Hundreds take part in the 2021 White Ribbon Day in Bunbury

The 'white ribbon': Hundreds of supporters carried the ribbon from the Bunbury Regional Art Gallery through to ANZAC Park. Photo: Pip Waller.
The 'white ribbon': Hundreds of supporters carried the ribbon from the Bunbury Regional Art Gallery through to ANZAC Park. Photo: Pip Waller.

BUNBURY came to a stand still today as hundreds of marchers took to the street to stand up and speak out on violence against women.

Carrying a giant, white ribbon, the marchers walked in silence from the Bunbury Regional Art Gallery to ANZAC Park.

The march was held in support of the men and boys who are working together to end male violence against women and girls.

Bunbury White Ribbon Day committee member Cliff Reeve was the master of ceremonies of the community services at the park.

To a crowd mixed with both men and women, Mr Reeve said it was important as a community to educate young men and women that domestic violence is not acceptable.

"Our strong focus is on how men can make change, and we know that to end violence against women we have to engage broader society," Mr Reeve said.

"We are here today because we believe every single woman should be free from harm and discrimination and that men can change.

"While not all men are the problem, every man can be a part of the solution."

'See something, say something': Event goers Rhiannon Godberr, Sharnee Hibble, Miranda Gaunt and Jayde Dawson. Photo: Pip Waller.

'See something, say something': Event goers Rhiannon Godberr, Sharnee Hibble, Miranda Gaunt and Jayde Dawson. Photo: Pip Waller.

According to the Australian Institute of Health and Welfare, by the age of 15, one in six women have experienced physical or sexual violence by a current of previous partner and one in four have been exposed to emotional abuse.

South Regional TAFE students Rhiannon Godberr, Sharnee Hibble, Miranda Gaunt and Jayden Dawson, who are all studying a Certificate IIII in Community Services, attended the event.

Both Sharnee and Miranda are survivors of domestic violence.

"My last domestic violence fight with him actually ended up with him dying, so this event is quite big for me," Ms Gaunt said.

"I'm a bit triggered today but I'm doing a lot better now that I'm free from violence."

As a survivor, Ms Gaunt had the following message for the community.

"Just speak up, especially when you might see a man not doing the right thing.

While not all men are the problem, every man can be a part of the solution."

Bunbury White Ribbon Day committee member Cliff Reeve

"It doesn't matter if you feel awkward about it or it ruins your friendship, you need to speak up because it's so important, people are dying and children are getting hurt.

"Domestic violence impacts someone's whole life."

The ceremony included multiple guest speakers including Western Australian Police, and South West Family Violence Team officer in charge sergeant Don McLean, who gave a very powerful talk on the signs of domestic violence.

Not just physical signs: Sergeant Don McLean used a door to list signs of domestic abuse, in line with coercive control. The door symbolises not 'shutting the door' on these issues.

Not just physical signs: Sergeant Don McLean used a door to list signs of domestic abuse, in line with coercive control. The door symbolises not 'shutting the door' on these issues.

Using a door as a visual tool, Sgt. McLean listed other signs of violence in additional to physical abuse.

These included intimidation, emotional and financial abuse and isolation.

The crowd were then invited to pause for a minute of silence "for those who suffered, continue to suffer, or who unfortunately didn't make it".

They were then invited to lay a wreath of rosemary at the park as a symbol of hope for the future.

Bunnings Warehouse in Bunbury, Bunbury Zonta Club and the Salvation Army were only a handful of businesses supporting the White Ribbon Day event.

If you are in need of help, contact 1800 RESPECT or Lifeline on 13 11 14.