Walk Against Coercive Control

Service Clubs and Government unite in Rotary and Zonta Walk against Coercive Control 

Joy and I were proud to walk along King William Street with men and women of all ages wearing purple and/or orange in support of action against coercive control. Encouraged by a man in orange, we shouted “Zonta Says No to Violence” as we walked. When we reached the Pioneer Women’s Memorial Gardens, we were joined by a huge crowd comprising more Zontians, many Rotarians, Embolden, Zahra Foundation, Soroptimists and members of other women’s groups. Passionate speeches were given by Minister for Child Protection and Family Violence Katrine Hildyard MP, Shadow Minister for Women Michelle Lensink MP, District Governor of Rotary Craig Dowling, Area Director of Zonta District 23 Lesley Siegloff, Deirdre Flynn of Catherine House, Chelsey Potter of Uniting Communities, Mary Leaker General Manager of Embolden and the well-known co-founder of Zahra, Arman Abrahimzadeh. 

Minister Katrine Hildyard said that the Government will introduce laws against coercive control. Shadow Minister Michelle Lensink expressed her sadness that so many tragedies still occur despite many government support programs over the years and the extensive work and advocacy of women’s organisations. She pointed out that, historically, change has never occurred without the support of men and paid tribute to those men in attendance. Mary Leaker made the point that those who do nothing to call out domestic violence are complicit. There is a need for whole community action and awareness and we all need to be more vocal in our neighbourhoods and homes. There was a reminder of the campaign and need for a royal commission into the surge of incidents in SA. 

Events such as this make us realise that the work we do is so worthwhile. It was encouraging to feel an atmosphere of collaboration among all the stakeholders, instead of groups working in silos. I was particularly happy to see the current and former Ministers for Prevention of Domestic Violence, Katrine and Michelle, hugging and linking arms, a sign that this important issue need not become a political football. We walked and Lesley Siegloff talked and we all raised awareness of the urgent need for action.