Breaking the ice with ……. Ari Milecki

Ari with nephew Charlie.

Welcome Ari! Thank you for taking the time to let us get to know you.

What is rocking your work world today?

Over the past three weeks, Women’s Health East have been running our biannual Speaking Out Program training. Together with my colleagues, I have run three days of media advocacy training for 10 women. The Speaking Out program ensures that the voices of women who have experienced family violence and sexual assault are heard through the media and public events. Led by Women’s Health East, in partnership with the Eastern Centre Against Sexual Assault (ECASA) and the Eastern Domestic Violence Service (EDVOS), the program seeks to influence a change in community attitudes and to promote the prevention of violence against women. This round of training was a great success and it was so moving to watch the advocates learn how to develop strong key messages and fear of public speaking dissipate. It absolutely rocked my world, and I can’t wait to see them all in action.

What are you most excited about in your job this year?

I am most excited about the potential for the Speaking Out Program to grow, and to see advocates playing a key part in all forums and decision making.

Increasingly, women who have experienced violence are needed to speak out about their experiences, and in a more nuanced way. Having women who have experienced all forms of violence involved in the entirety of projects is critical to ensuring efficacy. I am looking forward to our current advocates sharing their diverse experiences to help government, community, and businesses understand the role they can play in preventing violence against women.

Where would you like to see your work go? What are your ambitions?

I would like to see the Speaking Out Program grow in terms of numbers of advocates and women undergoing media advocacy training, but also see the requests for advocates to share their voice and experience at more events, forums and committees. I would also like to see the work Speaking Out Advocates perform, valued significantly. The knowledge and experienced shared by our advocates is so valuable and it is so important for this work to be acknowledged as exactly that. I am looking forward to developing some formal procedural documents that will ensure this is the case for all of our advocates.

What do you want to be known for professionally?

Well this is a tough one. I want to be known as a friendly and approachable expert in something. I am yet to work out what.

Who inspires you?

I am incredibly proud and inspired of/by the amazing women who I work with – the Speaking Out Advocates. Their strength and courage is so empowering to me. They work tirelessly to prevent violence against women, and are incredibly focused on changing the systems and structures that allow the impacts of violence to last a lifetime. Also, my colleagues at Women’s Health East inspire me. There is so much amazing work being done here. It is a very inspiring place to be.