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Shamsher- I have with Sukhdeep Bhogal who is known as L-Fresh The Lion in Hip Hop music. We are going to talk about and upcoming event in Sydney about ‘White Ribbon’ and let’s know from Sukhdeep what it is.

Welcome Sukhdeep to SBS Punjabi Radio

Sukhdeep- Thank you very much.

Shamsher- You are connected with the event of Indian Subcontinent Community Forum in Sydney. What is this event?

Sukhdeep- This event is happening on March 13. It’s purpose is to create awareness about domestic violence against women. It is to encourage men to talk to other men, discus this issue and what we can do to fix this issue. Because it’s not just a women’s issue, it’s equally an issue for the men. We can take active steps, because most men don’t commit violence against women. But’s as men we understand that it happens and it’s our responsibility to fix it. We can play a role to help support women and ensure that other men don’t indulge in it.

Shamsher- You are White Ribbon Ambassador. How did this association come about with White Ribbon?

Sukhdeep- You know that I am a musician and my job is to perform everywhere in Australia. When I write for my music, I chose topics consciously. It’s about.. thinking about the role we play as individuals in the world, how we can play a positive role. This is one of the issues I am very passionate about because I know this does happen. Violence against women does happen in our community and we don’t have the culture to necessarily talk about it in public. So, it’s important for us to be proactive that we take steps to speak about these things so we can support women and let other men know, all men know, that this is not acceptable, that something is wrong and we can take steps to fix it. So, I thought, I am in a position because I am on the stage constantly speaking to people and this is something that must be spoken about so it makes sense to be working with White Ribbon.

Shamsher- You are a Hip Hop artist. Do you use your art form to get the message across?

Sukhdeep- Yes, yes. Music is a very good platform to have a conversation. You can address many topics in music, and you know I have a few songs that speak about the need for us to think about how we view the women in society how we breakdown stereotypes, how we breakdown cultural norms that we have established. Yes, this is what I discus through music.

Shamsher- Do you particularly focus on the youth, or you think that men of all ages need to be targeted with this message?

Sukhdeep- I think, it’s important for us to speak to all ages, to everyone. Because this issue affects everybody, and the people who enjoy my music are mostly young people. But doesn’t mean that only young people engage with music. It’s important for us to be speaking about it to everybody so we have the widest possible impact.

Shamsher- Domestic violence is a huge problem in Australia, and South Asian communities also add to this problem. How do you advise people to over come this, how can people shed their inhibitions in tackling this issue?

Sukhdeep- First, we need to understand and accept that there is a problem. This is a very important thing. If we don’t accept there is a problem, then we can’t address it. So, by understanding and addressing that this is a problem, then we can take steps to assist with the situation and problem. It’s important to know that in Australia one in three women experiences physical or sexual violence that’s done to them by someone they know. It affects all communities. People in our community and other communities are affected. We need to recognize the real problem and this is a very common problem. So, it’s not something that we can pretend doesn’t exist that we must be active to address the problem. The purpose of white ribbon is to encourage men to take responsibility because we live in a culture where there is a dominant male culture. We tend to always see things mostly from men’s perspective and women’s perspective is often treated as second or lesser. So we need to acknowledge this. It’s the men’s responsibility, if we see something happening or we hear something happening, we must speak about it and support the person who is going through it and let them that they are not alone. And we also take steps to discuss with other men to let them know… this is a problem and we need to work together to ensure that those who close to us, to know that we can build a safer community for the next generation.

Shamsher- Do you see a special role young people can play in this?

Sukhdeep- definitely, young people are becoming more and more aware of issues affecting our community. They can see what is happening. They are the next generation. One day they are going to be taking leadership also. It’s important we speak about these issues now, particularly with young people, if we hope to be able to eliminate this issue in the future. Young people are aware and we are speaking to them at early stages, which white ribbon does, they go to schools and host programs, these are positive programs that we can take to help prevent it at the very beginning.