Kristal Kinsela knows the importance of standing up to domestic and family violence.
It's one of the reasons why the local business owner and multiple survivor of domestic violence has put her hand up to support this year's Coastal Walk Against Domestic and Family Violence on Sunday, December 3.
"It's almost taboo sometimes to talk about it and it can be an embarrassing experience to say that...you've been in situations where you've been really vulnerable," she said.
"So I think that the more that we raise awareness, the more we can help people have those conversations.
"If we can make it that it's more of a topic that we're not scared to talk about, that we're not scared to bring justice to people who are experiencing it, I think we can go a really long way."
Ms Kinsela is just one of the many businesses who are sponsoring the walking this year with support coming from MBC Recruitment, Men and Women at Work, Hastings Co-Op, Port Macquaire- Hastings Council Community Grants Program, Sovereign Vet Hospital, and Elders Real Estate.
"I feel that I'm in quite a privileged position that I live locally, and I run a business and I wanted to be able to contribute to something that is very close to my heart," she said.
"To be apart of something local in my own community, to raise awareness is just important and because I've got the means to be able to do that, I feel like, as someone who has been on that journey, it's the right thing to do."
Organised by Liberty Domestic and Family Violence Specialist Services, the walk is set to be even bigger than last year with nearly 500 people already registered to wear white and take the coastal walk to show their support against domestic and family violence.
"Every year our community walks together in solidarity with victim-survivors to show that we are committed to a future where violence-supporting attitudes, beliefs and behaviours are not tolerated," Liberty CEO Kelly Lamb said.
"We have actually had a lot more registrations this year and I do believe it is because there is more awareness in our community around domestic and family violence."
According to the Australian Bureau of Statistics, 2.7 million Australian women have experienced partner violence or abuse.
The statistics come after six women were killed within a fortnight bringing the number of women killed this year to 56.
Jodie Jewell who was shot dead by her husband in Adelaide's northeast on November 21, water polo coach Lilie James who was found dead at a Sydney School on October 25, and an unnamed woman in Sydney are just some of the many women whose lives have been cut short this year.
The issue also hits close to home with the Mid North Coast having one of the largest increases of domestic violence related assault last year.
"Domestic and family violence is happening in our local community," Ms Lamb said.
"The phones at Liberty don't stop ringing, with around 60 calls for help every month."
Steps to prevention
The Coastal Walk Against Domestic and Family Violence has been growing in popularity with residents across the Port Macquarie-Hastings area over the years.
Birpai elder Aunty Rhonda Radley is one of the participants who has continued to return to the event for a number of years to show her support.
"What we're saying to all women is 'no, it's not okay' and no women should live in that fear and feel unsafe," she said.
"So we're just saying to all the community, we care and that's what it really means to be and why I keep coming back.
"I personally have been affected by it within my family and so I think it's so important that we keep showing up year after year."
The walk is part of the 16 days of activism against gender based violence with this year's theme being ' 'invest to prevent violence against women and girls'.
"We absolutely need to respond to women and children who experience domestic and family violence and we need to do better in that," Ms Lamb said
"But we need to start at the start and that's in the prevention work.
"We do really need to ask governments to shift where they are investing this social change and bring about more opportunities for organisations like Liberty to be able to deliver long term prevention strategies."
Participants can register for free online through Liberty website to partake in the walk on Sunday, December 3.
They can also make a donation online and purchase merchandise on the day.
This year, participants have following three starting points to chose from:
- 8am- Lighthouse Beach
- 9am- Flynns Beach
- 9.30am- Town Beach
Participants will not only be able to see beautiful coastal views but read signposts that bust myths about gender equality and educate the community about forms of abuse.
The end-of-walk event will take place from 10am at Westport Park with a barbecue, coffee, cultural performances and guest speakers.
Cars can be parked at the finishing line at Westport Park before the walk and catch free shuttle buses to the Lighthouse Beach and Flynns Beach starting points.
- If you need support, call Liberty on 6583 2155 or 1800RESPECT.
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