By LEIGH PRITCHARD
AMONG boisterous women and purple ribbons, two men wearing aprons discreetly served a buffet at an International Women's Day breakfast in Grafton yesterday.
Five tables were adorned with purple tibouchina flowers and the room was decorated with balloons in colours to symbolise International Women's Day ? green for growth, white for purity and violet for dignity.
Gumbaingirr elder Robyne Bancroft and Yaegl elder Joyce Clague officially opened the Clarence Valley Women Incorporated breakfast with a 'Welcome to Country' speech at the Grafton Community Centre yesterday. The 26 women in attendance chatted and networked before guest speaker, Northern Rivers Regional Violence Prevention specialist, Mary Willis, addressed the audience.
Mrs Willis acknowledged violence against women was not an easy issue to digest at breakfast, but went on to say one in four women experienced some form of domestic violence or sexual assault.
Mrs Willis said women had the right to choose how to live their lives and spoke about her achievements in promoting a public awareness campaign for violence against women on the North Coast.
"Fear has the ability to stop women reaching their full potential and living a full life," Mrs Willis said.
Clarence Valley Women Incorporated president Vicki St Lawrence said she was pleased with the turnout.
She announced Clarence Val- ley Women Inc would host the 2006 Rural Women's Gathering in October in Grafton.
-THE sacred feminine lotus sculpture was the feature of the Women's Resource Centre celebrations at the South Grafton Community Cottage yesterday afternoon.
Artist Pamela Denise coordinated the construction of the sculpture, made from poly-pipe and purple pinwheels.