Community rises against domestic violence

RISING UP: Josephine Rechichi (right) says domestic violence rates in western Sydney are “alarmingly high”. Picture: Heath Parkes-HuptonUsually a day to celebrate love, Valentine’s Day will take on a different meaning fordomestic violence activists in western Sydney this year.

Domestic violence awareness event One Billion Rising will come to Blacktown on February 14 as rates of household abuse continue to soar in Sydney’s west.

WASH House’s Josephine Rechichi said holding the event on Valentine’s Daywouldhelp“take back the day” for women and girls affected by family violence.

“We need to stand together as a unified voice,” Ms Rechichisaid.“Rates of domestic violence in western Sydney are alarmingly high.

“Holding the event on Valentine’s Day is significant as it highlights what a respectful relationship should look like.

“Statistics show that women and girls are more likely to be abused by partners than anyone else.”

The event was named in honour of the estimated one billion women around the world who will experience violence in their lifetime.

TAFE student and event organiser Daniel McCormick said the whole community was needed to end domestic violence.

“Now more than ever, we need men to be an active part of the solution,” he said.

“The stats don’t lie, violence against women is a men’s issue, and violence against women is often at the hands of men who say,‘I love you’.

“All of us men need to stand side by side with women and One Billion Rising is a great opportunity to do that.”

To be held at Blacktown’sWestern Sydney TAFE NirimbaCampus, the event was organised by WASH House and Outer West Domestic Violence Network.

Suburbs including Blacktown and Mount Druitt are among the worst in NSW for rates of household abuse.

There were more than 2000 recorded cases of domestic violence in the Blacktown area over the 12-month period ending September 2016, according to aNSW Bureau of Crime Statistics report.

More than 70 people women died as a result of domestic violence in Australia last year.

“We wanted to start in Blacktown because the main organisers are based in the area, but we plan to move it around western Sydney every year,” Ms Rechichi said.

One Billion Rising Western Sydney will be held on Tuesday, February 14 at Western Sydney TAFE Nirimba Campus, from 11amto 1.30pm.

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