Save Our Women’s Services (SWOS) and more…

Welcome back everyone. Campaigning and organising around feminist causes hasn’t slowed during the winter break. In particular, Save Our Women’s Services (SWOS) is a campaign that students have recently rallied behind following the state government’s announcement of a massive reduction in funding for women’s-only refuges across New South Wales.

For nearly forty years, over 40 thousand women and children have sought refuge and support from over a dozen women-only refuges across inner Sydney. Recent changes to funding mean that while money is still being spent helping women dealing with homelessness and domestic and family violence, little is being done to help those who have experienced childhood sexual assault, abuse or neglect, and mental health and/or drug and alcohol issues. The funding changes will also see many inner Sydney women’s-only refuges close by the end of July 2014 – by the time this report goes to print – and up to 60 refuges are expected to close across the state in the coming four months.

State government funding, in line with the predictable Liberal agenda, will privilege Christian-based charities, with refuges such as Elsie Women’s Refuge in Glebe to potentially be handed over to St Vincent de Paul NSW. These services, which are used and often run by men, are an insufficient and inappropriate replacement, particularly for survivors of sexual assault or harassment and male violence.

If you would like to learn more about this campaign visit www.soswomensservices.com or come to Wom*n’s Collective meetings on Wednesdays at 1pm to learn about the student-run campaign and get involved in other feminist causes.

Another event being planned is the fantastic, pro-feminist, sex-positive Radical Sex and Consent Day this semester! It will be a one-day event held on campus on September 4. It will consist of workshops, panel discussions and a party. Whoever you are, whatever gender or identity you identify with, whatever level of knowledge you have on the subject – we are sure you will get something out of it. It aims to be a safe learning space that will facilitate discussion rather than a top-down transfer of knowledge. Come and be part of the dialogue about consent, communication, sexual health, sex positivity and more.

Lastly, if you or anyone you know has experienced sexual assault or feels confused or unsure about an unwanted sexual experience and would like to speak to someone, please contact RPAH Sexual Assault Service on (02) 9515 9040 between 8:30am and 5pm weekdays or (02) 9515 6111 anytime if the sexual assault happened in the last 7 days.

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