By Nicky Champ

Over the weekend thousands of Australians rallied across the country to protest against the gender-based violence that has seen over 30 women killed this year alone.

Protesters demanded more effective government action to prevent violence and support victims. Prime Minister Albanese acknowledged the issue as a “national crisis” and pledged to work with state and territory leaders for a coordinated response.

While the rallies held across capital cities saw an estimated 15,000 people demonstrating in Melbourne alone, one local legend has captured the attention of the Northern Beaches community.

Avalon resident and Australian film director, best known for his 2001 film Lantana, Ray Lawrence was seen demonstrating in Avalon on Sunday holding a “Stop Killing Women” sign.

The video, filmed by his 15-year-old granddaughter, orated by his 7-year-old granddaughter, and shared to Facebook by his daughter, has received thousands of views and hundreds of comments and shares.

The caption by his daughter accompanying the video reads: “When you see the old man walking through Avalon village with a big sign at noon today he’s protesting to stop violence against women. He’s not crazy. He’s my dad, he’s a grandfather. Give him a cheer, honk your horn in support or join him.”

Messages of support flooded in. One local resident said, “Good on him. I would join him but unfortunately at work all day. Tell him to pop into Alma after if he likes and will shout him a beer (or margarita).”

“I saw him this morning on my walk loading up his car with the signs. Thanked him then and thanking him again now!” Said one community member.

Speaking exclusively to Northern Beaches Living, Ray shared that he was simply searching for a local protest to attend and when he couldn’t find one, decided to march himself.

“It wasn’t complicated,” said Ray. “I just went online to see if there was a local demonstration and there wasn’t, so I thought why don’t I have one.”

“I called my granddaughter, who’s a budding filmmaker, and said I’ll pick you up at 12pm, but I didn’t tell her what I was going to do.”

Ray says the women in his family, including his wife, got together and decided to add the voiceover from his granddaughter, and share it to social media.

“You can feel the heat of the solidarity of women in the comments agitating for change,” says Ray. “But it’s really disappointing that there are very few men commenting and reacting.”   

“I found it really hard writing the words ‘stop killing women’ on the sign,” says Ray. “When I was looking for where the marches would be held on the ABC, I saw a young girl holding a placard that said ‘Stop killing us’ and that just pushed me over the edge.”

Touched by the reaction to the video, Ray says he would now like to see local MPs, Rory Amon and Dr Sophie Scamps get involved and call on the Prime Minister to act now.

“Let’s turn it into some energy and get the politicians to do their job.”

“This shows there is power,” says Ray. “This one tiny thing has lit a match.”

“If we can do anything, let’s do this. This is the most important thing.”

Yesterday, members of the crossbench including Zali Steggall OAM MP Member for Warringah and Dr. Sophie Scamps MP Member for Mackellar wrote to PM Anthony Albanese calling for a coordinated approach to treat gender-based violence with the same level of urgency we show acts of terrorism.

The statement reads: “Our view is that the call for a national Royal Commission is well intentioned, but the question is, what would it uncover that we don’t already know?”

“Experts in the sector already know where resources are urgently needed.

“Rather than spend a year and several hundred million dollars on a Royal Commission, while women are killed every week, we need to spend that money on accelerated action.”

You can read that full letter here.

If you want to write a letter to your local MP about this issue, you can find a full list of contact details on the NSW Parliament website here.

If you or someone you know has experienced domestic, family and sexual violence, call 1800RESPECT on 1800 737 732, text 0458 737 732 or visit www.1800RESPECT.org.au for online chat and video call services.

Facebook
Twitter
LinkedIn
Email
Print
Scroll to Top