Once more, the community of Wollongong will come together, draped in purple, eagerly anticipating the upcoming Reclaim the Night event.
On Thursday, 26th of October 2023 this annual gathering seeks to heighten awareness of gender-based violence and champion the cause for safer streets for all.
The Volunteer Program Officer at Illawarra Women, Dee Blackmore, is enthusiastic about the upcoming opportunity to illuminate the lighthouse in a vibrant shade of purple for this meaningful cause.
“The original Reclaim The Night was held in Leeds, UK in 1977, and these marches were a fight for a woman’s right to walk the streets without fear at night, and to remember and be a voice for those women who have lost their lives to gender based violence” Said Ms Blackmore
“The Reclaim The Night movement spread across the globe very quickly with the first marches being held in Sydney and Perth only a year later in 1978.
“We know there were Reclaim The Night marches in Wollongong in the following years, however, it had lost its momentum and there were no marches here for many years.” She said
The latest statistics for 2023 in Australia paint a grim picture: 1 in 5 women has experienced sexual violence, while 1 in 3 women has faced physical violence.
Additionally, 1 in 4 women has endured various forms of abuse, such as coercive control, stalking, emotional, psychological, economic, social, or spiritual abuse, often perpetrated by a current or former partner. Shockingly, these numbers are even higher among disabled and indigenous women.
Wollongong woman, Grace Smith will be participating in the lighthouse event tomorrow evening, and she eagerly anticipates promoting the Reclaim the Night message.
“I hope that the people at this reclaim the night don’t just walk away and forget about why they came,” said Miss Smith
“I hope it empowers people in the crowd to stand up to the sexist joke at work or in the friend group, I hope that it inspires women to speak up, get help or support and change the way they see their relationships.
“I would love to see the day when we do not have to have these rallies!” She said.
If anyone wishes to get involved the event will commence at Andrew Lysaght’s Park near WIN Stadium Wollongong, with a march leading to the Lighthouse where various speakers will share their insights.
The event kicks off at 6:45 pm and will conclude at 8:30 pm. Participants are encouraged to wear purple and join in spreading the message that safety and equality are intertwined.