Glitz and bling with a powerful message

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If you ventured into the Soldiers Club on Saturday night, you would have been overwhelmed by the sparkling bling, heels and smiling faces as women from far and wide attended the inaugural Ladies Shine Bright Night.

The aim of the event was threefold; to provide a fun and uplifting ladies-only night out for the women of the area, to support local business women with a night of shopping, and of course to raise awareness and money for the White Ribbon domestic violence initiative.

The event sold out early and had to be capped at 250 tickets, indicating the night was a success on all three fronts.

Organisers Leah Lloyd, Michelle Sera and Heidi Grange.

Organisers Leah Lloyd, Michelle Sera and Heidi Grange.

Women were greeted with a complimentary glass of champagne, friendly chatter and the choice of 26 stalls to shop for jewellery, homewares, lipstick, alternative healing therapy, candles, handbags, artwok, photography, gourmet goods and more.

The atmosphere was charged with a feeling of empowerment, a supportive environment that celebrated women in general.

And any man who dared enter the function room was politely cleared out quick smart!

In amongst the glitterati and frivolity were some very moving speeches from those who have experienced domestic violence themselves, and come out the other side.

Not victims, but survivors.

The inaugural event was a resounding success, raising almost $8000 for domestic violence initiatives.

The inaugural event was a resounding success, raising almost $8000 for domestic violence initiatives.

Organiser Leah Lloyd shared her story as a young woman who fell into a psychological and emotionally abusive relationship that left her isolated and constantly anxious.

Guest speaker Kylie Travers recited a harrowing tale of an abusive husband who stalked her, threatened her with a knife and became suicidal as she tried to exit the relationship.
When she moved out, she was raped, robbed and ended up homeless with her two daughters.

Guest speaker and domestic violence survivor Kylie Travers gave a moving insight into how she has overcome the odds.

Guest speaker and domestic violence survivor Kylie Travers gave a moving insight into how she has overcome the odds.

“I came from a middle income, heavily religious family. I was smart, outgoing, an author and had a business. How did I end up like this?”

“I felt like a complete failure.”

Her morale bottomed out when she became suicidal herself.

She has since picked up the pieces and developed into a multiple award-winning blogger, author, international speaker and CEO, with a good balance between work and family and having created a life she loves.

She said she used strategies to help her regain her confidence, such as support and therapy, setting goals to keep motivated, affirmations to improve her self esteem, volunteering to give herself a sense of purpose, self care to improve her health, learning to say no, and developing an attitude of gratitude.

Hairdresser Hazel-Graeme Peffers glomming up Kim Dawe's hair at the event.

Hairdresser Hazel-Graeme Peffers glamming up Kim Dawe’s hair at the event.

Minister for the Prevention of Domestic Violence and Sexual Assault Pru Goward shared the story of this year’s Premier’s Woman of the Year Jennifer Armstrong, who is a mother of three and founder of the Beauty Bank.

Just four years ago Jennifer was pregnant with her son when her husband kicked her in the stomach. Only then did she truly realise she had to leave, and she and her children left with nothing.

She is now founder of the Beauty Bank, a charity collecting unwanted toiletries and beauty products to provide gift packs for women in need.

“The physical abuse was one thing which she left behind. But what lingered and what she was left with were the damaging consequences of emotional and psychological abuse,” Ms Goward said.

“As the African proverb says: it takes a village to raise a child. The same principle applies to domestic violence – it takes a community to save a woman from violence, to save a family from violence, to save children from violence.

“So rather than turning a blind eye, or saying this doesn’t happen on our street, in our suburb, in our workplace, in our family or among our friends, it needs a different response.”

Statistics showed domestic and family violence costs the NSW economy $4.5 billion every year. One in four women have experience violence by an intimate partner.

Organiser Leah Lloyd with Minister for Domestic Violence and Sexual Assault Prevention Pru Goward.

Organiser Leah Lloyd with Minister for Domestic Violence and Sexual Assault Prevention Pru Goward.

In the 12 months to September 2015 there were almost 29,000 incidents of domestic violence related assault in NSW, according to the NSW Bureau of Crime Statistics.

And this is only what is reported to police. Authorities suspect a more accurate figure would double that.

She said a new $60 million package would target perpetrators of domestic violence rather than simply improving support for victims.

The introduction of the Domestic Violence Suspect Target Management Plan allows police to target, watch and deal with serious recidivist DV offenders, the first program of its kind in Australia.

Empowerment speaker Emma McCann and local domestic violence charity Circle of Friends mentor Karyn Callaughan also spoke on the night.

The Ladies Shine Bright Night raised $7802.58 for White Ribbon.

Organisers are hoping to make it an annual event, raising money for various charities.

Photographer Heidi Grange has many more photos available for purchase and on display here.

Some of the lucky raffle winners with their prizes on Saturday night.

Some of the lucky raffle winners with their prizes on Saturday night.

Contenders for Best Dressed  on the night.

Contenders for Best Dressed on the night.

 

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Katharyn Brine

Editor / Publisher

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