This year marked the 116th anniversary of Australian women being granted the right to vote in national elections, and yet many fear that females in the 21st century have less freedom than those before.
BY BETHAN SMOLENIEC
That although Australia prides itself on being a progressive and modern society where citizens are equal and have fair access to opportunities, in reality women and children are increasingly finding themselves living in fear and worried for their safety.
Domestic violence and its increased prevalence in Australia in particular, has many women and men concerned and asking themselves how society culturally has allowed for it to occur.
The Australian Bureau of Statistics 2012 Personal Safety Survey revealed that in Australia 1 in every 3 women have experienced physical violence since the age of 15 and 1 in 5 women has been physically or sexually abused by an intimate partner.
The Central West, in particular Bathurst is not exempt from the rising number of domestic violence related incidents, with over 261 cases having occurred in the period between April 2017 and March 2018.
The need to address the issue of domestic violence and actively try to help those who have or are experiencing it is something that 21-year-old, Bathurst singer-songwriter, Gabbi Bolt, is particularly passionate about.
As a young woman, she has grown tired of hearing about women being abused in the media and wanted to use her musical talents to raise both awareness about domestic violence and money for charities that support those who have been impacted by it.
“I just got fed up with how the attitude isn’t changing. We can talk about what to give somebody down the street to protect, but a flame thrower in my pocket isn’t going to help me when there is a generation of people who believe that we are inferior or deserve less”, said Gabbi Bolt.
On the 11th of July, Ms Bolt called upon women and children from the Central West to join her in singing and recording her song, “Girls Eyes”, at Bathurst Music and Entertainment Centre.
The recording, which is Ms Bolt’s debut single, is going to be sold to raise money for both Rape and Domestic Services Australia and Bathurst’s Women and Children’s refuge, which offers emergency shelter for members of the community that are not safe in their own homes because of domestic violence.
The initiative was warmly welcomed by members of the Bathurst community, such as retired school teacher Mary Smith, who like Ms Bolt, is concerned about societies attitudes towards women and their lack of improvement.
“I think that conditions are deteriorating for women in this day in age, in terms of safety and their freedom and I just think the more voices are out there, the better it is”, she said.
Ms Bolt has been overwhelmed by the responses she has received both locally and nationally and is hopeful that by starting the conversation and raising money she will be able to help those woman and children in need.
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Main image: Bathurst women and children singing Gabbi Bolt’s song “Girls Eyes” PHOTO: Gabbi Bolt Music