There was a powerful cry of ‘no’ just after the halftime buzzer at the Newcastle Knights match on Saturday.
The declaration had nothing to do with the game, but was a clear message from the Hunter community that domestic violence needs to end.
Thousands of Knights supporters stood against domestic and family violence during a symbolic halftime march.
Volunteers and supporters from Hunter charity Got Your Back Sista stormed onto the field wearing ‘Say No’ shirts and demanding attention from the crowd.
The message was met with support as the crowd joined in by holding signs that said ‘No’ to domestic violence and ‘Yes’ to ending the silence.
“We have 400 people on the field to stand against domestic violence, it is just amazing,” Founding CEO of Got Your Back Sista, Melissa Histon, said.
“Domestic violence is such a big issue in our community, in all communities.
“Today is about having the conversation, letting people that may be offenders know that what they are doing is not okay, but also encourage people who may be experiencing domestic violence to reach out and ask for help.”
Close to 10,000 banners were handed out prior to the game. The charity’s partnership with the Knights not only put the ‘say no’ message in front of a large crowd, but also targeted a cross section of the community.
“Domestic violence is an issue across all sections of society,” Ms Histon said.
“It doesn’t matter if you’re young or old, rich or poor, or what suburb you live in.
“So to come to a game that is representative of our community, is really powerful.”
Leanne Poole was one of the many volunteers handing out banners and greeting crowds before the match.
She has spent the last five years working with Got Your Back Sista, but said moments like the weekend’s march onto the field were what made her proud to be part of the local community.
“I love being a part of it,” she said.
“What I really like is the support from everybody. Newcastle is amazing and the support that you get for the charity is amazing.”
Got Your Back Sista was established in 2016 and works in collaboration with local refuges and services to provide women with vouchers and store credits to purchase essential items as part of the establishment of a new and safe home for themselves and their children.
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