By Marley Amphlett
All Women Army was founded by Amanda Marie Gregoraci in late 2016, after experiencing online bullying. Her aim was to create a safe space for women to freely express themselves without fear of judgement. Facebook is the social media platform that Amanda has used to run the group. In the time it has been active, All Women Army, has gained 6000 members based in Australia and overseas. Topics discussed include mental health, body positivity, motherhood, wellness and beauty. “I’d describe All Women Army as not just a group, but an “online home” where women from all across the world can come together, empower each other and learn from one another.” explained Amanda.
During the early days of AWA, Amanda realised she would need to recruit other women to assist her with the administrative duties of the page. After originally trialling 4 others, 2 were chosen. Myself and Casey Wilson. “I actually worked with Amanda when I was in high school so we knew each other personally. I was a member of a few different groups, but this one was by far the most helpful and supportive group I had been in and I really wanted to be a part of that.” said Casey.
“We have members from all different places. Most of them reside in Australia however we do have some members all across the globe” said Amanda, of the growing membership of AWA. “I’d say between 80-90% of our members are from Australia but we do have members from all over the world including places like, the US, NZ, UK and even as far as Romania.” added Casey.
“What prompted me to create All Women Army was an incident online which resorted in an admin from a fellow group treating me and other members unfairly. I wanted a group where members felt safe, where they could be open, expressive and not be judged. I wanted a group that allowed people to feel like they weren’t alone and where admin and members were treated equally. So, I created my own group. Something that would be run the way I wanted it to, something that would be similar but also different from other groups.” expressed Amanda.
Amanda, 30, is based in Sydney where she lives with her family, Casey, 25, also lives in Sydney with her partner Owen Hera Singh and their daughter Aurora. The ladies got together to describe themselves and the group for potential members who may wish to join.
“I’d say I’m a very understanding person. I will not judge you even if I disagree with you, I’m very open and honest and always willing to help others where possible. I’d describe All Women Army as not just a group, but an “online home” where women from all across the world can come together, empower each other and learn from one another.” explained Amanda.
“I try my best to be the best person I can be. I am a very emotional person so I feel for and try to help every single member who posts asking for support or just needs to vent in the group. I think AWA is one of the most organised groups I have seen on Facebook. We have a lot of threads so that people posting for support or venting, don’t get lost in the news feed. Nothing goes unanswered in the group. A lot of other groups I’m in have the issue of multiples of the same posts which causes the ones asking for help and support to be lost and unnoticed. Which is never a good feeling. ”said Casey, explaining some of the logistics AWA use to keep the group organized.
Whilst AWA is a great way to make online friends, some members have stepped out of the online forum and met up IRL.
“I’ve made a few great friendships due to AWA. Some friendships which will hopefully be lifelong & come to a point where we can even meet and catch up in person” said Amanda.
So what do the 6000 strong members of AWA love about the group?
“Members love the selfie threads, a lot. Everyone’s always up for posting selfies. Aside from that, they enjoy activity threads, they always get involved and informative ones that they can personally relate to. Our inspirational quotes thread is one which is constantly being used. Also, our art thread, members love sharing their creative work.” said Amanda. “Definitely selfie threads and gif activities are super popular getting hundreds of comments.” agreed Casey.
The administrators of AWA aim to keep the group cyber hate free, although at times this can be challenging. “At AWA we won’t tolerate [cyberbullying/cyber hate] at all. On a personal level, I don’t feed into it. People can attempt to bring me down, but it only lifts me up. I believe only unhappy people feel the need to bring another person down.” said Amanda, explaining her approach to trolls or cyberbullies. “Unfortunately you can’t really avoid bullying these days. We have had a few cases of bullying in the group towards other members and I have had some people try to bully me but with the support of other admin it is easier to deal with.” Casey added.
Each of the admins have had their own experiences with not just bullying, but mental and sexual health issues as well. While they don’t claim to be professional practitioners they are more than willing to lend an ear and assist when problems arise. “I really hope to be able to be there for people who need it. I had a tough time emotionally when I was younger and I have always wanted to help others and to be there for others, so that they don’t have to feel how I felt.” expressed Casey. “I just want to make a positive difference in people’s lives. I want to help anyone who needs help and I want to thank all the amazing women who are a part of our group for being so supportive and understanding of our members. I hope that AWA can help women out there have the support they need for whatever it is they are going through.” she concluded.
“I hope that having such group will make people feel less alone. [I want] to hopefully help members who are battling their own demons and remind them that everything will be okay. I just want AWA to be a positive space for all women, everywhere. If AWA puts a smile even on just ONE woman’s face, I’m happy with that.” summarized Amanda.
To become a member of All Women Army click here
If you are experiencing depression, anxiety or feel you are in need of professional help please contact Lifeline on 131 114