Survivors of domestic violence and representatives of 21 Border agencies filled Wodonga on Wednesday, joining their voices in saying ‘no’ to disrespectful and violent behaviour of all forms.
The Department of Justice, Border Trust, North East Water, and headspace members were among those marching.
The Bhutanese Australian Community Support Group for Albury-Wodonga was there, and chairman Tika Poudyel said the new group wanted to be part of action on such issues.
“We have been advocating community members, those living in a new country, to not keep family violence secret,” he said.
Junction Support Services co-ordinated the march and held an event in Junction Square.
Tim Wallis, who works with at-risk young people, shared the reflections of a former client of Junction's about the impact family violence.
“As a boy growing up, I saw and heard my parents fighting with each other, both verbally and physically,” he wrote.
“I thought this was normal behaviour between parents and while my siblings and I tried to stop the fighting, it often felt like there was nothing we could do to prevent it.
“When my parents divorced, I took it really hard. Didn’t our parents love us enough to make it work?
“Nobody seemed to love me enough to care for me from a young age; people would make promises to me and then break them; this led to me having trust issues.”
The former client described how feelings of abandonment and loneliness led to disengagement in school, escalating to drug use as a way ‘to escape’ and stints in juvenile detention.
“In terms of relationships with others, I haven’t had the ‘normal upbringing’ in terms of seeing how a man and woman treat each other with love and respect,” he wrote.
“I’ve never actually physically assaulted a woman, but I’ve spoken to them in a disrespectful manner by screaming at them, calling them disgusting names.
“Now I know that what I grew up with was family violence, and it’s not normal or how it’s supposed to be.”
On Thursday, the Wodonga Sports and Leisure Centre will be holding an event where staff, Wodonga Mayor Anna Speedie, Wodonga police and other community members will be cycling for 16 hours.
Organiser Nicole Roberts urged more participants to join.
“We wanted to do something different that aligned with what we do, so it seemed obvious to come up with something health and fitness-related.”
“We would love if people could book a time to come down for a cycle.”