Byron Bay, Australia’s easternmost point, came out to speak with one voice to oppose violence against women and girls in all forms at Main Beach in a Valentine’s Day action at 7.30am on Saturday.
Women, children and their male supporters sang, danced and prayed for the end to gender-based violence which the UN has declared as the most urgent issue facing humans.
The statistics are staggering. According to UN figures, up to 70% of women experience violence in their lifetime; close to 2 million people are trafficked annually into situations including prostitution, forced labour, slavery or servitude, with women and girls accounting for about 80 per cent of the detected victims; and more than 130 million girls and women alive today have undergone female genital mutilation. Further, one in seven girls become child brides before their 15th birthday. And rape is an ever-present reality for all women.
The Byron Bay action was part of a global campaign to ‘rise up and dance’ against gender-based violence. It’s time to come together, speak up and ‘break the chain’ of violence against women.