“WE’VE had enough” was the single message of the thousands of people, from all walks of life, all age groups and from both sexes, who snaked their way in protest around Lake Burley Griffin.
Enough of domestic violence in any form, enough of children being left without a mother; enough of our legal system letting down victims and enough of the recent spate of horrific incidents.
The courts will have their say – but what is clear, ACT police allege three people were murdered over 20 days in domestic situations.
One of these victims – 28-year-old Tara Costigan had only just given birth to a baby girl and seven days later she was dead. She also leaves behind two other children, young boys whose pain was there for our city to see at their mother’s funeral.
It has struck an emotional chord in this city, the likes of which I have not seen before. So far, thanks to the love and support of family, friends and the general community, financial support for the children has reached $120,000 and rising. However, there is so much more to be done.
One of the only positives borne of this tragedy is the Tara Costigan Foundation, which will work to highlight the scourge of domestic violence in our community.
The statistics are horrific: since the age of 15, one in five Australian women have experienced sexual violence; one in six experienced physical or sexual violence from a current or former partner; one in four experienced emotional abuse by a current or former partner and one in three experienced physical violence.
Shockingly, these ABS figures also show 61 per cent of women involved in a domestic assault had children in their care at the time.
And these figures do not even mention deaths. It’s believed two women are killed each and every week in Australia as a result of a domestic or family violence-related incident.
With only around 42 per cent of women ever contacting police after becoming a victim – and even less (24 per cent) not ever seeking any kind of advice or support, it’s now time to speak up – LOUDLY!
And the 6000 or so Canberrans who walked somberly around the lake was a great start. Another is, for all the blokes reading this, repeat the White Ribbon Oath after me:
“I swear never to commit, excuse or remain silent about violence against women. This is my oath.”
Domestic Violence ACT Crisis Line, 6280 0900 (24/7).
Marcus Paul is the drive announcer on 2CC