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.1621698_10152355453472985_1456350493_n 1620815_10152355453952985_254958832_n 1662183_10152355454537985_490035219_n 1016572_10152355455077985_1554161792_n 1625604_10152355455552985_1689187692_n 1451374_10152355456082985_404806518_n 1780863_10152355456572985_992881516_n 1653847_10152355457297985_1441240282_n 1622167_10152355457667985_1485866408_n 1796503_10152355458122985_814603938_n 1014379_10152355458662985_1607651234_n 1618681_10152355459102985_1031130429_n 1925331_10152355459412985_1030078303_n 1654335_10152355459812985_1820159087_n 1798676_10152355460677985_1190966171_n 1604804_10152355461037985_563265563_n 1781983_10152355461397985_1082003174_n 1904119_10152355461592985_919943105_n 1607068_10152355462097985_89878716_n 1904076_10152355462557985_787790052_n 1385005_10152355463212985_1098417487_n