“Stop the violence, break the silence!” The issue of Gendered Violence was discussed by a panel of diverse and influential women, which provided a platform to share personal stories and experiences to explore strategies towards ending violence against women and attitudes of victim-blaming.

Phillipa Nagy and Malaina Lo (Western Sydney Community Forum Interns) attended the panel discussion about Gendered Violence on 12 October 2016 at the University of Technology (UTS) Sydney, Ultimo. This event was hosted by students of the UTS and included a panel of diverse women: Jenny Munro (Wiradjuri Elder), Subeta Vimalarajah (Journalist and Human Rights Activist) and Andrea Zephyr (Transgender woman).

Reclaim the Night was an empowering event that facilitated a forum for raw, personal experiences to be shared in a safe space. Practical strategies were discussed, which included the perspectives of women who had experienced gendered violence and victim blaming attitudes. The take away messages of the event were as follows:

Do not take ‘no’ for an answer and challenge the forms of patriarchy that continue to oppress women in society – Jenny Munro.

Acknowledge the intersectionality of feminism, and the presence of male allies – Subeta Vimalarajah.

Stop the practice of victim blaming and challenge cultural norms. Abortion (decided by a transgendered person) is a ‘reproductive right not a gendered right.’ – Andrea Zephyr.

The Q&A session that wrapped up the discussion highlighted that Australia is leading in the movement with employment legislation permitting paid leave due to domestic violence.

Attendees of the event were provided the opportunity to donate to the cause and a total amount of $523.80 was raised. To conclude the night, a photograph was taken to capture the collective action required to challenge and fight against a patriarchial society.

For more information, please visit the Reclaim the Night Facebook page via the link provided: https://www.facebook.com/ReclaimTheNightSydney