Angela Jay calls for leaders to stand up against violence

Have empathy: Dr Angela Jay is calling on the community to have more empathy for those affected by domestic violence. Photo: supplied

Have empathy: Dr Angela Jay is calling on the community to have more empathy for those affected by domestic violence. Photo: supplied

Angela Jay says White Ribbon empowers female and male leadership in terms of community standing up against violence, and violence against women specifically.

Dr Jay is supporting the world-wide movement with an address at a Newcastle breakfast on Friday. 

An obstetrician, Dr Jay was ambushed and attacked in November 2016 in her home by Sydney man, Paul Lambert in her Port Macquarie home.

She received stab wounds and was doused in petrol during the attack.

Lambert was later shot dead by police near Coffs Harbour.

Friday's breakfast will be the first time Dr Jay has met with the two paramedics who were first responders to her attack.

"I haven't seen them since the day I was hurt,” she said.

"It will be emotional. I think I will give them them a hug.

"But how do you thank someone like that? 

"It will be great for me to be reunited with the people who helped me."

Port Macquarie-based police along with supporting health professionals will also attend the breakfast.

Dr Jay admitted Friday's event and the broader White Ribbon Day activities, will be a very powerful day for her.

She will continue to actively support ending all forms of family violence, which comes in many forms.

It will be emotional. I think I will give them them a hug. But how do you thank someone like that?

Angela Jay

"As community, one of the biggest things we can do is to have compassion and empathy for victims and survivors of such violence and abuse," she said.

"We have to end the victim blaming, which seems to come so easily to many people.

"We need to be aware of the things we say, the way we act. We need to understand that our behaviour influences the way we perceive each other because it does lead to gender violence.

"Even things like telling a little boy 'don't cry like a girl, be a man'. That sends a message that men have to be strong and can't be vulnerable and can't show emotion.

"The same when we say to girls that 'boys are just mean to you because that's how they show affection'. This language is really pushing boys and girls into specific gender roles.

"All these things that we think and say and act, do lead to gender violence. It thrives in this environment."

Dr Jay also called on the community to have an open mind.

“If someone you know speaks to you about being in a violent situation, I would encourage you to listen and have a bit of empathy. And don't jump to common language like 'why don't you just leave',” she said.

"You have to actually understand that this is a very complex situation that this person finds themselves in," she said. "It is not as easy as simply leaving. It is much more complex than that.

"We can be definitely be more aware. Little things that probably appear as harmless can, as a whole, affect the way we raise our children and how we interact as community. All these things can impact on the way that we perceive each other and can lead to abusive behaviours."

Little things that probably appear as harmless can, as a whole, affect the way we raise our children and how we interact as community.

Angela Jay

Real change, she says, has to come from us all. Little changes can have a big impact.

"Domestic violence and family violence are a world-wide problem. We need to stand up as a community to make that little change together. 

"And by committing to making that little change we know it can have an impact."

Dr Jay says school prevention programs are part of the solution as is calling out people who make inappropriate or disrespectful comments.

"By saying it is not okay, we are making a difference," she added.

Dr Jay said supporting events such as White Ribbon is an easy way to get out with your community and say: 'I'm here. I stand up for my community and I don't agree with the violence that is happening'.

We should all make a pledge to make those little changes, she says.

"And for anyone who finds themselves in a vulnerable or difficult situation or is a survivor of any form of abuse, just remember you are never alone," she said.

"If you can find the courage to reach out - and I know it is not always easy to do - there are people to lean on, to speak to.

"You don't necessarily need to do anything but it can make a huge difference to moving forward.

"Sometimes getting the validation of your experience through sharing it with someone will help you understand that it is not your fault."