Geraldton march gives voice to ‘silent survivors’ of domestic and family violence

Michael RobertsGeraldton Guardian
About 100 people marched through Geraldton's CBD in a stand against domestic and family violence.
Camera IconAbout 100 people marched through Geraldton's CBD in a stand against domestic and family violence. Credit: Pictures: Michael Roberts

Close to 100 people gathered at Stow Gardens on Friday to give a voice to the silent survivors of domestic and family violence.

The theme of this year’s Walk Against Violence, Children Matter, shone a light on the boys and girls who are often left in the dark on what their family is going through.

A range of guest speakers gave impassioned speeches on the far-reaching effects of family and domestic violence before attendees marched through the Geraldton CBD in searing heat.

The mood was sombre as marchers held up signs pleading for an end to violence in the community.

The mood was sombre as marchers held up signs pleading for an end to violence in the community .
Camera IconThe mood was sombre as marchers held up signs pleading for an end to violence in the community . Credit: Michael Roberts/Geraldton Guardian/Michael Roberts/Geraldton Guardian

Onlookers clapped the peaceful march as it made its way along Foreshore Drive, through Marine Terrace and back towards the Multipurpose Centre.

Desert Blue Connect child sexual assault therapist Fortunate Mlambo said children blamed themselves for not being able to help loved ones.

“Children are experiencing the violence with all their senses,” she said.

“The child feels powerless.

“They always think it is their fault Mum and Dad are fighting.

“There is a loss of self-esteem and they lose their sense of belonging.

“Children become very angry and may turn into violent people themselves. We need to put ourselves in the child’s shoes.”

Flowers were laid to honour the eight Western Australians who lost their lives to domestic homicide in the last year.
Camera IconFlowers were laid to honour the eight Western Australians who lost their lives to domestic homicide in the last year. Credit: Michael Roberts/Geraldton Guardian

Before the walk a minute’s silence was held and eight flowers were laid on the ground to honour the eight West Australians who had lost their lives to domestic homicide in the past year.

The event was held during a Statewide 16-day campaign encouraging bystanders to speak up when they see violence or disrespect towards women.

Geraldton-based MLC Sandra Carr said ending domestic violence required a whole-of-community approach. “I am someone who has survived domestic violence,” she said.

“I do recognise that this has most certainly had an impact on my children and their mental health, who are both adults now.

“It’s something I carry a significant amount of guilt about.

“We have to work so hard as a community to identify language and behaviours which develop a general acceptance of violence or a silence around it. Safety and the prevention of violence is a whole-community responsibility.”

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