'Reclaim The Night' Protests Attract Huge Crowd, Days After Suspected Murder

Thousands of people marched to raise awareness of violence and sexual misconduct against women and children.

The picturesque surrounds of Far North Queensland played host to hundreds of frustrated residents in Cairns on Friday night, united in their mission to end abuse against women.

The immediate focus of the group was local woman Toyah Cordingley, 24, whose body was found on nearby Wangetti Beach early Monday morning.

QLD Police have again appealed for information from the public on the suspected murder, revealing she sustained “visible, violent injuries” before her death.

'Reclaim the Night' rally at Fogarty Park, Cairns. Image: @_sarahlatham Instagram.

Toyah's body was located one day after she didn't come home from walking her dog on the beach, who was later discovered tied up and unharmed nearby.

“This terrible crime has shocked and saddened the community and we’re seeing the result of this through the large number of reports from the public," Detective Inspector Sonia Smith told reporters on Friday.

Organised by the Cairns Sexual Assault Service, the Reclaim the Night rally was attended by scores of concerned locals shaken up by the recent tragedy.

Cairns rally attendees. Image: @wellnessembodiedcairns Instagram.One mother at the event with her four daughters said she was honouring Toyah and grieving with the community.

"I wanted my girls to have think about what had happened to her and their own safety," she told the ABC.

"Toyah could've been me, she could've been them, she could've been my sister."

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Douglas Shire Mayor Julia Leu said she was horrified by the crime.

"This is a disgusting, horrific and fatal act of violence against a young woman who was enjoying what so many people do on a daily basis: walk along our beautiful beaches."

One woman a week is murdered by her current or former partner on average in Australia, according to a 2017 ABS study.

The same study found young women (18 – 24 years) experience significantly higher rates of physical and sexual violence than women in older age groups.

In recent years, high profile murders of young of Aussie women have inspired waved of these marches.

Also last night, rallies were held in Adelaide, SA and Newcastle, NSW.

Reclaim the Night rally in Adelaide on Friday night. Image: Instagram.

'Reclaim the Night' marches were founded as part of the Women's Liberation Movement in England, the first one taking place in Leeds in 1977.

They were created partly as a response to police telling women to stay out of public spaces after dark following the 'Yorkshire Ripper' murders.

Featured Image: Facebook/Toyah Cordingley

Contact the author: samelia@networkten.com.au