Dancing protest draws focus on violence

LAIRD HARPER AND KIRSTY MCMURRAY
Last updated 05:00 15/02/2013

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Dozens of Taranaki women and men joined in a global protest and dance yesterday to show that violence against women will not be tolerated.

Sparked by the revelation that one woman in three worldwide is exposed to violence in their lifetime, the One Billion Rising movement hopes to get people from 140 countries out of their comfort zone and talking about breaking the cycle of abuse.

From noon, speakers shared their stories and experiences, music played and those attending joined together to dance in New Plymouth and Hawera.

New Plymouth's One Billion Rising event organiser Pallak Manan said she was thrilled with the 75 people who gathered at the New Plymouth Club to support the movement.

"It's brilliant. I also didn't expect there would be this many men, but there's a whole table," she said.

The four speakers who talked to the crowd included a victim of violence whose story moved some of the audience to tears, and Detective Sergeant David Beattie, New Plymouth's family violence co-ordinator.

He said the 540 family violence offences committed against women in New Plymouth in a year was only the 20 per cent that were reported.

"That means there is 2700 victims in New Plymouth a year."

The crowd was entertained by live music between each speaker, and there was dancing and a dove release scheduled to end the event.

In the south, a dozen people danced to empowering songs and listened to poetry while they collected close to 100 signatures of support.

Organiser Pip Harrison said it was about uplifting women and letting them know they were not alone.

Mrs Harrison said although it was a fun way to protest, it shouldn't detract from the powerful message they were trying to get across.

"Some people dancing today will do so at the risk of their lives but still they dance in solidarity to change the world. And so do we."

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- Taranaki Daily News

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