JUST as many men as women rallied at Hovell Tree Park last night to pledge their commitment to stop rape and violence against women.
Padma Ayyagari was happy with the turnout of 30 after organising a last-minute event in Albury as part of One Billion Rising, a global dance protest.
“I wanted to do something local, it’s about women and empowering ourselves,” she said.
Dance was a big part of the protest, with residents asked to dance to the campaign’s theme song Break the Chain.
Ms Ayyagari said the dancing was a peaceful, artful and creative way of saying “enough is enough”.
“We have gathered here today because we have heard a call,” she told those who attended.
“The call is to strike, dance and rise, to demand to put an end to violence against women.”
Ms Ayyagari said UN statistics showed one in three women are beaten, raped, abused and tortured.
“Violence against women is one of the world’s most pervasive human rights abuse,” she said.
“There are countries in the world where victims of abuse are treated and judged as perpetrators of crime and punished, while the perpetrators get away, often scot-free.
“All we need to do is open our newspapers and watch news channels and not a day goes by without reading of incidents of violence against women.”
Wodonga resident Kylie Virtue heard about the global protest and hoped there would be something organised locally.
She said Australia’s court system was failing rape victims.
“In the family magistrate’s court a woman can be cross-examined by her perpetrator acting as a self-represented litigant,” she said.
“The system is allowing men to get back that power and a lot of people are unaware that can happen.”
Mrs Virtue said it was great to see so many men supporting the cause.
“It would be good to see this grow into a strong event run locally each year,” she said.