March 8 was International Women’s Day and the perfect invitation for Rosie Batty to visit the Sunshine Coast. Since her appointment as Australian of the Year this January, Rosie has been making headlines as an advocate for Domestic and Family Violence and on March 10th she took the stage in front of 360 guests for the Sunshine Coast Business Women’s Network International Women’s Day breakfast, the day prior she spent her afternoon visiting and connecting with the SunnyKids refuge.
By her own account, Rosie Batty did not assume the appearance of a victim, and this is her most poignant point. “Violence doesn’t select a type or a postcode, it can happen to anyone,” she states, continuing on with a general account of her relationship with Greg, the father and killer of her child in what Rosie described as ‘the ultimate act of control’. Rosie says that she never married or lived with Greg because his behaviour when she was first pregnant was not right. An educated professional and mother, Rosie who held a Diploma of Communities, is vigilant to express that she was not just any victim, she was informed and it still happened to her.
Her strength is commendable and her message clear. With gratitude for the voice that has been granted because of “how Luke’s death went through Australia,” Rosie is determined to bring to light the severity of Domestic and Family violence in Australian Society. After losing her son, Rosie was astonished at how incredulous the media were to the problem, stating, “no-one knew the statistics, it is one of the countries biggest social problems that no-one discusses publicly.”
And what are those statistics?
Right now, today, 1 in 3 women suffer from Family Violence. 1 in 4 kids are growing up in an environment of Domestic and Family violence with no understanding of how to break the cycle, growing up to reenact the behaviours and seek unhealthy relationships. Each year 1 woman a week is KILLED as a result of Domestic and Family violence and so far in 2015 2 women a week have died in domestic homicides.
Seeking understanding and support for the victims, she says there are a myriad of reasons why people might stay in unhealthy relationships. Situations are complex – emotionally and physically – and we need to show care and not blame the victims. That is what we are doing she says when questioning a person’s motives to remain in a situation.
Rosie is humble, she is sincere, she is witty and most of all she is committed. Committed to achieving a difference for victims and children. Committed to inspiring communities to create support, respect and safety for its members. Committed to leaving a legacy through Luke’s death that will last forever.
Sometimes it is hard to tell people exactly what we do at SunnyKids as the services and programs we offer are vast and varied, but ultimately everything we do aims to keep kids and families safe. After spending time with Rosie, seeing her listen to the mum’s at the refuge, and then watching her advocate on their behalf to 330 women and 30 men over breakfast; and with hundreds of SunnyKids supporters advocating every day in the community, I am more confident than ever that we, as a community and as a nation are now prepared to change the way we view domestic and family violence, child abuse and neglect. I invite you to join with the growing voice that now declares ‘not now, not ever, not in my community’ when it comes to domestic and family violence.