Territory women will march against violence

L-R: Marlene Hayes, Shirleen Campbell, Sadie Richards, Helen Gillen and Louise Abbott - members of the Tangentyere Women's Family Safety Group.

Aboriginal women from town camps in Alice Springs are taking to the streets over domestic violence in a move they hope will be a catalyst for change around Australia.

“Too many women continue to be hurt and killed and we are sick of it,” said Shirleen Campbell, one of the movement’s organisers and a resident of Hoppy’s Camp.

Ms Campbell, coordinator of the Tangentyere Women’s Family Safety Group, said members were frustrated by the increasing invisibility of Aboriginal women and by the rate of domestic violence in the Northern Territory.

She said Aboriginal women from town camps wanted to be heard and wanted healthy and vibrant communities.

She said she hoped people from Alice Springs and surrounding town camps would turn out for a women’s action march on July 11.

“By having this march we’re saying enough is enough and we’re sick of it,” Ms Campbell said.

“We’re hoping we can show the country that there are things that can be done and we can all step in and work together and get things going.

“Stopping that violence, it’s like opening our windows and doors and letting the violence out and letting that healthy clean vibrant energy inside our homes.”

Ms Campbell said in the last two years, domestic violence had been particularly prevalent.

“That’s when I’ve started raising the women’s committee and I’ve seen a lot of violence and domestic violence and I’m like yep, I’ve got kids to look after and I’ve also got elders I need to learn my guidance and knowledge from and I don’t want them to take that away from me because we need to keep that strong in our kids,” she said.

Ms Campbell said the TWFSG has been working to combat and prevent family and domestic violence.

“I know this group of strong women has done and will keep doing some great work but we are frustrated by the continued violence and the way Aboriginal women victims are sometimes ignored, especially in the media,” she said.

“We decided to turn our frustration and sadness over recent violent incidents into something we hope will encourage the wider community to hear and support us.”

The women will march through Alice Springs to the courthouse lawns where they will plant flowers to represent the women who have been injured or have died from domestic violence. They will then march to Anzac Oval where support services will have information stands on display.

“We are asking Alice Springs and people all around Australia to stand with us women, support our voice and hear our stories,” Ms Campbell said.

Last year Northern Territory Police Commissioner Reece Kershaw said police officers had responded to a 75,000 cases of domestic violence in three years.

Northern Territory Coroner Greg Cavanagh has described the level of domestic violence in Aboriginal communities as “out of control”.

Wendy Caccetta

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