Students led up to 400 people in a demonstration against violence today in Bendigo.
Participants walked from Sidney Myer Place along Pall Mall and through Rosalind Park, showing their support for a future in which people of all genders were equal and were treated with respect.
By standing together, students were hopeful of advancing a step closer to a future free from gender-based violence.
Community's call to act
The next generation of leaders was in the spotlight as Bendigo called for an end to gender-based violence.
Marist College students headed up Bendigo Walks Against Family Violence this year, carrying a new banner pupils designed as part of a project with the Greater Bendigo Against Family Violence Committee.
"I feel like more people will be aware of the situation, of what's been happening, and they'll hopefully do something to make a change," Marist College student Ava Francis said.
Fifty women have been killed so far this year in Australia - more than one a week.
Hundreds of thousands more women are living with violence and abuse.
"People don't deserve to be treated like this. They need to be treated equally," Marist College's Jordyn Demeo said.
The walk formed part of the Greater Bendigo Against Family Violence Community Action Showcase.
Bendigo Health chief executive Peter Faulkner was among the speakers at this year's event.
He made an emotional address, reflecting on both his professional and personal experiences.
"Four years ago this month my sister lost her daughter to violence from her intimate partner," Mr Faulkner said.
"I know personally how devastating it is, how devastating it can be and I wouldn't wish it on anybody."
He said it was great to be part of a movement with so many communities, people and generations represented in saying no to family violence.
"I'm certainly one of those voices," he said.
The Community Action Showcase coincides with the 16 Days of Activism Against Gender-based Violence, a global movement calling for an end to violence against women and girls.
Greater Bendigo Against Family Violence Committee chair, Sergeant Margaret Singe urged people living with violence to seek help.
"If it is happening to you, you need to report it. Whether it's you as a victim or you know someone in that situation," she said.
She said people could make a report directly to police, or seek help from specialist agencies.
"It's about them being safe," Sergeant Singe said.
Event encourages respect
The Greater Bendigo Against Family Violence Committee has again celebrated culture as part of its Community Action Showcase.
A performance by traditional owners and women from culturally and linguistically diverse backgrounds featured in this year's event.
The showcase opened with a smoking ceremony and a Welcome to Country by Dja Dja Wurrung Clans Aboriginal Corporation's Trent Nelson.
Mr Nelson spoke about the importance of women in Aboriginal culture and communities.
The showcase also provided opportunities for people to learn more about Karen culture and language.
"The community event provides an opportunity for community to come together, hear of the good work already being done, lend their support to the Walk Against Family Violence and pick up some useful information from the service providers," Sergeant Singe said.
For help with sexual assault, domestic and family violence, contact 1800 RESPECT on 1800 737 732.
In an emergency, call 000.
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