Domestic violence, it is our business

Three more names were added to the Wellington Remembers Memorial seat in Cameron Park this year as the community commemorated White Ribbon Day.

The annual service run by Wellington Family & Domestic Violence Collective was held in conjunction with the Rotary Markets on November 25, attracting a crowd upward of 100 people. 

The service was held as part of the group’s continuing campaign to educate the community of the ongoing effects of domestic violence within the community, as well as a day to assist victims involved in the cycle of domestic violence. 

In her speech secretary/Treasurer, Robyn Edwards, honoured the memories of John Blackhall, his wife Melva, and Maud Stanley whose names were added to the memorial.

“Mr and Mrs Blackhall were murdered on September 20, 1980 by a de facto partner of their daughter and the father of their grand daughter,” Ms Edwards said.

“Maud Stanley was murdered by her defacto husband on January 31, 1965, their two children were in bed.”

There are now six names on the memorial seat.

Wellington Rotary president, David Ryan, said Rotary were proud to be involved in the initiative.

“It was really powerful to hear the personal stories of families that had personally experienced the death, and had witnessed it, of a family member,” he said.

Ms Edwards said in her role as a service provider to victims of domestic violence she all too often sees victims willing to accept responsibility for the crime committed against them by their loved one.

“I often hear words such as ‘if I hadn’t’, ‘it is my fault because’; no person has the right to inflict violence on someone they are supposed to love,” she said.

“There may be triggers to domestic and family violence, drugs, alcohol, monetary, housing issues. They are not excuses, they are triggers. 

“‘It wouldn’t have happened if he wasn’t drunk’ – well, is he going to stop drinking to minimise the trigger for the violence?

“Too many people in loving relationships believe they have the right to control the other partner’s behaviour, with a physical act. 

Physical, social, emotional and financial abuse are never acceptable.”

Ms Edwards said as a community of men and women it is our responsibility to make the business of domestic violence our business.

“We are all equally responsible for achieving a change within our community to stop the violence, let each of their deaths not be forgotten or lost upon us, and may it help to encourage everyone to take their part in ending domestic and family violence within this community,” she said.