Remote NT school shortlisted for national award with anti-violence video
Ngukurr School, a remote school in South East Arnhem Land, 320 kilometres southeast of Katherine, has been shortlisted as a finalist in the National Indigenous Music Awards for ‘Break the Silence’, a song about speaking out against domestic violence.
A collaboration between Ngukurr School, the Ngukurr Community Safe House for Women, Indigenous Hip Hop Projects and White Ribbon Australia, the music video was created to break the silence and spread the word that violence against women is not acceptable.
“We are really excited to share this video. Domestic violence is an issue across the country and we hope the students’ message reaches other young people and their families,” said Ngukurr School senior teacher Olivia Desormeaux.
With the support of the community, the school prioritised teaching high school students the importance of healthy relationships and the dangers of domestic violence. The video gives expression to this work.
“We have a strong relationship with Ngukurr School and have worked with the teachers over a long period of time to educate students around respect for themselves and others. We hear the song being played in the community and you see the kids stop and talk about it. The community is very proud of our kids,” said community elder and remote Aboriginal community worker at the Ngukurr Community Safe House for Women, Cathy Huddleston.
Students drew from their classroom discussions on gender equality and respectful relationships for the powerful lyrics. The song calls out acts of violence, speaks of offering support to each other and emphasises that it takes a community effort to create change.
In the music video, Senior Cultural Advisor Robin Rogers delivers a message on the importance of respect in the local Kriol language, while the stunning backdrop of the Roper River country shows the place in which the conversation on domestic violence needs to start.
On average, one woman a week is killed by a current or former partner in Australia and one in four children is exposed to domestic violence, which is a recognised form of child abuse. Indigenous females in the Northern Territory are almost 22 times more likely to be victims of domestic violence than non-Indigenous females.
“Schools and communities are critical in educating young people and breaking the cycle of violence. This music video is a powerful example of the ways in which they can join us in addressing complex social issues with young people in safe and sensitive ways,” said Libby Davies, CEO of White Ribbon Australia, the national movement engaging men to work alongside women to ‘make women’s safety a men’s issue too’.
The winners of the National Indigenous Music Awards will be announced on Saturday 6 August 2016.
“We truly believe that starting the conversation through song is the first step in breaking the cycle of domestic violence in the communities,” said co-director of Indigenous Hip Hop Projects, Dion Brownfield.
Ngukurr School, working with local services, continues to support students to learn, value and experience respectful relationships. White Ribbon, working with schools within the Katherine region, is delivering its Breaking the Silence Schools Program to expand this initiative.
For media interviews contact Sally Burleigh: Sally@sbpr.com.au and 0419 516 889