Echuca-Moama Starweavers join campaign to end violence against women

By Ivy Jensen

A GRANDFATHER who single-handedly made more than 10,000 stars out of ribbons for the Million Stars to End Violence project is calling on the community to put a star on their front doors.

To symbolise they are taking a stand against family violence.

Barry McDougal formed Echuca-Moama Starweavers in 2017 as part of his community goal to make 100,000 stars for the project, which were hung up as an art installation for the 2018 Commonwealth Games.

But he is not stopping there.

The Starweavers have grown to six members and members are encouraging residents to hang an orange and white on their doors to show they want to prevent family violence.

“It's a message to say that the person behind this door is dead against domestic violence and what's happening around the country and the world,” Barry said.

“We want this to impact people and hopefully it snowballs into something big.

“When I was a kid, everyone had welcome mats. A simple thing like a woven star also has a message. And that is that they are taking a stand against violence in the home.

“Unfortunately, even little kindergarten and pre-school kids I have taught are aware of domestic violence in their own family.

“Usually it’s dad bashing up mum, but sometimes the kids get hurt as well.

“It’s a very sad indictment on not just Echuca or Australia — it’s the whole world.”

Starweavers member Nicole Katiforis is leading the group's new project and hopes it gets people talking about the scourge, which has seen more than 65 women killed this year.

“The more of these we get on people's doors, the more people will start talking about it and asking questions,” she said.

“Luckily I have never been subjected to family violence but a good friend of mine was verbally abused by her partner. I was there one time and I was on the phone ready to call the police.

“People need to start caring about others and realising family violence is not just physical abuse. It's verbal, emotional, financial and spiritual. And it's everyone's problem.”

Anyone wanting a star, which are free, can contact Barry on 0435 134 264 or Nicole on 0405 249 639.

They are happy to deliver them or arrange a pick-up point.