NEVER shying away from a long slog, one ultra-marathon runner is tightening her shoelaces and racing through the region to shed a light on the ongoing epidemic of violence against women.
After learning of the horrifying statistics surrounding violence against women – one Australian woman is killed every week by an intimate partner, and two out of three women will experience some form of violence in their lifetime – runner Kirrily Dear decided to do what she does best to make a difference.
She kicked off her epic White Ribbon Ultra-marathon on Friday in Walgett and will run between 40- and 100km every day to finish in Forbes next Tuesday, on White Ribbon Day.
But yesterday she made a special detour (and added a few extra hundred kilometres) to watch the annual White Ribbon Cup rugby league match between Peel and Tamworth High schools.
She said local high school students raising awareness and promoting respect for women was a “profound example” of how the community should act and the need for sport to build a positive culture.
“I believe in what they’re doing,” Ms Dear said.
“Many people believe that men being violent toward women is inevitable. But it’s not.
“Governments don’t create culture, people do, and if we want the violence to stop then we are the ones who have to make the changes.”
Ms Dear said there were many contributors to violence against women, including ingrained inequality, how people communicate, attitudes towards women and a misunderstanding of what healthy relationships look like.
Ms Dear said there was an unhelpful tendency to project blame onto the victim.
“Everyone is in control of their own behaviour. Men sometimes say ‘She pushed my buttons’ or ‘I just snapped’, but there’s absolutely no excuse.”