It All Started With One Voice #WomensMarch4Justice
It was an event that left Civic Park speechless as sexual assault survivors voiced their horrific tales of horror. Laura Rumbel speaks to women’s rights advocate Molly Lancett.
(Content Warning: The following article discusses sexual assault, violence against women, and suicide. If this brings up any issues for you, you can contact any of the helplines included at the bottom of the article.)
The 22nd of March marked what some would consider to be the most influential event to have occurred in 2021 thus far. On this particular Monday in March, thousands of women gathered across the nation to attend the #WomensMarch4Justice. Not only did the March for Justice spark empowerment for women who attended on the day but also spread to the platforms of social media where thousands of women came forward with their truths of being victims of sexual assault and harassment.
One of the many #WomensMarch4Justice took place at Newcastle’s Civic Park which saw hundreds of women attend holding bold signs reading statements such as ‘Enough’ and ‘Stop Protecting Predators.’ The sexual assault movement which has been occurring throughout the nation and across the globe welcomed survivors of sexual assault to speak their truth in an environment that was nothing less than supportive. It is because of public events such as the #WomensMarch4Justice that these women are free to have their voice heard, with 35 per cent of reported sexual assaults remaining unsolved.
I reflected on the recent sexual assault movement with UON Criminology and Law Student Molly Lancett. When asked what her thoughts were on the #WomensMarch4Justice Molly responded with, “I believe this is an amazing start to raising awareness on the rape culture within Newcastle. It shows that these offenders are our friends, our family and not always the stereotypical creepy guy down the street, and I think that’s an extremely important message to get across.”
This led to the discussion of how today’s society can reduce the amount of sexual assaults occurring in the community, in which both Molly and myself agreed that the first step to working towards the injustice is educating both women and men on sexual assault. It is an astonishing total of 1 in 6 women and 1 in 25 men that have experienced at least 1 sexual assault since the age of 15.
This statistic in itself is an outcry for the need for urgent change. In response to this staggering statistic Molly reflected that, “the misogynistic attitudes need to be wiped in the next generation, and that starts with a stronger education of the issue in schools.” Unfortunately, with recent allegations of sexual assault coming to light in Australia’s own Parliament, it seems that the sexual assault culture is deeply rooted within the Australian government.
As a proud advocate for women’s rights, Molly and UON’s Criminology and Criminal Justice society have created a blog that will reflect on numerous social injustices. Molly’s first blog post was uploaded on the 20th of this month/last month (depending on when it’s posted) and explores the inequality that women and non-binary people face on a daily basis.
As for achieving justice for women who have been victimised by sexual assault, the #WomensMarch4Justice is just the beginning of the conversation!
If this post brings up any issues for you, or if you just feel like you need to speak to someone, please call 1800 RESPECT (1800 737 732) – the national sexual assault, domestic and family violence counselling service. It doesn’t matter where you live, they will take your call and can refer you to a service closer to home. This service is completely free.
Feature Image by Michelle Ding on Unsplash, no changes made.