Ambassador Q&A: Garry Bennett
White Ribbon Ambassador Garry Bennett brings to the role much experience from his years in the police force and Community Corrections, NT. He is a firm believer of gender equality and understands that this is at the core in the fight against violence against women.
What is your day job?
Currently I am the Regional Manager, for Community Corrections, Katherine NT.
How long have you been a White Ribbon Ambassador?
I have recently been approved as a White Ribbon Ambassador in August 2016.
Why did you decide to become an Ambassador?
I became a White Ribbon Ambassador because as an ex-police officer with Victoria Police (33 years) I saw and heard about domestic and family violence incidents daily and I was lucky enough to be a part of the family violence reduction strategy rolled out and championed by then Victorian Chief Commissioner Ken Lay. It was important work then, and it is still important work for me in my current role. Unfortunately, in the Northern Territory, domestic and family violence occurs at a much higher rate than in Victoria and it is something our community can’t ignore. Men need to stand up and take action. Men need to be vocal; men need to deliver a strong and united message that we won’t tolerate the deeds of those who inflict domestic and family violence on women and children. I want to be one of those men.
I owe it to my wife and four daughters, I owe it to women and children in my community (and beyond) to do everything possible to educate other men and prevent the incidents of domestic and family violence occurring.
In what ways have you been involved in the White Ribbon Campaign?
As a member of the Katherine Safety is Everyone’s Right Local Reference Group and the Katherine Men’s Group White Ribbon sub-committee we have organised the White Ribbon Day march over the previous two years. We conducted a Domestic Violence Forum in Katherine on 24th November, 2015, which was attended by a large number of people who work in the domestic violence sector. We conducted the Katherine White Ribbon Night In in partnership with the ‘No More’ campaign on 29th July, 2016. We are planning this year’s White Ribbon Day march and are considering an event to run parallel with the march. Our committee is still in discussions about what form that will take. On 23rd August we hosted Ivan Phillips as part of his DV Ride.
Why is Gender Equality important to you as an Ambassador?
I believe in equality. I believe my wife and four daughters should be afforded the same opportunities as men. Their gender should not be a block. I have been lucky enough to have worked with many powerful women. Previous Chief Commissioner Christine Nixon was one who broke down the barriers and smashed the glass ceiling. She proved women can aspire to and reach the very highest levels in any organization. I want my family to have those opportunities. I want women in general to experience those opportunities.
I want men to understand that violence against women and children occurs because of a sense of superiority, male privilege, power and entitlement. I want men to understand that change in thinking needs to occur.
What goals do you hope to accomplish as an Ambassador in the future?
- To be part of the prevention program that reduces the number of domestic and family violence incidents specifically in the Katherine region and generally Australia wide.
- To provide a safer community for our women and children.
- To create an environment where women and children are not only safer but genuinely believe they are safe.
- To be part of the re-education process to change the thinking of men.
- To be a man that helps other men be engaged in the White Ribbon Campaign.
- I want to be a person who advocates for the safety and well-being of women and children.
- I want to be part of the process of raising awareness, changing attitudes and then changing behaviours.