Eighteen Canberrans will muster the courage to have their heads shaved in Garema Place on Monday 15 March, aiming to raise $40,000 of crucial funds for Canberra’s specialist Domestic Violence Crisis Service (DVCS).
Social distancing has made fundraising opportunities harder to come by, and DVCS interim general manager Glenda Stevens says the non-government, not-for-profit service has had to completely change its approach.
Due to COVID-19, DVCS was unable to enter a Canberra Marathon Festival Team in 2020, and decided against it again this year, opting to try something new.
Shave for the Brave participants herald from DVCS, Icon Water, ACT Policing, SES Queanbeyan, Blumers Lawyers, Holcim Australia, and Leidos.
Local media outlets have jumped on board, with Mix 106.3 personality Nige Johnson opting for a shiny bald noggin – don’t touch the beard – and ABC presenter Adam Shirley gearing up for a major shave as well.
Another participant, DVCS Champion Sue Webeck, says she is well-known for her carefully maintained haircut.
She’s kept short on the sides and longer on top for about a decade by hopping in the chair for two or three trims a month.
“It’s a thing to keep the sides trim!” she says.
Contemplating the shave prompted her to think critically about what having styled hair meant.
“I think hair has long been a real personal identifier for me as being a member of the queer community.
“Hair, often, was this sense of femininity for me and being a gender diverse woman, having short hair was a significant milestone in my authentic living.”
For Ms Webeck, hair is something central to how she identifies herself in the world, and something that makes her feel good about herself.
She expects people will notice the change in her appearance and ask her why she did it.
“And I can say, well actually, I did it for a really valuable cause and I did it for these reasons: nationally, we’ve lost five women already and we’re not at the end of February, to intimate and domestic violence.
“It’s not good enough, we’ve got to do something different.”
Ms Webeck also wants to send a message to LGBTQIA+ community members, that domestic, family and intimate partner violence can impact their relationships, and there are services ready and willing to support them.
Ms Stevens, who has also signed up, says Shave for the Brave participants will send a really strong message about the need for change by dramatically altering their appearance.
“And we’ve got to recognise that [domestic violence] is all across our community, it’s in every facet and every part of our community.
“And it affects everyone – those people who are subjected to violence, those who are using violence, and also those who are witnessing violence – we’re all affected in a negative way.”
Ms Stevens has had a full head of hair since she was a baby and admits she is nervous about saying goodbye to her shoulder-length locks.
“But I think it’s important to be brave, because the message we’re sending to the women who are experiencing domestic and family violence is that they are really brave too,” she says.
“And they are working really hard to change their life to be free of violence and fear, and all I’m doing is shaving my head.
“So, hats off to them, because they’re the brave, strong ones.”
DVCS Shave for the Brave event details
When: Monday 15 March 2021
Where: Garema Place, and live on Mix 106.3 from 6am to 9am
If this story raised any concerns help is available
Please see the domestic violence crisis support contact details below. If you are in immediate danger call 000.
ACT: Domestic Violence Crisis Service
Interstate: 1800 RESPECT