Thousands of brightly coloured woollen squares will adorn Blacktown City throughout summer to raise awareness of domestic and family violence.
The ‘Knit bombing’ installations highlight the issue of family and domestic violence as part of the UN Women’s 16 Days of Activism Against Gender-Based Violence, a campaign to challenge violence against women and girls.
The annual international campaign began on 25 November, the International Day for the Elimination of Violence against Women, and runs until 10 December, Human Rights Day.
The global theme for 2020 is ‘Orange the World: Fund, Respond, Prevent, Collect!’.
Thousands of squares were knitted during monthly ‘yarn-in’ sessions – with extensive involvement from the Max Webber Knitting Group – with more than 60 women also registering to knit from home.
The vibrant pieces have been installed around Blacktown’s city centre, including in the Village Green, at the entrance to Max Webber Library and Council’s Civic Centre, in Bowman Hall, along Flushcombe Road, and at the Leo Kelly Blacktown Arts Centre, with plans for another installation at Dawson Mall in Mount Druitt.
Pillars, bench seats, bicycles, light poles, trees, and even a dog kennel have been wrapped with some of the thousands of squares collected for the project.
2020 is the second year Blacktown City has been ‘knit bombed’ as part of the campaign, spearheaded by Council’s Women’s Advisory Committee under the stewardship of Deputy Mayor Julie Griffiths.
Blacktown City Mayor, Tony Bleasdale OAM, said the ‘knit bombing’ was part of Council’s long-standing commitment to raising awareness of domestic and family violence.
“Domestic and family violence is one of the single greatest issues confronting our society, and we know it can affect anyone,” Mayor Bleasdale said.
“At Blacktown City Council we condemn this violence in the strongest possible terms.
“Blacktown City was the first Council in NSW to make paid domestic violence leave available to our staff as part of Council’s Family and Domestic Violence Policy.
“I pay tribute to the women who have come together over the last few months to create this wonderful display under the stewardship of Deputy Mayor Julie Griffiths.”
Cr Griffiths said the colourful campaign was an eye-catching way to draw attention to a very serious issue.
“In 2016, approximately 17 per cent of Australian women – 1.6 million – had experienced violence by a partner since the age of 15,” Cr Griffiths said.
“And in the 2 years to June, in NSW alone there were more than 62,000 reported incidents of domestic assault.
“Blacktown City accounted for almost 4,500 of these incidents – that is just over 42 each week.
“This is a tragedy, and we will not stand idly by.
“I thank all the women who knitted these beautiful squares which, sewn together and hung around our City, send an important message to all who live, work, and visit our great City.”
The ‘knit bombing’ installation will be officially launched on 3 December, 2020, in the Village Green.
The woollen squares will eventually be sewn into blankets which will be distributed to local charities.
Council has also partnered with the Outer West Domestic Violence Network for the ‘Orange the World’ campaign, encouraging Blacktown City residents to decorate their home or letterbox in orange to say no to violence against women and girls.
A grant of $25,000 has also been approved by Council for the WASH House in Mount Druitt.
The funding will deliver ‘Courageous Conversations’ training on gender equity and holding discussions about domestic violence in families and workplaces.
Picture: Blacktown City Mayor, Tony Bleasdale OAM, and Deputy Mayor Julie Griffiths with the ‘knit bombing’ installation at the entrance to Blacktown City Council’s Max Webber Library.