The Hastings community will march together in a united show of support for their right to feel safe at night at the annual Reclaim the Night event on Thursday, October 24 at Wauchope.
Reclaim the Night is a community partnership event led by the Mid North Coast Local Health District (MNCLHD), Port Macquarie-Hastings Council, TAFE NSW, Liberty Domestic and Family Violence Specialist Service and Headspace. The march brings together people with different backgrounds and experiences to raise awareness of the right that all people have to feel safe and free from violence in their community.
MNCLHD Domestic Violence Prevention Educator Renee Bell said the event provided an opportunity for community members to take a stance against violence, in a public sphere, creating gentle dialogue about the need to shift responsibility from the victim, in particular, violence against women.
The pussycat hat is a symbol of solidarity for women's rights, this year we are also tying in the Seeing Red violence prevention campaign, saying NO to violence in all relationships.Renee Bell
"Violence against women is a whole of community issue, the more you question or challenge it, the more you change community attitudes.
"The march is a show of our community strength and a collective demand for freedom from violence and harassment. We all have the right to feel safe at night, no matter where we are, what we are wearing or if we are walking on our own," Ms Bell said.
Local craft and community groups have donated their time to knit, crochet and sew almost 100 pussycat hats, which will be available at the event for a gold coin donation, with proceeds going to Wauchope Neighbourhood Centre.
"The pussycat hat is a symbol of solidarity for women's rights, this year we are also tying in the Seeing Red violence prevention campaign, saying NO to violence in all relationships."
Reclaim the Night is a family event, welcoming the entire community, and will include live music by Sharon Noble and the Little Ripper Band and a free barbecue in Bain Park Wauchope from 6pm.
The march will begin at approximately 6.45pm and will proceed from Bain Park down along High Street and back.
Paper lanterns decorated by Wauchope Public School students will be available to use along the march.
"March for your friends and family, your colleagues, and for your sons and daughters. Stand up and speak out against violence and abuse," Ms Bell said.