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Chelle's Bibbulmun Hiking for a Cause.

Down Under Discoveries
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Welcome to my campaign - Chelles Bibbulmun Hiking For a Cause - Supporting women and children affected by Domestic Violence!

Violence against women and children is now recognized to be a serious and widespread problem in Australia, with enormous long-term effects on women and children’s health and well-being, on families and communities, and on society as a whole.

However this significant social problem is also ultimately preventable. But to prevent violence against women we first need to understand it.

Some key facts;
*On average, one woman a week is murdered by her current or former partner, according to the most recent analysis of homicide statistics in Australia,
*One in three Australian women has experienced physical violence, since the age of 15,
*One in five Australian women has experienced sexual violence,
*One in four Australian women has experienced physical or sexual violence by an intimate partner,
*One in four Australian women has experienced emotional abuse by a current or former partner,
*Women are at least three times more likely than men to experience violence from an intimate partner,
*Women are five times more likely than men to require medical attention or hospitalisation as a result of intimate partner violence, and five times more likely to report fearing for their lives,
*Of those women who experience violence, more than half have children in their care,
*Violence against women is not limited to the home or intimate relationships. Every year in Australia, over 300,000 women experience violence – often sexual violence – from someone other than a partner.
*Eight out of ten women aged 18 to 24 were harassed on the street in the past year,
*Young women (18 – 24 years) experience significantly higher rates of physical and sexual violence than women in older age groups,
*There is growing evidence that women with disabilities are more likely to experience violence,
*Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander women experience violence at higher rates than non-Indigenous women.

Put simply, violence against women is any act of gender based violence that causes or could cause physical, sexual or psychological harm or suffering to women, including threats of harm or coercion, in public or in private life. As this definition makes clear, violence against women is not only or always physical. It includes psychological, economic, emotional and sexual violence and abuse, and a wide range of controlling, coercive and intimidating behaviours. In Australia, violence against women is called many different things, including domestic violence, family violence, intimate partner violence, sexual harassment and sexual assault.

Given the devastating effect violence has on women and children, it is crucial that we continue to raise funds for the organisations that focus on responses and services for survivors, but just as important is the need to raise awareness about the seriousness of this widespread problem.

As a young girl, at the age of 6 years, I myself was exposed to sexual abuse, child abuse and domestic violence both mentally and physically within the home, abuse which drove me to breaking point and ultimately led to a 23 year battle with drug and alcohol addiction. Sadly in those times, support services were not readily available or easily accessible and I truly feel that if they were, perhaps my road would have been a little different. This in turn has fueled my desire to want to support a cause that does help women and children affected by Domestic Violence.

After a considerable amount of thought and research, the organisation I have chosen to support is The Patricia Giles Centre in Perth who provide refuge accommodation, counselling and associated services for women and children affected by domestic violence. A range of programmes and support groups are facilitated by the Centre. I have actually supported this centre in the past providing hampers and womens health bags at Christmas so have been aware of their positive impact in the community for quite awhile now.

My challenge is to walk the Bibbulmun Track in Western Australia. The name comes from the Bibbulmun, or Noongar people, Indigenous Australians from the Perth area. The Bibbulmun Track is one of the world’s great long distance walk trails, stretching 1000km from Kalamunda in the Perth Hills, to Albany on the south coast, winding through the heart of the scenic South West of Western Australia. I have chosen to hike this track in particular to honour the early indigenous inhabitants of the southwest who would walk long distances through the forests for ceremonial gatherings. The feeling of oneness with nature those people of long ago had with the Earth is something I am looking forward to experiencing myself as I embark on this journey, often hiking solo. The usual time to complete this walk is around 55 days however as a busy mum and business owner that is simply not possible, therefore I will be walking this track over the next 7 - 8 months, completing the end to end as a sectional hike. Updates/Blogs will be given post hike to maintain my own personal security.

The hike will be well documented throughout and I look forward to raising funds and most importantly awareness on this cause that's so close to my heart. It's time to say no and put a stop to violence against women and children!

Thanks in advance for your support. Every dollar counts so please don't be embarrassed if $5 if all you have and if that's too much, you can share my journey with your networks and get the message out there.

Please note: 90% of proceeds raised will go to directly to the Patricia Giles Centre, the remaining 10% will be donated to the Bibbulmun Track Foundation to support the track on which I will be walking upon. Head to the ticket link to show your support.

For further information on both organisations please click their relevant links below:

The Patricia Giles Centre - http://patgilescentre.org.au/

Bibbulmun Track Foundation - https://www.bibbulmuntrack.org.au/