If I was planning to commit a crime, last Saturday would have been the perfect opportunity. Witnesses would have told police, “She was wearing a red dress and had long dark hair.” Fortunately, so did hundreds of other people in Brisbane. Did I commit a crime? No one will ever know.
Two friends and I donned our red op-shop and homemade dresses, and bad wigs (aren’t they all?) and joined hundreds of men, women and others at Frew Park, Milton last Saturday afternoon to dance in unison (kind of) to Kate Bush’s Wuthering Heights, not just for a laugh, but to raise money for DV Connect, a service that helps people experiencing family violence. There were fat, thin, tall, short, baby, and child Kate Bushes as well as Kate Bushes in wheelchairs, a Kate Bush version of Captain Jack Sparrow and Kate Bushes drinking wine. To the uninitiated, it looked like some kind of mass migration of red birds. Many children stared and pointed and were hushed up by confused parents as they watched a stream of people in every version of Wuthering Heights attire arrive. Pity the poor people who were out for a quiet afternoon in the park; they had to watch us go through the painstaking process of learning the dance and watch as we had at least three practice goes while listening to the song over and over before the actual “performance”.
I use the word dance loosely; it was more uncoordinated flailing, especially for those of us who no longer possess the lithe, nimble bodies of the youthful Kate Bush. The spinning at the start of the chorus was my greatest challenge as I lost sense of where the front was every time and then got behind as I tried to reorient myself. Then it was how many times to raise and lower your arm, which way to sway, how long to flap your elbows and how to move backwards without tripping over the person behind. At least one person did a hammy.
It was a great lark but for a serious cause. DV Connect is a Queensland service that offers 24 hour help for those experiencing domestic and family violence. Most victims are women, but there are some men. They frequently end up homeless. Of course, the same problems of violence, coercive control and manipulation can occur in same-sex relationships. The men’s line helps perpetrators of violence to seek help to deal with their behaviour. They also have a sexual assault helpline.The service can provide safe housing for those fleeing violence, including pets, and their new service, Victim Connect, helps anyone who has been impacted by violent crime.
The DV Connect website has a banner across the top suggesting people view it in “private” mode, and a “quick exit” button that gets you straight to the Google homepage, which gives you just a tiny taste of what kinds of conditions some people are living in.
Money is just one part of the solution to ultimately end the need for people to flee violent situations; flailing about in a red dress once a year is a small way to help solve a big problem.
To donate go here.