BFU Presents: Alternative Responses to Violence

BFU is pleased to present a panel discussion and interactive workshop on alternatives to violence.  Violence against women is a complex and far-reaching issue.  Impacts are felt across the community.  These speakers tackle the issues of preventing, confronting and responding to violence against women.

POSSIBLE TRIGGER WARNING: There is no graphic content, but the discussions will include conversation around violence against women.

The panel:

Aurora Murphy, Shannon Spriggs, Michelle Dang

Aurora is an applied theatre artist who uses performance as a vehicle of social transformation. She has recently completed a Ph.D. on using performance to prevent sexual violence. Aurora has created performances with many different organisations and community groups, mostly around the themes of love, sex, violence, and ethics.

The prevention of violence can seem like an impossible task, appearing depressing at best, and retraumatising at worst. However, what if the prevention of violence was pursued through the arts and performance? What would these performances look like and how could art actually stop violence from occurring? And what about sexual violence – can performance work against that?

If you are interested in innovative responses to violence, are curious about the way drama can be a vehicle for social change, or work with community groups toward transformation this session will be valuable to you. After an introduction to this work Aurora will invite you to get out of your comfort zone and have a go at some of the techniques she describes. No experience is necessary! This session will value trying over talent and look for courage rather than competency.


Dr. Shannon Spriggs has spent the last ten years with Mentors in Violence Prevention promoting the prevention of men’s violence against women using the bystander approach. Shannon has facilitated more than 700 training sessions with various groups, including high school and university students and staff, professional athletes, businessmen and women, educators, social service providers and military service members.

Whose business is it?
We need to be concerned about the epidemic of violence against women in Australia and around the world. Intimate partner violence is the leading cause of death, disability and illness for women between 15 – 44, while one in five women report having experienced sexual violence. This does not even scratch the surface when you think about verbal and emotional abuse or sexual harassment. Violence against women also has significant effects in the workplace.

We need to think about the ways we are all accountable, as bystanders, for the prevention of violence against women. It is crucial for every person to take responsibility for being a part of the solution. We need to create an environment that says that violence against women is not okay.

As bystanders, we can do three things to create change.

  • We can raise awareness and increase people’s knowledge about the seriousness of the issue. It is critical to educate yourselves, talk to your families, and provide educational opportunities for others about violence against women.
  • We can step up and address violence and/or abusive behaviour when we see it. We must be willing to speak up against problem behaviour and provide support to those who need it.
  • We must think critically about how to intervene. Intervention is not just about getting right in there and having your say. It is about making the smartest, safest choice with the highest likelihood of being effective.

Every person has the ability to prevent, confront or interrupt situations of violence.


Michelle Dang is a feminist, book hoarder and self-confessed basketball fanatic. In her early 20s, Michelle stumbled across the world of ideas from bell hooks, Paulo Freire, INCITE!, narrative practice and anti-oppressive/feminist ideas. She was captured and transformed forever. These discoveries led her to addressing sexual and domestic violence through practicing counselling and community development in NGOs throughout South-East Queensland. But with dismay, Michelle finds herself perpetually discontent with the dominant ways that men’s violence is addressed and laments the absence of more radical, transformative politics. Subsequently, she has embarked on a mission to work with others to bridge the gulf between activism, collective practices and anti-violence action.

Michelle contends that a more effective tool for social change are broader, community-based approaches that focus on social conditions and education rather than strategies based on punishment and incarceration. She sees that working to challenge men’s violence against women demands a critique of all form of oppression, an ethics of accountability and a practice of community responsibility.


When?  6.30pm, Tuesday 25 March, 2014

Where?   Carpark under Westpac Bank, 89-91 Boundary Street, West End


The space is child-friendly. Animals are also welcome, but only if they have thoughtful comments. Just kiddddddding. Dangerous reptiles are not recommended.

This session will include some group based activities, but if you’re uncomfortable in that environment, you’re welcome to sit out or leave after the presentations.

There might be tea.

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