The Women’s Cottage Principles, Vision and Feminist Commitment:
The Women’s Cottage is established as a not-for-profit charitable organisation run from the basis of Feminist Principles.
Feminist philosophy aims at restoring equal power, status, and opportunity to women within society. The Women’s Cottage and its members understand that society is based on patriarchal standards and values, where power and opportunity are in the hands of men, usually white men. This has affected women’s lives in every way – in the home, within the family, in employment, legally, financially, spiritually, in relationship to their health (physically, emotionally, and psychologically), socially and intellectually. In short, the patriarchal way of being – has domination over society from small issues to large.
Women have been conditioned by these values and have often internalized them – that is, we have learned many values and accepted many philosophies that are not to our benefit. These philosophies often do not serve the needs of women and children / young people.
The primary discourse within the systems and structures of a patriarchal colonised society, under which we live work to exclude women or discriminate against us as a group. In order to develop a wider range of choices, it is vital for us to understand how our lives have been conditioned and why, and to develop skills to deal with and change our situations. It would seem from historical evidence that in the past, a woman was considered to be the possession of her husband, while a child had no separate rights from her parents. Most of this has been reflected within our legal system and has only been challenged and changes made within our recent past. These attitudes and beliefs are still held by many sections of society today.
In trying to establish a more equitable culture (based on values and philosophies which are not oppressive to women and children / young people) and extract ourselves from a dominant male culture, feminists have set up various services as a practical solution to some of these issues. In this way we can provide alternative
solutions to victims of the system, as well as explore how women could operate services together.
The Women’s Cottage enacts this philosophy through the provision of all its services to women and children / young people in the Hawkesbury LGA. We will work to ensure that all aspects of our services, management practices and community activities will challenge discrimination in all its forms through challenging and addressing racist, sexist, ageist and homophobic practice, whilst promoting inclusion for all women, children / young people from diverse backgrounds and cultures.
(a) To help alleviate poverty, misfortune, distress and suffering to women and children / young people in the Hawkesbury LGA and surrounds through direct provision of material aid, emergency accommodation / referral services, counselling, and other services to improve their lives directly.
(b) To promote the health, education and welfare of disadvantaged women and children / young people, particularly those residing in the Hawkesbury LGA and surrounds.
(c) To collect and distribute information for individuals and groups concerning services and issues of relevance to disadvantaged women and children / young people.
(d) To reduce the isolation of disadvantaged women by encouraging the development of support networks and self-help activities.
(e) To provide emotional and practical support to disadvantaged women and children / young people.
(f) To promote full public participation in the planning of services based at the centre.
(g) To promote public discussion on issues relevant to disadvantaged women and children / young people.
(h) To reduce the oppression of women and children / young people regardless of age, class, race, religion, or sexual preference.
VISION AND COMMITMENT TO SOCIAL JUSTICE, ACCESS AND EQUITY OBJECTIVES
a) We are committed to all forms of freedom for women and children / young people.
b) We are committed to an ecologically and socially just and diverse society, where all women are valued and treated as equal.
c) We are committed to assisting and supporting women and children / young people to determine their own lives and choices.
d) We uphold women and children / young people’s rights to a safe environment whether within the home or in the community.
e) We actively pursue political measures to address the elimination of social and environmental oppression, injustice, and violence, locally and globally.
PRINCIPLES ON GENDER BASED VIOLENCE
We believe that:
- Women and children / young people are never responsible for the domestic violence they are experiencing.
- Responsibility for domestic violence lies 100% with the abuser.
- Domestic violence is a betrayal of trust and a misuse of power.
- Domestic violence can seriously affect the lives of women and children / young people, sometimes it results in death.
- People who have experienced domestic violence have the ability to overcome the emotional and psychological effects of the abuse.
- Abusers use strategies to ensure that the violence remains a secret and to avoid responsibility for their actions.
- Common attitudes in society towards women and children / young people can increase the effects of the abuse. These attitudes lead to women taking on blame, guilt and responsibility for abuse as well as impacting upon legal, financial, education and housing choices available.
- Place the safety of women and children / young people as a first priority.
- Aim to relate to each other and the women and children / young people that we see with respect, openness, and accountability.
- Take care to maintain an awareness of the dynamics of power in all relationships and are committed to not misusing power.
- Believe the stories women tell us, and we aim to provide a safe place for women to take their own path towards overcoming the effects of violence.
- Believe that women have the expertise and experience about their own lives to tell us and each other what they know and need.
We are here to help
Please get in touch with us. We are here to help.
The Women’s Cottage can help you find and understand the options available to you.
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02 4578 4190