Women march to reclaim the night

Wednesday, November 4, 2009

A vibrant and noisy crowd of about 300 women rallied at the State Library in Melbourne to demand an end to violence against women.

The Reclaim the Night rally heard from several survivors of domestic violence. Other speakers included representatives from the Women with Disabilities Network, the Centre Against Sexual Assault, the Women's Domestic Violence Crisis Service, the Socialist Alliance, Radical Women and Indigenous traditional owners.

Women of diverse ages and backgrounds chanted, blew whistles and shouted as they made their way to the Victorian Trades Hall for further celebrations with music and entertainment.

Seventy-five people gathered in Wollongong mall for Reclaim the Night on October 29, Jay Fletcher reported. "Real information about violence against women is not getting out", said rally organiser Lee-Anne Organ.

Dr Marg Perrott, from the Socialist Alliance, gave a shocking example to prove it. "In the US the second leading cause of death for pregnant women was homicide", she said.

Ending violence against women and the campaign for decriminalising abortion are strongly linked and part of the same struggle for women's rights, Perrott said. Of all reported cases of domestic violence, 42% of women were pregnant at the time.

Other speakers addressed the global economic and climate crises, and the impact of war on women.

University of Wollongong environment officer Vanessa Organo said "women will suffer most from the havoc and destruction of climate change."

Catherine Garner from the University of Wollongong queer collective spoke of violence in same-sex relationships. Wollongong city councillor Sue Partridge read a letter from a survivor of domestic violence.

In Brisbane, 200 women rallied, while 200 also took to the streets in Perth. More than 100 women protested in Sydney's Victoria Park.