One of 14 women who were sexually assaulted by Albury masseur Xiawen Shen has become the driving force behind a new community march and campaign against violence.
Albury’s Judy Langridge is part of a committee behind the ‘Step Out Against Violence’ campaign, coinciding with 16 days of activism in November.
The mum and part-time disability worker said the rallying of women to help put Shen behind bars had “reignited her fire” for social action against violence.
“When the detectives called for more women, I wrestled with that for a couple days – then I thought I needed to speak out to support the wonderful, brave woman who originally came forward,” Mrs Langridge said.
“I think it’s amazing women are starting to be more empowered and speak out.
“I went to the wonderful workers at Albury Sexual Assault (Service) with a proposal for a public march against violence, and they were happy to get on board.
“We have an incredible committee of local workers and it looks like it’s going to be quite a big event, which I hope will be yearly.”
Step Out Albury-Wodonga will begin with a community march through Dean Street on Saturday, November 25.
A family-friendly event including activities and entertainment will continue at QEII square into the evening.
Albury Community Health Sexual Assault Service co-ordinator Kelley Latta said this day, sponsored by the Rotary Club of Albury, would launch 16 days of activism against gender-based violence.
“We know that the prevalence (of gender-based violence) is really high and I think what’s happening through Hollywood at the moment, is we’re seeing people breaking silence and they’re really connecting,” she said.
“Women are more predominantly affected, but there’s also men in the community who area really struggling with some of these issues.
“We’d really like this conversation to stay current and for people to come out on November 25 and march.”
Mrs Langridge, who has also experienced domestic violence, said the idea was to empower survivors and acknowledge the men and women “fighting everyday against violence”.
“I hope everybody in the community will get out, show support, recognise all those who have lost their lives and to also celebrate the changes we’ve made over the last 20 years since my original contact with the police,” she said.
The committee want anyone who thinks they could be involved to get in touch via email, firstname.lastname@example.org, or on their Facebook page, ‘Step Out Against Violence Albury Wodonga’.