Rally’s tears, silence and prayers for murder victims
HUNDREDS have gathered in sorrow and mourning at Parliament House today hanging their heads, brandishing red roses and fighting back tears at the Red Rose Rally.
At the head of proceedings was Red Rose Foundation CEO Betty Taylor who spoke of 'an unthinkable tragedy'.
"But it will be a bigger tragedy if we learn nothing from it," Mrs Taylor said.
In that way, the Red Rose rally was both a eulogy and a call to arms.
And it was answered by hundreds including Minister Di Farmer, Senator Larissa Waters and Minister Mark Furner - just some of the crew of politicians, advocates and everyday people who assembled today.
Together they demanded change and mourned victims of domestic violence:
- Hannah Clarke and Laianah, Aaliyah and Trey Baxter;
- Alexis Parkes who was killed by her husband in a house fire;
- And an unnamed four-year-old child was bashed to death in Gladstone.
"There are no words for today only tears and silence and prayers," said Dr Brian Sullivan of the Red Rose Foundation.
"A father makes sacrifices for his children, he doesn't sacrifice his children.
"We mourn a senseless loss of life today.
"Let's commit ourselves to changing the ending for the next woman, the next children … they are our neighbours and friends."
Dr Sullivan called domestic violence the most serious human rights breach in Australia.
His sentiment was upheld by Greens Senator Larissa Waters who said she would be demanding further frontline action.
She said she would be calling for a documented domestic violence toll at the next Senate meeting, before reminding her audience that 61 women were killed in domestic violence acts last year.
As the rally ended the crowds left their roses at the foot of the Red Rose Foundation's banners as a symbol of love and, today, mourning.
At the closing address Mrs Taylor announced that this year marks 10 years of Red Rose rallies.
She said the foundation have funded over 100 red benches that have been placed across Australia.
Mrs Taylor announced that the foundation would be starting 'conversations on the red bench' an initiative intended to spark conversation about domestic violence and allow victims to speak out.
Another Red Rose Rally will be held next month as a 10 year anniversary event - remembering the hundreds of women who have died in Australia from domestic violence.
*For 24-hour domestic violence support call the national hotline 1800RESPECT on 1800 737 732 or MensLine on 1800 600 636. The Suicide Call Back service is on 1300 659 467.