On White Ribbon Day in 2013, the Toowoomba region captured national attention when more than 1000 men stood shoulder-to-shoulder dressed in white to recreate a large white ribbon – the symbol of the international campaign to end men’s violence against women.
This years White Ribbon Day, November 24, saw the Toowoomba Regional Council and the Toowoomba Says No to Violence committee again shine the light on this insidious social issue when it unveiled a permanent memorial in Clewley Park to represent all victims of violence – past, present and future.
Crafted by local stonemason and sculptor Daniel Gill, the new monument features an open cupped hand rising out of the rough sandstone and symbolises the release sought by victims of violence and the helping hand the Toowoomba community is willing to offer.
Toowoomba Region Mayor Paul Antonio said the monument would create a place for people to reflect and contemplate about their own lives.
“The sculpture is an amazing work and conjures up a number of different emotions when you are looking at it,” said the Mayor. “For me, it reinforces our hands should be offered in support, but for too many women the hand they see is one raised in anger or, even worse, a clenched fist,” he said.
He was joined by other men and members of the community on the day to take an oath that states, ‘I will stand up, speak out and act to prevent men’s violence against women’.”
Mayor Antonio said he believed the new monument was a one-of-a-kind ‘statement’ and he was proud the Toowoomba region was the first place to create a public memorial to recognise the issue.
“There are trees planted in various locations around Australia with plaques commemorating the victims of domestic violence, but we have been unable to locate a dedicated monument to ending violence within a community,” he said.
“Our community has signalled its intentions in the past to say no to violence and this new monument is a tangible symbol for what we as a region stand for and that is an end to violence in all situations in the home.
“I trust it becomes a place where the families of victims can come and remember their loved ones and where those experiencing issues within their family unit can make the decisions that they need to choose an end to violence.”
The monument was funded by Council with the backing of the Toowoomba Says No to Violence Committee.