As part of the Stop it at the Start campaign, resources have been developed for Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander communities which help get the conversation about respect started in communities.