Women's group leads way in walk against violence

SASHA BORISSENKO
Last updated 13:00 28/11/2013

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Soroptimist International of Nelson and Waimea, in conjunction with Te Rito Nelson, will pound the pavement - rain or shine - in a bid to raise awareness against family violence.

The Walk the Talk campaign advocates zero tolerance, zero violence and zero victims of family violence and the public is invited to walk from 1903 Square to the Tahunanui playgrounds via Haven Rd this Saturday at 10am.

Waimea Soroptimist member Helen Bywater said everyone was welcome to join the walk and the event was primarily focused on raising the profile in the media and community.

It was such a great cause and people would be able to get a bit of exercise and enjoy a sausage at the end of it, she said.

Nelson Soroptimist president Rachael Taylor said the community had a responsibility to get out there and say violence was not OK.

"I have an 11-year-old daughter and it is so important to protect the new generation."

The organisation wanted to offer services so they could advocate those who did not have the ability to represent themselves, she said.

Nelson member and past president Joy Oakly said she was excited to collaborate with multiple organisations to target family violence.

Nelson had a high rate of domestic violence, she said.

Recent events highlighting New Zealand's rape culture had raised the issue of violence across the board, she said.

Sex Abuse, Support and Healing (SASH-Nelson) service co-ordinator Sarah-Jane Macmillan said crisis centres around New Zealand had had enough of the current rape culture.

Victim blaming was very prevalent in New Zealand, she said.

"You see defence lawyers saying ‘Oh she could have closed her legs if she did not want sex' or headlines saying ‘A sex attack victim forgot to lock her door' - it's just not OK," she said.

A victim-centric focus distracted from the real issue, that perpetrators should not be sexually abusing people, she said.

Ms Macmillan could not understand why the "roast busters" perpetrators were being profiled in the media.

"You see pictures of these two young guys and it is just glorifying and sensationalising what they have done.

"Instead, we should be documenting the great protests that have been staged across the country.

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- © Fairfax NZ News

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