WORDS: JAS RAWLINSON
On Thursday evening, a small group of Queenslanders could be seen coming together in Queens Park, gathering outside the steps of the Treasury Casino. Clothed mostly in black with roses cradled gently in their arms, the crowd stood in solidarity; quietly waiting in the fading light of the afternoon. Before too long, we heard the sound of footsteps growing in volume, as male and female members of Parliament walked in unity toward us. We were all there for a reason; we were there to make our voices heard. Enough is enough. No more victims of domestic violence. No more silence.
As we stood there together over the next two hours – men and women from every race, age and background – we came together as a community to honour those lost to domestic violence, to stand by those left behind, and to focus on change. One of the many highlights of the rally was when Premier Annastacia Palaszczuk announced that a second Family Violence Magistrates court would be provided in the Gold Coast, ensuring that ”every woman’s complaint” was able to be dealt with. “We must come together and do more,” she insisted.
Throughout the night a wonderfully diverse range of speakers shared about the far reaching effects of domestic violence. Women shared of losing their daughters and friends to former partners, men spoke of the changes that masculinity must undergo, violence within the queer and religious community was uncovered, and roses were laid in honour of those lost. Event organiser Betty Taylor read from a list the names of every QLD woman and man who had lost their life to intimate family violence, before we stood for a minute’s silence. It was incredible how still and quiet the city was on that night.
It was wonderful to see how impacted those in the crowd were; including those who interrupted their daily commute to see what was happening. When an older man approached to ask me what the rally was about, I was amazed to hear of his personal connection to the issue.
“Both my sister and my daughter have been through domestic violence,” he revealed. “People think it’s just about physical violence, but it’s more than that. It’s a man saying to his partner, ‘I don’t want you wearing that, I don’t want you seeing that person. I want you to stay at home.’ It’s bullying, it’s control…”
And he couldn’t have been more right. There was much to be learned throughout the night, and the rally was a peaceful yet powerful event demonstrating how much damage is done to our society, and how much needs to be done to change it.
One thing is clear however; we can no longer be silent about this.
Special thanks to Betty Taylor for her wonderful work in organising the event, as well as all those who were a part of the rally: