On 8 August, Gold Coast residents from all walks of life will rally together and raise their voices about the epidemic of gendered and domestic violence in Australia.
The swathe of March4Justice marches across the country earlier this year were testament to the country’s growing collective frustration with the unabated growth of gendered and domestic violence in Australia.
Hundreds of thousands of ordinary citizens across the country took to the streets in March to protest the Government’s lukewarm response to the ever-growing epidemic of misogyny within its ranks and the nationwide issue of family and gendered violence, a problem that has escalated severely during the pandemic.
Gold Coast, where there was no march held this year, is a hotspot for violent crimes against women, with nearly a quarter (23%) of Queensland’s domestic and family violence orders being recorded here in recent years, despite our city being home to only 10 percent (10%) of the state’s population.
These figures show the urgent need for more Gold Coast residents to take up activism around their local area, said rally co-organiser and founder of social and activism group Gold Coast Feminists, Natalie O’Driscoll.
“Numbers like that don’t reflect an anomaly,” Ms O’Driscoll said. “They reflect a culture. It’s time for Gold Coasters to stand up and make their voices heard about what’s going on in their own city.”
Rally Head organiser Anne Carlin has been holding high visibility pop-up protests outside Burleigh State School on weekends for the last several months.
“We’ve definitely seen a lot of individual support from passers-by and the general community during our protests,” said Ms Carlin. “But to make a larger impact we really need to come together en masse. We’re definitely stronger as a collective.”
Gold Coast prides itself on its enviable lifestyle, but there’s a darker side to the city which has been glossed over for too long, with local family and sexual violence services struggling to keep up with demand.
Support groups claim that a staggering 6,500 women and potentially more have sought domestic violence support on the Gold Coast since mid-2020.
The recent violent death of Gold Coaster Kelly Wilkinson at the hands of her husband saw hundreds of residents show up at a vigil for the murdered mother of three, and hundreds of thousands of dollars pour into a GoFundMe to support her family, which was heartening.
But more needs to be done to prevent horrific deaths like those of Ms Wilkinson, and to support those women who are currently suffering and in fear for their lives.
Rally organisers are calling for Gold Coast citizens to say ‘Enough Is Enough’, and demand cultural and legislative change from the top down. By joining the larger voice of the collective, Australians can hold the Federal Government and all politicians to account by putting pressure on our parliaments to put an end to the issues of sexism, misogyny, patriarchy, corruption, dangerous workplace cultures and lack of equality in politics and the community at large.
Local artist Rae Mitchell, rally co-organiser and designer of the official ‘Enough’ logo used by March4Justice in the nationwide marches earlier this year, says the rally will make a statement to not just the government, but to the community as a whole.
“We really want as many people in the community to come together as humanly possible. We want survivors to know that we see them,” she said. “And to those who are currently stuck in these horrible situations – know that people are fighting for you.”
The March4Justice Gold Coast Rally will take place at 10am on Sunday 8 August at Mick Schamburg Park in Miami, right near the North Burleigh Surf Club. Follow @march4justicegc on Twitter, Instagram and Facebook for updates.
Hashtags: #marchforjusticgc #marchforjusticau #enoughisenough.
Disclaimer: event organiser Natalie O’Driscoll is Blank’s Managing Editor