If you’re willing to run, here’s a great initiative that everyone can do during lockdown. It aims to get everyone in Australia talking about family violence and what it means to have a healthy relationship.
Australian runners and walkers alike are invited to participate in the 4th annual Run Against Violence Virtual Team Challenge, a nationwide movement to raise awareness of family violence by running 1300kms.
In 2020 the challenge raised $120k and had 3,000 participants. This year, the goal is $180k and 5,000 participants.
Together with Brad Smithers, Kirrily Dear established the charity Run Against Violence in 2015.
Two years later, the RAV Virtual Team Challenge was established when Kirrily did a solo run from Broken Hill to Sydney over 19 days. The 1300km solo run raised awareness throughout regional NSW about family violence and its impact on the community.
Kirrily says RAV highlights that family violence is a significant problem in our communities.
“Our virtual run equates to 1.7 million steps. 1.7 million is the estimated number of Australians who experienced physical abuse before the age of 15.”
Run Against Violence is a volunteer organisation whose purpose is to end the silence through starting constructive and comprehensive conversations around family violence.
Says Kirrily, “Our job is to engage the broader community in conversations about family violence to reduce the stigma and isolation for people who have lived with domestic and family violence. When that stigma is removed people then share their story, and reach out for help. We deliver awareness campaigns and community activities in order to create the platform for these conversations around family violence to be heard”.
During the challenge, teams of up to 20 people will walk or run in their local area (solo of course due to restrictions). Daily uploads of their distances onto an online tracker keeps them in the competition. The tracker collects and collates each team member’s distances so the participants can watch their team virtually track across the map from Broken Hill to Sydney. To be successful, the team is required to cover 1300km in the 19 days of the challenge.
Run Against Violence has also recently joined forces with the National Association for Prevention of Child Abuse and Neglect (NAPCAN) to help ensure that every teenager in Australia has the opportunity to learn about what healthy relationships look like for them.
NAPCAN’s Deputy CEO, Leesa Waters, said: “We are very excited to have the support of Run Against Violence in our work. Both our organisations are particularly concerned about the impacts of violence on children. Both our organisations believe that we all have a part to play. And both our organisations believe that educating young people is key for short- and long-term change.
“When we look at the damage that sexual assault and family violence causes, it’s clear the focus needs to be on prevention. We need to stop this before it happens. RAV will be supporting us with funds to enhance and expand our program into communities that don’t have adequate funds.”
It is often the areas in most need that struggle to raise the funds to train facilitators particularly if they are in rural or regional areas. The funding from RAV will be a huge boost for these areas.
“Our work is all about creating a whole-of-community network of people committed to preventing violence, and this partnership with RAV is a great example of the power of working together.”
The importance of these sorts of partnerships have been highlighted in a sad and shocking way with the recent petition from former Sydney student, Chanel Contos, who is calling for more consent education in schools with the Teach Us Consent petition.
“Run Against Violence is living proof that we can all work together to end family violence and we all have a role to play,” said Leesa.
Everyone is invited and encouraged to participate – if you can move 10 metres or 10,000 metres in a day, join us in this movement to end family violence. People can enter as teams or as an individual and, if preferred, RAV can help you find a team. Please help RAV reach their goal of 5,000 participants for 2021!
Registrations Open: now
Challenge Starts: Anytime from Monday 30 August 2021
Challenge Finishes: Midnight Friday 17 September 2021
More information – https://www.runagainstviolence.com/2021-virtual-challenge-overview
Follow us on socials – www.facebook.com/runagainstviolence or Instagram