One hundred people came together on Friday evening, August 11 to raise awareness about one of Australia’s most invisible problems – domestic violence.
Organised by Lynda Alexander and Charlie Fenton, the Southern Highlands Domestic Violence Ball was held at the Briars conservatory, Burradoo and managed to raise $31,000.
They plan to contribute the funds raised at the sold-out event toward Highlands-based domestic violence services.
Ms Alexander said the idea for the ball came after she and Mr Fenton learned of the dire availability of services in the Highlands for women suffering domestic violence.
“I started meeting with the [Southern Highlands] Domestic Violence Forum earlier in the year to work out where the gaps were in terms of support,” she said.
“I was shocked to find out that there is no specifically-funded women’s refuge and that we are severely lacking health services for women in need.”
“It’s a huge problem that is not being addressed by our community, our schools, or our government.”
Speakers included MP for Goulburn Pru Goward and Caryn Walsh, psychologist and domestic violence expert.
Ms Walsh spoke on the night about the little-known prevalence of domestic violence in Australia and abroad, and her national support program Empowering Women to Thrive.
“There was a lot of support for Caryn and what she had to say,” said Ms Alexander. “Her local statistics shocked a lot of people in the audience.”
“As women, we are aware of what goes on and what gets covered up.”
“It’s not just lower socioeconomic groups that experience these problems. There are so many forms of DV.”
If this article has highlighted any issues for you and you would like support, you can call the National Domestic Violence hotline on 1800 799 7233 or 1800RESPECT.
As published in the Southern Highland News, August 2017.