I want to see that change and to know that Luke did
not die in vain.
My beautiful son Luke was killed by his father at cricket practice on a sunny summer day. Luke was 11 and he was nearly as tall as me. He was sensitive. He enjoyed his footy, he enjoyed his cricket. And being his mother was the most fulfilling role in my life.
For 11 years Luke and I had endured his father’s violent controlling behaviour. And when his father felt he had finally lost control of me, he wanted to make me suffer. So he committed the final act of control and killed my son.
The sad reality is that my story of control and violence is a common experience for many families across Victoria and Australia.
One in three women and one in four children are affected by family violence. Right now there are women and children who are not living free, who are not safe.
Family violence happens in all kinds of families, in all of our neighbourhoods, to people from all socio-economic backgrounds. No matter how nice your house is, no matter who lives next to you, it happens in your neighbourhood.
Shortly after Luke was killed, I spoke to the media. And I haven’t stopped speaking up. Luke is the reason I found my voice. I have spoken out to raise awareness of family violence and to call for an end to victim blaming. I speak out for those who cannot find their voice, for those whose voices have been denied them.
I will keep speaking out because I want to people to be aware of the impact family violence has on women and children, for people to understand the very real risk to our lives.
I have heard first hand from people what a difference speaking out can make. People have told me, by sharing my story, they have felt the courage to get out of a violent situation. When you share your story you empower people, you give them hope. They feel like if you did it, if you got out, so can they.
To women who may be living in fear - know that you are courageous. You are strong. You are not responsible for the violence committed against you and you have a right to feel safe. We all need to speak out. We can all make change. I want to see change so that no more children live in fear, so no more children and women die because of family violence.
All Victorians and Australians can make a difference: You, me and everybody – we can change attitudes towards women, we can make an effort to understand family violence, to call out men’s violent behaviour and be more supportive towards people experiencing violence.