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Helen's Story

Helen Kapalos
Never feel that you are alone. You have done nothing wrong. You are a valuable member of our community. Hold your head high and know that you have a future. You will grow from this.

I am a leader, an advocate for social change and social justice for Victorians from all cultural backgrounds. Importantly I hold a position where I can influence government policy as Chairperson of the VMC. I interact with our multicultural communities daily, listen intently to what they tell me and take this information to government departments. I sit on many government committees and advisory bodies to ensure that multicultural community needs are taken to the heart of government. I can help to make sure that services are culturally responsive and meet the needs of women and children experiencing violence.

Change starts with...

...each and every one of us. Freedom from violence is a fundamental human right for every single one of us. Every woman and her children have a right to feel safe, especially in their own home. Family violence has no boundaries; it occurs between family members in families of all cultures, classes, backgrounds and socio-economic circumstances.

I think things will change if...

...we turn the focus more on the perpetrator. Support for women and their children is critical, and of course that focus needs to continue. However, we need to move to better empower women to act to improve their circumstances. This begins with a focus on the perpetrator of the violence that frees space for women in dire circumstances to be confident that perpetrators will be made accountable.

I also think things will change with a concerted focus on prevention. This means shifting community attitudes through prevention programs that focus on behavioural and cultural change. Only through consistent preventative messages and measures can we bring about this change.

I want to see change because...

...of the enormous social and economic burden of violence against women. I want to see women flourish as they should. I want to see more women on boards, in positions of authority and leadership providing hope and encouragement to up and coming generations of young girls. I want to see women empowered to be the best that they can be and not to be hindered or held back due to a long-held notion of ‘a woman’s place’ in society.