The last Friday of October is the date we celebrate Reclaim the Night – rain, hail or shine (well, maybe not hail), we are out there marching for a cause that affects everyone in our community – violence against women and children.
Reclaim the Night is an international event that highlights the importance of women and children being able to be out after dark and be free from all forms of violence. We hope to promote awareness and education on a local level on what is definitely a global issue.
I’m one of many local service workers that make up the Nepean Domestic Violence Network (the NDVN). We advocate, raise awareness and provide education about aspects and impacts of abusive behaviours which come under the umbrella of domestic and family violence. So, basically, we want to make more people aware of, and think about, the right that we all have to feel safe whether at home or out, during the day or night. And we want to influence behaviours to help this happen.
We decided to invite our whole community to a Reclaim the Night march as a visual (and noisy) means to express our community’s stance against violence.
We all met at Penrith Station at 5.30pm, armed with maracas, drums, banners, whistles and our loudest singing voices, to march the streets together – women, children and men – making a crazy amount of noise to the amusement of bystanders.
The march ended at the Triangle Park in Penrith, where we hosted a free event, with performers, including SOS Choir and Walan Mahlee Aboriginal Girls Dance Group; guest speakers, including Ms Emma Husar MP; music, a sausage sizzle, iced tea, show bags, kid’s activities and even a viewing room to watch the Tea Consent video – check it out here.
There were many people that put in a whole lot of effort to make this event happen – I’d like to thank Zonta Club of Nepean Valley for their kind donation and support of the NDVN, and for marshalling and keeping us marchers all safe; Penrith City Council, for their funding donation; and the organisations that enabled their staff to make it happen – West Connect DV Services; Open Door Church; Ability Links; Integrated Violence Prevention & Response Services; Barnardos; St Marys Area Community Development; and of course, my own organisation Nepean Community & Neighbourhood Services .
There was a great turnout, the energy was high, and people were having great conversations about their right to feel safe, and their right to BE safe – SUCCESS!