Belinda Mason. Portraits of Australian Indigenous women who shared stories of responses to the issue of family & domestic violence.
Breaking Silent Codes is an exhibition of portraits of First Nations women from across Australian and the Pacific who came together to share stories of cultural and spiritual responses to the issue of family & domestic violence and sexual assault in communities across Australia and the Pacific. In March 2020, the women travelled to New York to share their stories with women from across the globe. It provided a platform for women to discuss the ways in which community, religion, authority and family create silences around sexual assault and family & domestic violence.
In August 2018, UNSW Arts and Social Sciences, Women’s Legal Service NSW and the National Centre for Indigenous Excellence sponsored and hosted a unique forum of 42 Aboriginal, Torres Strait and Pacific Islander women intended to ‘Break Silent Codes’ and share stories of cultural and spiritual responses to the issue of sexual assault and family violence in communities across Australia and the Pacific.
The forum provided a platform for women to discuss the ways in which community, religion, authority and family create silences around sexual assault and family violence. There are many injustices experienced by Aboriginal and Torres Strait and Pacific Islander communities. For a long time, it has seemed that all other matters of injustice are more important than the sexual assault and domestic violence in communities. Women experience this as a silencing of issues important to their spiritual and physical well-being.
Through this book, we share with you the stories of this gathering which has now become a movement of its own for First Nations women across Australia and the Pacific.
A multi-award-winning artist, Belinda Mason has worked with emerging artists with disability or disadvantage to create acclaimed collaborative and inclusive multimedia exhibitions for the past two decades. In 2016 & 2018, Belinda presented at a parallel event of the United Nation Commission on the Status of Women in New York, the United Nations Committee on the Rights of Persons with Disability in Geneva 2016 and World Conference on Indigenous Persons in New York in 2014, United Nations Human Rights Council in Geneva 2013.
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