Phoenix House employees Katrina Holz, Deborah Cheung, Serena Kemsley and Sally Banks encourage everyone to participate in the upcoming Reclaim the Night event.
Phoenix House employees Katrina Holz, Deborah Cheung, Serena Kemsley and Sally Banks encourage everyone to participate in the upcoming Reclaim the Night event. Max Fleet

Rally against sexual violence

BUNDABERG women are being urged take a stand against sexual violence and Reclaim the Night on Friday.

The candle-lit walk through the CBD has been organised by Phoenix House as a part of sexual violence awareness month.

Phoenix House spokeswoman Serena Kemsley said the message of the night had not changed since it began in England in the mid-1970s.

“Some ladies in the mid-1970s were getting raped in Birmingham and the police’s idea for their safety was for them to stay home,” she said.

“The ladies in Birmingham thought they had the right to stay out at night, so they staged a rally.

“The women believed that rapes should be addressed as being acts of violence by men against women, not through women becoming prisoners in their own homes.”

Phoenix House has collected statistics from 1000 women they have counselled for sexual abuse.

Of those women, 917 had suffered childhood sexual abuse, 304 had experienced recent rape or sexual assault and 88 had experienced other sexual crimes such as harassment.

At the Bundaberg march, Ms Kemsley said she hoped to see between 50 and 100 people supporting the cause.

“You don’t have to bring anything but yourself.

"We will provide the candles and everything for the march,” she said.

The rally will start at the pavilion in the CBD and move along Bourbong Street and circle back to the pavilion.

After the march, there will be a short ceremony with a number of guest speakers.

A banner signed by community members showing their support for stopping sexual violence will be carried at the rally.

“The idea behind the banner signing is to get the community involved and raise awareness that it is happening,” she said.

People can sign the banner in the CBD pavilion between noon and 5pm tomorrow.

Reclaim the night

When: Friday from 6pm

Where: CBD Pavilion, Bourbong Street

What: Candle-lit walk to raise awareness and stop sexual violence

For more information call Phoenix House on 4153 4299



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