Domestic violence is a complex issue that “touches every element of society”.
On Sunday 19 July at 7am, Got Your Back Sista Chairperson, Belinda Smith, will complete a half marathon in isolation as part of the charity’s newest campaign.
She is running the streets of Newcastle on her own as a reminder to all women experiencing domestic violence that there are services and people in the community who can support them.
“I had this sense, one day [when] I was out running early in the morning and it was still a bit dark and there wasn’t really anyone around and while I didn’t feel unsafe, I felt a little bit on edge,” she said.
“I just had the thought that it’s not okay to not feel safe and, having been involved with Got Your Back Sista since the beginning, we know that lots of women experience that every single day, not out on the streets running but in their own home.”
This year’s campaign calls on the community to join Belinda and “run for her” – a victim in need.
The Say No to Domestic Violence, I Run For Her initiative is about raising awareness and funds for Got Your Back Sista, which works as part of the community to enable women who are escaping domestic violence to take a step forward.
Founder Melissa Histon said the campaign would bring attention to what victims face and hopefully take steps towards a future free from domestic violence.
“We have been looking for a new community campaign to bring the community together to stand against domestic violence and let people know, who are experiencing violence, that it is not normal, it is not okay and to encourage them to reach out for help,” she said.
“Domestic violence is such a complex issue because you’re talking about human behaviour and beliefs about women and gender roles and how people have been raised and what beliefs have been instilled in them.
“It touches every element of society.”
Since the introduction of COVID-19 restrictions, the service has recorded three times the number of requests for help.
Melissa and Belinda encourage everyone to get involved with the campaign as runners, sponsors or supporters.