Reclaim the Night march at Warners Bay on October 25 part of a global protest for women's right to be free from sexual violence

GLOBAL MOVEMENT: Participants in last year's Reclaim the Night protest. A Lake Macquarie march will be held on Friday, October 25. Picture: Marina Neil
GLOBAL MOVEMENT: Participants in last year's Reclaim the Night protest. A Lake Macquarie march will be held on Friday, October 25. Picture: Marina Neil

RECLAIM the Night, the global protest for women's right to be free of sexual violence and abuse, is coming to Lake Macquarie on Friday, October 25.

"All over the world, from major cities to tiny country towns 'Reclaim the Night' carries the voices of women saying 'No!' to violence against women and children, and 'Yes!' to healthy relationships," Reanna Cunningham, a local Reclaim the Night coordinator, said.

The Lake Macquarie march will be held along The Esplanade, Warners Bay, at 6.30pm.

The march is for women only, but men who support them are also urged to attend.

Australia's first Reclaim the Night march took place in 1978.

Since then, the Hunter has had a proud tradition of joining the movement to demonstrate support for essential women's services, demand justice for survivors, and to spread the message that no woman is ever to blame for male violence against her, Ms Cunningham said.

"So often, women feel afraid to be out alone at night. We want to create a community where women can feel free to gather and go about their lives safely."

A group called Destroy the Joint runs 'Counting Dead Women Australia', a national toll of women killed by violence.

According to Destroy the Joint, 44 women have lost their lives due to domestic violence in Australia in 2019.

"The Newcastle Sexual Assault service have confirmed there have been 125 women and children present in crisis in Newcastle, Lake Macquarie and the Hunter in 2019, and 548 females (of all ages) have made intake enquires in 2019 in Newcastle for sexual assaults," Ms Cunningham said.

These statistics do not tell us the whole story, she said.

"Women who have survived acts of violence are at an increased risk of homelessness, depression, anxiety, and financial stress. The social and emotional well-being of children is also significantly impacted by family violence.

"By holding these events, we hope that in years to come we find ourselves in a community where we don't have these horrific statistics to march against."

Participants at the Warners Bay march are asked to gather from 6pm for the march at 6:30pm.

"The event is family friendly and we welcome you to lend your voices to this important cause," Ms Cunningham said.

There will also be marches held at Newcastle and Lorn.

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