Orange turtles share important family and domestic violence message as Albany marks end of 16 days campaign

Sarah MakseAlbany Advertiser
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Anglicare WA support worker Chelsi Mier, Albany Women’s Centre manager Jo Fictoor, artist Narelle Williams, domestic violence outreach Tiffany Davis, senior housing support worker Tamara Owens, counsellor Tom Martin and Albany Women’s Centre child support worker Maree Pickett.
Camera IconAnglicare WA support worker Chelsi Mier, Albany Women’s Centre manager Jo Fictoor, artist Narelle Williams, domestic violence outreach Tiffany Davis, senior housing support worker Tamara Owens, counsellor Tom Martin and Albany Women’s Centre child support worker Maree Pickett. Credit: Sarah Makse/Albany Advertiser

For 16 days, a growing nest of orange turtles have made their way across Albany to start an important conversation about family and domestic violence.

On the back of each turtle — hand-painted by Menang Noongar artist Narelle Williams — are Noongar symbols giving an insight into the experiences of women and children fleeing violence and how the community can help.

The installation was one of many events held across Albany by community services from November 25-December 10 to mark the 16 Days in WA to End Violence Against Women campaign.

This year’s theme, “Don’t be silent when you see violence”, aimed to show everyone has a responsibility to end gender-based violence, by calling out disrespect towards women and promoting equality.

Menang Noongar artist Narelle Williams with turtles she created for the 16 Days in WA campaign.
Camera IconMenang Noongar artist Narelle Williams with turtles she created for the 16 Days in WA campaign. Credit: Sarah Makse/Albany Advertiser

Last year, 65 per cent of assaults recorded in WA related to family and domestic violence, and of the 22,257 victims, 73 per cent were female.

Organisations involved in the campaign united at Anglicare WA on Friday for the end of the campaign on International Human Rights Day.

An orange bench was unveiled at the celebration in Anglicare WA’s therapeutic garden to serve as a visual reminder of the need to take steps big or small every day to end violence against women and children.

Every day for 16 days, a turtle was added to the nest, which moved to different community services such as Albany Police Station, Southern Aboriginal Corporation, and Albany Community Legal Centre.

Albany community organisations behind the 16 Days in WA to Stop Violence Against Women campaign.
Camera IconAlbany community organisations behind the 16 Days in WA to Stop Violence Against Women campaign. Credit: Sarah Makse/Albany Advertiser

Anglicare WA domestic violence outreach worker Tiffany Davis said the turtles’ path aimed to recreate some of the steps women took to rebuild their lives after escaping family and domestic violence.

“Turtles are also representative of the amazing strength, courage, determination, and resistance of victims of family and domestic violence,” she said.

“Turtles often seem vulnerable, and their strength and uniqueness often overlooked, as many of the women we support might seem vulnerable.

“Like a turtle, they have inner strength and ubiquitous protection, like armour.

Anglicare WA Albany Women’s Centre domestic violence outreach worker Tiffany Davis, artist Narelle Williams and senior housing support worker Tamara Owens.
Camera IconAnglicare WA Albany Women’s Centre domestic violence outreach worker Tiffany Davis, artist Narelle Williams and senior housing support worker Tamara Owens. Credit: Sarah Makse/Albany Advertiser

“A turtle shell is extremely hard and can withstand thousands of pounds worth of pressure, with the capacity to create safety and shelter almost anywhere, much like victims of violence need to do.”

Williams said it was a privilege to be a part of the campaign, which was the first time her art had been shown in public.

“I have used a variety of symbols and put them in a collection of short stories that depict the lived experiences of women and children managing and surviving family and domestic violence,” she said.

Artwork depicting men teaching their sons that violence is not acceptable and the handprint symbolises the need to work together to end the violence by artist Narelle Williams.
Camera IconArtwork depicting men teaching their sons that violence is not acceptable and the handprint symbolises the need to work together to end the violence by artist Narelle Williams. Credit: Sarah Makse/Albany Advertiser

One turtle showed elders and children gathered around a campfire, providing support and guidance to help prevent family and domestic violence, Williams said.

“I used elders and the turtle as I believe every family and community needs them for support and guidance. Mediation is an important part of their role in supporting the community,” she said.

Sixteen turtes were placed around Albany to raise awareness of the 16 Days in WA to Stop Violence Against Women campaign.
Camera IconSixteen turtes were placed around Albany to raise awareness of the 16 Days in WA to Stop Violence Against Women campaign. Credit: Sarah Makse/Albany Advertiser

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