WAGGA came together in a solemn stance against domestic violence on Wednesday, marking the first of 16 days of activism.
Leaders of the community, women, men and high school students paid tribute to the 45 Australian women who lost their lives this year to domestic violence on the International Day for the Elimination of Violence Against Women.
Held at the Wagga Women's Health Centre, trauma counsellor Leah Anderson said it was a "moving" ceremony, but the reason was dark.
"Unfortunately, there were 45 women since January who were murdered in domestic violence situations, which is around the same mark as last year," she said.
"There's been a slight decrease of five women, which really isn't much."
Launching this year's 16 Days of Activism Against Gender-Based Violence, Ms Anderson said the significance of having community leaders from organisations like the Australian Defence Force and NSW Police centred around strength.
"This shows that we have that strong presence to say we are not going to accept this anymore," she said.
"It's not OK."
One of those leaders was Senior Australian Defence Officer at the Royal Australian Air Force, Group Captain Chris Ellison. He said it was an emotional experience to read the names of those lives lost.
"We need to do all within our power to make sure that list is shorter next year," he said.
Group Captain Ellison said it was inspiring to see the younger students involved in taking action.
"It shows that they are perhaps that next generation who are not prepared to brush this under the carpet and are the next team to make a change," he said.
Students from numerous Wagga high schools tied a white ribbon to the pole outside the Women's Health Centre - one for each woman who lost their life.
Year 12 Kooringal High student Reilly Wauch-Smith said he felt special to play a part in raising awareness.
"Being a young person and working to understand this is so important," he said.
"As each year goes by, we want to see those numbers go down. More people are speaking up about it now, and events like this establish the importance of talking about it and raising that awareness."
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Fellow Kooringal High student Aayan Bashar added that it was time to bring the issue to the forefront of discussions.
"Domestic violence happens all the time and goes unnoticed, so it's extremely important to recognise the impact is has at an event like this and make a change," he said.
If you or someone you know needs help, contact: 1800 RESPECT (1800 737 732), NSW Domestic Violence Line (1800 656463) or Men's Referral Service (1300 766 491).