One Billion Rising Lake Macquarie and Newcastle event will stand up to domestic violence

Starting conversations: Rachel Bond,with Marilyn Anderson in wings and Luisa Perez in red, helped steer the event. Picture: Jonathan Carroll
Starting conversations: Rachel Bond,with Marilyn Anderson in wings and Luisa Perez in red, helped steer the event. Picture: Jonathan Carroll

RACHEL Bond is aware the link between dancing and standing up to domestic violence can seem “abstract”.

“But it’s a very powerful form of protest,” she said.

“I think for women who have suffered violence it can have a long term impact on how you feel in your body and in yourself.

“But dancing - especially with other people - can fill you with joy and happiness and create a positive energy to share with one another.”

Ms Bond is the co-founder and on the team of volunteers organising the One Billion Rising Lake Macquarie and Newcastle event, to be held at Speers Point Park on Sunday February 11.

One Billion Rising started in 2012 in the USA and was named in reference to the United Nations statistic that one in three women – or around one billion – will be raped or beaten in her life.

“One billion women abused is an atrocity, but one billion people rising to demand an end to the violence is the beginning of a revolution.”

The annual event includes a choreographed dance to a song called Break The Chain.

“It’s part of the revolution, being able to emerge from trauma and abuse and say ‘I’m not going to let that impact me for the rest of my life, this is my body and I will find joy and pleasure in it’.

“I support initiatives like Reclaim the Night, but this fills a different gap and is a different vibe.

“It’s not to take away from the seriousness of the issue, but this is about inhabiting your body to feel joyful, safe and part of the community.

“Knowing people are doing this dance all over the world from small villages to big cities to say enough is enough is very powerful and moving.”

The event starts at 2.30pm and includes the Hunter Shimmy Sisters, Western Lake Macquarie Concert Band, and Earthen Rhythms. Proceeds from a barbecue will go to domestic violence refuges.

Ms Bond said the flash mob of dancers will perform around 4pm, before community members are invited to join a public free-form dance. Men are welcome, but asked to dance at the back.

“Change is possible,” she said. “If you’re in an unhealthy relationship, there is help out there.”

For help: 1800 RESPECT