Business networks and community come to hear Rosie Batty in Gippsland
A record audience turned out in Warragul, Traralgon and Inverloch to hear from Australian of the Year and campaigner against domestic violence, Rosie Batty.
Ms Batty, who rose to prominence following the murder of her son Luke by the boy’s father at Tyabb in February last year, told the 570 strong audience that she had determined that his death would not be in vain.
“I saw a brief period of time to do something from tragedy,” she said. “I have been able, through the Australian of the Year award and the support of so many people, to dedicate this year to raising awareness of the issues around domestic violence.
“The ripple effect has started and the fact is I can’t do it alone, no one can do it alone, it is up to everyone to address the issues of domestic violence.”
In her quiet, controlled tone, Ms Batty told the spell-bound audiences that one in three women were affected by family violence and one in four children were also affected, either directly or through violence in the home.
“When I refer to it as family terrorism it perhaps explains it better. We are having this terror happening in homes, in neighbourhoods in suburbs – people are at risk. The reality is women and children are more likely to be hurt in our own homes than by terrorists overseas.”
As well as outlining her view that there needs to be better systems in place for dealing with violent attitudes, Ms Batty sent a strong message that everyone needs to be involved.
“We all have a responsibility to do something. We need to model respect as parents, model respect through schools, sporting clubs and in the community, at Councils and in local businesses. We need to understand that with one in three women impacted by family violence that means one in three women in your workplace have been affected and that there are men in your workforce who are responsible for it.”
Ms Batty also pointed out that family violence took place everywhere. “It doesn’t only occur in what we might think of as poor neighbourhoods. I think my situation hit home to many people because I am middle class, educated, articulate and was the major bread winner but this has still happened to my son. Greg (Luke’s father) loved his son, he did this as a final act of power and control and to make me suffer for the rest of my life.
“We have to break that cycle of men believing they have power and control over women and develop more respect for each other.”
Ms Batty called for more support for women and children so they could do something before it reached a point of violence and also believes there should be more resources to assist men who reach out for help.
She said that in her situation, not once had Greg had a proper risk assessment. “As well privacy meant that police and others didn’t tell me about the issues Greg had, so there were no red flags that made me think ‘I have to do something.’
“We have to get to a point where there is collaboration between the agencies to protect people and have good processes in place.”
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If you are experiencing family violence or have experienced sexual assault please seek support, contact 1800 RESPECT 1800 737 732