Coffee With… Jacinda Erich, Health Promotion Officer at Link Health & Community

Describe your work/role at Link Health & Community?
My role at Link as Health Promotion Officer focuses on gender equity and prevention of violence against women. This involves working closely with other stakeholders to reduce violence against women by working with community, to build their knowledge and capacity so that they too can be agents of change.

What excites and motivates you in your role?
I have a long history of working in social justice and believe strongly in equality for women and girls. Reducing violence against women is really important work. I feel honoured to work in a role dedicated to prevention when I often hear others talk about feeling so overwhelmed and helpless to make change. While change is slow, I feel like I am able to make a difference.

What is most challenging about your work?
To me the real challenge is getting it right. Backlash from both men and women who believe that the women’s rights movement and the investment in prevention of violence against women is flawed is problematic on multiple levels.  For those who shut down and disengage in the conversation are the real challenge. Alienating and creating an ‘us and them’ mentality is unhelpful. We need to find respectful ways to reach all men and women to ensure they are part of the conversation going forward.

What strengths do you see in the inner east community?
There is significant appetite and momentum across the eastern region that has helped lay the foundation for solid partnerships. I feel heartened that I am not alone in my work and that together we have an opportunity to make a real difference.

If you could change one thing about the world right now, what would it be?
I would like a world with real unity, unity amongst all people in all countries. I am continually saddened by hatred between people based on religion, race, gender, sexuality etc. How different the world would feel with more love and less hate for difference, after all we are all human.

If you weren’t working at Link Health & Community right now, what would you be doing?
If I wasn’t working at Link Health & Community I would be studying a Masters full time. It has been my dream to study a masters in International Development and use my current skills in Disability, sport and gender equality to work in an international context.

We acknowledge the Wurundjeri people and other peoples of the Kulin nation as the traditional owners of the land on which our work in the community takes place. We pay our respects to their Elders past and present.

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