An assembly of gender equality enthusiasts have marched through the streets of Wollongong CBD to protest violence and harassment against women.
A large crowd gathered at the Civic Plaza in Wollongong yesterday, before moving to the amphitheater in Wollongong mall for the annual Reclaim the Night event.
Centre Against Violence contract trainer Jackylnn Draper said the community needed to acknowledge the existence of gender inequality for things to change.
“The way forward to change this, is for men in leadership positions to be taking on these issues and taking on men for the violence that they use,” Ms Draper said.
The event included speeches from activists, a march, musical and dance performances, and a candle-lit ceremony to commemorate the lives lost to violence this year.
The crowd walked through the CBD chanting: “Make things right, reclaim the night” and “Don’t be silent, stop the violence.”
“People need to tune in their sensitivities to when someone is using abusive tactics, because usually abusers start out by acting as if they’re lovely people, but in private use a whole range of false tactics,” Ms Draper said.
Reclaim the Night is an international event that started in the ’70s and was revived in the Illawarra in 2015, after an eight-year lapse.
One former violence victim, who asked to keep her identity private, said anti-violence against women campaigns had led to huge improvement and change.
“It’s important to bring awareness to domestic violence and child abuse, and the issues surrounding it,” she said.
“As a community I think one of the biggest things, is to get over the judgement-factor. Victims of domestic violence feel ashamed about admitting there is a problem.
“It starts with us women, standing up for one another.”