NAMES of the 11 women killed by violence in Australia this year have been read aloud at a candlelit vigil in Newcastle.
University of Newcastle Gender Research Network project officer Rachel Bond said vigils were held across the country on Wednesday to bring communities together and remember all women killed by violence, plus mark the start of Domestic and Family Violence Prevention Month.
Ms Bond said 10 of the 11 women killed this year were murdered by men known to them.
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"It's a very powerful way of personalising and individualising, because it's dreadful that we can get so used to hearing just the number of women that have been killed, we forget the individual details and how important every single one of those women were," Ms Bond said.
"Women do not have to die as a result of domestic abuse, it just shouldn't be something we accept in our community.
"This is a stance against that and saying 'This is not okay'."
Ms Bond said about 100 people attended the event in the tram sheds in Newcastle Foreshore Park, which included a smoking ceremony to cleanse more than 150 garments that were part of the White Dress Project from 2015 to 2018, which involved creating dresses for public display in memory of the women murdered so far that year. The dresses will be brought to Canberra for a protest.
"Not only is it an amazing way to engage with the community who are already interested, but it's also a great way to engage with the community who might not be aware of the size of the problem."
The event also included speeches from frontline service providers, a minute of silence, poetry and a communal scream.
"We keep holding vigils, we keep holding minutes of silence, so it's about having that minute of respect but then also acknowledging that there are other emotions involved around that situation and to give people permission to vent and to let some of that energy out."
She said the government needed to increase funding for crisis accommodation and housing to help women fleeing violence, as well as criminalise coercive control.
She said there also needed to be more education in schools about consent, healthy relationships and respect.
"The driving force behind violence against women is - disrespect isn't enough, that doesn't cover the attitudes towards women that are currently held - we need gender equality," she said.
"We need to look at the outcomes of the current education model and say 'Well clearly it's not working', it's not just domestic abuse it's sexual assault figures, what is currently happening in our broader society is creating a very toxic environment for women and for children."
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