A Powerful Day: Reflecting on the Geelong Gendered Violence Rally

On a bright and hopeful day, the citizens of Geelong came together for the Gendered Violence Rally, a powerful testament to our collective determination to make our voices heard and demand change. As we turned the corner as a group, the sun shone down on us, illuminating our path and our cause.

The atmosphere was charged with emotion and solidarity. Citizens of Geelong, filled with anger, sadness, and a desperate need to be heard by those in power, marched together. The silence was profound as the names of women killed at the hands of men this year were read aloud. You could have heard a pin drop. Tears rolled down my cheeks, and as I looked around, I saw many other women, girls, mothers, daughters, sisters, and even men sharing in this collective grief. In that moment, there was also a spark of hope.

Explaining to my daughter why the rally was so important was devastating. It’s heart-wrenching to face the reality of violence against women and the need for such rallies. Before moving to Australia 17 years ago, I worked as a psychologist in high-security prisons in the UK with violent sex offenders. The attitudes and beliefs we challenged back then, such as “Boys will be boys” or “She was asking for it,” are unfortunately still present in Australia today.

No one is entitled to our bodies or minds in any way. We all have the right to be free from coercive control in our relationships. To achieve this, we need extensive change in our justice system and a cultural shift in our beautiful country. Respect, consent, and equality must be at the forefront of our education and behavior.

It’s crucial that we teach our children these concepts and lead by example. If we don’t fully understand them ourselves, we have a responsibility to learn. Women must support and care for each other, showing compassion towards those experiencing domestic violence. Men also have a vital role in calling out and challenging the attitudes and behaviors that lead to violence against women and girls.

Let’s keep using our voices and be loud in demanding change. Encourage respect, consent, and equality in all aspects of life. Support each other and take action against domestic violence. Together, we can make a difference.

The Geelong Gendered Violence Rally was a powerful reminder of the work we still need to do. Let’s take care of each other and remain steadfast in our fight for justice and equality. Stay loud, stay hopeful, and continue to demand change.

SJ x

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