THE names of all 45 women killed by violence in Australia this year will be read aloud at a public vigil in Civic Park, Newcastle, which will be bathed in orange to help start conversations about domestic violence.
University of Newcastle Gender Research Network director, Associate Professor Trisha Pender, who has helped organise the Wednesday vigil, said it was important the women's lives were not reduced to statistics.
"We personalise these women and their lives and respect their lives so that we can stop ignoring these ghastly statistics," she said.
"We personalise that loss en-masse so that we raise awareness of the fact that every single one of these people are human beings with their own life story, with their own connections, and the ripple effects of these acts of violence echo for generations and cause trauma in families for a long time."
The vigil is part of the 16 Days Launch, Lights and Vigil online event. Due to COVID-19 it will be live-streamed, instead of being held in person, from 8pm.
November 25 is the International Day for the Elimination of Violence Against Women.
It starts the global 16 Days of Activism to End Violence Against Women.
Associate Professor Pender said the network had received support from the City of Newcastle's Special Business Rate Scheme for its City Lights for Social Change light installation project.
She said eight trees in Civic Park, smart poles in Laman Street, the City Hall clock tower and UON's NUSpace would glow orange for 16 days.
She said other not-for-profit organisations could use the infrastructure in future to bathe the city in other coloured lights.
She said the network had asked itself if turning the city orange was "good use of money".
"When we speak to the frontline organisations working with domestic and family violence they say yes," she said.
"Preaching to the converted only gets us so far.
"What we need, they tell us, is a whole of community conversation about changing our cultural mores, our social mores, our laws, our legislation, so in order to do that we need the whole community on board and that's what the lights project is designed to do, it's designed to raise awareness of the issues."
Associate Professor Pender said the bill before state parliament to criminalise coercive control was a "big important item on the agenda".
But she said more resources and work was needed to change society and culture.
"If people were killed by a shark attack with the regularity with which women are killed through domestic and family violence, there would be a huge funding situation around sharks, same as with terrorism."
The livestream and other events: facebook.com/16DaysOfActivism.Newcastle
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