Wellington Scoop
Network

PHOTOS: March on Parliament protests against domestic and sexual violence

march sept 15
Photo: The Egonomist

Scoop report by Elizabeth Beattie
Hundreds of protesters marched down Lambton Quay to Parliament today calling for an end to domestic violence, wearing white facemasks, waving banners and calling for “safety” for the women and children of New Zealand.

Guest Shakti speaker Wendy Vyas discussed her experience of domestic violence, which resulted in hospitalization, at the hands of her ex-husband. “We don’t want to be invisible anymore, this needs to end here and now” she said.

A reoccurring theme amongst many of the speakers was a concern that the government hadn’t made domestic violence, child abuse, and sexual abuse a priority.

A guest speaker from The Pacific Island Safety and Prevention Project said that kiwi men need to “stand up as men to end violence against women”.

eliz
Photo: Elizabeth Beattie

Several Members of Parliament spoke to the crowd, including Hekia Parata whose promotion of the National Party’s crime and fiscal policies was drowned out by booing.

Green Party Co-leader Metiria Turei was met with applause as she called for a change in government saying the solution lay in “this National Government being voted out”.

Other speakers included Maori Party Candidate Marama Fox and Labour MP Carol Beaumont.

News from Women’s Refuge
Several social service providers from across New Zealand came together to organise a march on Parliament today, to call for an end to the epidemic level of domestic and sexual violence in New Zealand.

Several hundred people joined the march which left at noon from Civic Square in time to meet politicians on Parliament’s steps just before 12.45pm.

Women’s Refuge, Te Ohaakii a Hine-National Network Ending Sexual Violence Together, Shakti, Relationships Aotearoa, The Pacific Islands Safety and Prevention Project, National Network of Stopping Violence Services and the Aotearoa New Zealand Association of Supervised Contact Services joined together to organise the march because they see the profound social and economic impact of sexual and domestic violence in their daily work and believe it’s time to act now.

kate s
Photo: Jolisa Gracewood

As part of the march we are ‘bringing’ Kate Sheppard once again to the steps of Parliament. Her image has been recreated over the past two months using the signatures of hundreds of New Zealanders who want to take united action against violence. We have asked the Prime Minister to accept our call for action as well as our gift of Kate’s image to symbolise the on-going advancement of women’s rights in New Zealand, which must include ending domestic and sexual violence.

Statistics

-More than half of all reported violent crime in New Zealand is family violence
-Police estimate only 18% of domestic violence incidents are reported
– On average 14 women, six men and 10 children are killed by a member of their family every year
-Up to one in five women will experience sexual assault as an adult
-One in three girls will be subject to an unwanted sexual experience by the age of 16 years
-In the United Nations Report on the Status of Women published in 2011, New Zealand was ranked worst of all OECD countries in rates of sexual violence

News from NZ Labour Party
The National Party is so embarrassed about its failure to address the high level of violence against our women and children, it has refused to accept a statue of Kate Sheppard from the Women’s Refuge, Labour’s Women’s Affairs spokesperson Carol Beaumont says.

“Labour will stand with the Women’s Refuge when they march on Parliament today.

“Last Wednesday the Government was happy to receive the glass suffragette but just two days later Speaker David Carter said it was no longer welcome.

“It is highly ironic National is refusing the statue which was created to raise awareness of domestic violence and women’s issues.

“A Labour Government will take decisive and far-reaching action to address violence against our women and children.

“Labour will adopt an Action Plan to Eliminate Violence Against Women and Children.

“We also will provide $60 million over four years for family and sexual violence to support front-line services, primary prevention and education.

“Labour will reform the justice system to provide real justice to survivors while upholding the right to be presumed innocent. And we will review prosecution guidelines and the operation of protection orders.

“A Labour Government will ensure there is a unified effort across government agencies and NGOs towards addressing violence against our women and children. That’s why our action plan will be led from within the Department of Prime Minister and Cabinet.

“Labour takes this issue of domestic and sexual violence seriously. We won’t run and hide from it,” Carol Beaumont says.