October 27, 2023
The instruction went out on Thursday night … make as much noise as you like!
Then the chanting began: “We reclaim the right, to walk the streets at night!” And then enthusiastic drumming, by students from St Mary’s Catholic College.
Hopefully one day, Reclaim The Night marches won’t be necessary, but the horrific statistics about sexual assaults shared by speakers on Thursday night mean it won’t be any time soon.
One in five women aged over 15 have experienced sexual violence … but, as the speakers emphasised, men and boys are often victims, too.
Erin Jeffs, from Laurel Place, said everyone has the right to be safe and feel safe.
She encouraged the marchers “to make some noise” about sexual violence.
Laurel Place provides help, counselling and advice for women, children and teenagers (including boys up to 18 years) who have experienced sexual assault.
A Q&A section from the stage covered how and where to get help and what to expect if you report sexual violence to police.
Pre-recorded audio messages from sexual assault survivors, expressing hope and resilience, were played to the crowd.
Trauma counsellors were also on hand in a “quiet space” if anyone wanted support.
“Reclaim The Night” marches were revived in Kingaroy several years ago as part of Sexual Violence Awareness Month.
This year, for the first time, a satellite event was also held at QEII Park in Murgon, featuring guest speakers and artworks.
Art displays are also being projected on to the side of the Kingaroy peanut silos as part of this month’s activities.
- The national sexual violence helpline can be contacted 24/7 on 1800 Respect (1800-737-732)