Women and girls live in a state of hyper vigilance because of the pervasive nature of violence against us.
It is exhausting having to be constantly aware of who is around us, whether there are threats to avoid and how we might escape should those threats become a reality.
It is unacceptable that there are women who spend their lives living in constant fear for themselves and their children due to violence or the threat of violence perpetrated by their husbands and partners.
We live every day in the shadow of violence. And it has to stop. And it is the responsibility of all men in our community to pledge - to commit - to stopping this violence.
Do all men perpetrate violence? Absolutely not.
Most men abhor violence against women. It is as offensive to them, as it is debilitating to women.
This was evidenced by the number of men in my community who are proud ambassadors and participants of White Ribbon Day.
Thank you to each and every man who assembled at SMB and then walked to the mining exchange and made the pledge to end this violence.
Thank you to the boys at St Patrick's College who assembled in their hundreds and made a bold and visual statement saying no to violence against women.
And thank you to Michael Brandenburg from Child and Family Services, for his tireless work to end this violence, and for his contribution, along with Patty Kinnersley from Women's Health Grampians, and Joseph Cahir from Ballarat Police, in the online forum hosted by The Courier.
This informative and educative forum was one more step toward the elimination of violence against women.
Ballarat West MLA