A White Ribbon Day plan for 50 jetskis to ride around Sydney Harbour has been called a tone-deaf stunt, while the NSW government says the event will "spark important conversations".
The event on Friday would get people talking, and could help end the stigma around violence and harassment, Women's Safety Minister Natalie Ward said.
"We can't ignore the horrifying statistics that an average of one woman a week is murdered by her current or former partner in Australia and one in five women have experienced sexual violence," Ms Ward said on Monday.
"That's why we're making a strong statement on national White Ribbon Day."
However, NSW Labor MP Jodie Harrison says the event is a tone deaf and confusing stunt.
"This is a very convoluted way of starting what should be an ongoing and constructive conversation," Mr Harrison said.
"Perhaps the government should redirect the money they are spending on water sports to an initiative which will create meaningful change for those impacted by domestic violence in NSW.
"More action is needed immediately to ensure this trend of increasing instances of domestic violence and domestic violence recidivism does not continue."
Reported incidences of domestic violence have more than doubled in NSW over the last 10 years, from 8120 to 17,063, the most recent report from the NSW Bureau of Crime Statistics and Research showed.
White Ribbon Australia national director Allan Ball said the event would be high-visibility and raise awareness about their mission - to end men's violence against women.
"On one of Australia's most iconic waterways, the jetski display puts the work of violence prevention front and centre, igniting conversations that, in our hope, will inspire people to take action to effect change at the local level," Mr Ball said.
The jetskis will ride in formation to "turn the tide on complacency" on violence against women, according a statement on the White Ribbon website.
Jetski riders will also raise money ahead of the event.
Members of NSW Maritime, Surf Life Saving NSW, Marine Rescue NSW and the Port Authority NSW will be represented in the flotilla.
The event will run simultaneously with another White Ribbon Day event on the Brisbane River.
1800 RESPECT (1800 737 732)
Lifeline 13 11 14