Play Opposing Violence Against Women Pilots in Moonee Valley

Play Opposing Violence Against Women Pilots in Moonee Valley

Media Release

Wednesday, 23 April 2014

Play opposing violence against women pilots in Moonee Valley

Last week Moonee Valley hosted a pilot-season performance of You the Man – a play about how bystanders can make a difference in opposing violence against women.

The performance took place at Aberfeldie Sports Club – being the first performance of the play in Australia in a sporting club setting.

Moonee Valley Mayor, Cr Jan Chantry, said Council worked with Deakin University during 2013 and 2014 to help develop the Australian version of this play, originally an American theatre-based program.

“We’re honoured to have been part of the working group that has brought this program to an Australian audience,” said Cr Chantry.

“The topic of this play is one that is close to home for far too many people in our community, and Council is passionate about doing what we can to help prevent violence against women.”

“The play is designed to get people talking about what they can do to oppose violence against women and creating a sense of duty in opposing this type of violence,” she added.

Portfolio holder for Community Engagement and Learning and moderator for the performance, Cr Jim Cusack, said Council’s support of this program demonstrates our commitment to tackling violence against women.

“Day after day our community witnesses men’s violence towards women. Men have a clear responsibility to put an end to this and not to stand idly by making excuses for why these incidents happen and why they choose not to intervene. This is such an important message to get across to boys, young and older men. We need to nurture a culture in our community where violence against women is just not accepted,” said Cr Cusack.

“The play did an excellent job showing the many sides to this complex issue, and left the audience with some practical steps that they can take to oppose the violent acts of others.”

“It takes guts to step up to a mate and tell them what they’ve done isn’t okay, but we’re calling on our community to do just that.”

“I’d also like to acknowledge and congratulate Aberfeldie Sports Club on taking a leadership role in hosting this play and encouraging their members to attend,” added Cr Cusack.

You the Man is an American theatre-based program for bystander engagement and violence prevention. You The Man has been in use in the US since 2002, in a variety of settings: education institutions, workplaces and communities. Ongoing longitudinal studies in the US have shown positive improvement in audiences’ knowledge, attitudes and behaviour about violence to women.

Under the guidance of Professor Ann Taket, Deakin University has brought the benefits of You the Man to Australia and almost a year’s work went into re-writing and contextualising the script and into actor selection and training plus development of resources. The play will operate through a pilot season in first-half of 2014, then go on the road to wherever it is requested across the state. The 35-minute performance is followed by a 30 to 40 minute panel discussion, exploring audience questions that are triggered by the play.

Deakin University has initiated several performances of this play as a pilot to investigate audience reaction to this important new tool to reduce men’s violence towards women.

Council’s commitment to tackle violence against women is expressed in both the Moonee Valley Public Health and Wellbeing Plan 2013-17, and the Moonee Valley Community Safety Program 2011-2014.

Last week’s performance included a post panel discussion supported by Moonee Valley Police, Women’s Health West and the AFL Education Unit lead by Cr Cusack.

Interview opportunities available upon request.

Possible interviewees include Professor Ann Taket – Chair in Health & Social Exclusion at Deakin University and program manager for You the Man, Director Suzanne Chaundy and representatives from Aberfeldie Sports Club.


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Letitia Duncan, Media and Communications Team Leader
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