Approximately 300 people gathered in Stirling Gardens, Perth, for the 19th Annual Silent Domestic Violence Memorial March. Organized by the Women’s Council for Domestic and Family Violence Services (WCDFVS) the rally and march was an opportunity to honour the memory of victims of domestic and family violence.
‘I suffered violence, and so did my children, but by the grace of God I got out’ Noongar Elder Doolann Leisha Eatts told the gathering delivering a ‘welcome to country’ with her husband Walter. ‘Domestic violence affects people of all nationalities. As Noongar elders it is good to see so many different people coming together on this issue’ Ms Leisha Eatts added.
‘There have been over 100 intrafamily homicides in Western Australia over the last ten years’ explained academic Carolyn Harris Johnson. ‘The majority of the victims were women and more than half were committed in Indigenous communities. This is an indictment on our society’ Ms Harris Johnson added that members of extended families were often aware of abuse but did nothing.
‘Research tells us that women in our community are most at risk of violence from the men in their lives who say they love them. For these women and their children, the family home, a symbol of safety and comfort for so many, is a place of ongoing and systematic abuse and assault’ said Andrea Mitchell MLA, representing the Minister for the Status of Women. ‘We had 17 deaths from family and domestic violence between April last year and March this year, representing 40% of the total number of homicides in our state in the last 12 months. That stark number represents a world of suffering. The suffering of the person who has died and the ongoing suffering endured by those left behind: their families, friends and work and social networks’ added Ms Mitchell.
Other speakers included Diana Warnock, Patron of WCDFVS and Lenore Mack. Barbara McNaught, Director of Momentum Women’s Forum, presented WCDFVS with a cheque and Moana Dreaming Aboriginal Singers preformed. Following a reading of the names of homicide victims by Anne Moore, WCDFVS Chairperson, the march set out along Barrack Street and Hay St Mall.