On Friday the 27 November, we marched in solidarity and silence to honour and grieve for those victims who lost their lives from Family & Domestic Violence (FDV) related issues at this year’s 30th Annual Silent Domestic Violence Memorial March.
Together with the Women’s Council for Domestic and Family Violence Services (WCDFS), a 800-strong crowd of women, men and children gathered at the Supreme Court Gardens to summon their thoughts and pay their respects to those whose lives had tragically been taken.
Overlooking a crowd standing in solidarity against FDV and remembering those who had lost their lives this year through the symbol of white coffins, a Domestic Violence survivor spoke with conviction as she told her story of anguish and grief, and how she, one of the lucky ones, managed to escape.
A story from a Domestic Violence Survivor
“I had to get out but didn’t know how?”
Having experienced Family & Domestic Violence for most of her childhood, she found herself in a violent relationship in her late teens that continued for a number of years before summoning the courage to get out.
“It was a traumatic experience. I moved to a new house, changed my phone number and replaced my car. I did everything to disappear, to break free from the violence and to break the cycle for my children”, she said.
Whilst twenty years have passed, the vivid memories remain. Fighting back tears, she delivered her message to hundreds of women, men and children to inspire others and to know that there is hope and things can get better.
“I’m one of the lucky ones. Not everyone has the opportunity to leave and make it out alive!”, said.
How did we get here?
The Silent Memorial March was first established in 1991 following a women’s protest recognising failure in our legal system.
Today it coincides with the #16DaysinWA campaign taking place from 25 November, the International Day for Elimination of Violence Against Women to 10 December, Human Rights Day. This year’s campaign theme is “Respect Starts with You!”
Widely recognised as one of the longest running events of its kind that remembers those victims who have lost their lives to FDV related incidents, this year’s event was tremendously important, marking 30 years since its inception.
The 2020 Silent Domestic Violence Memorial March
In 2020, 495 pairs of shoes were laid across the outskirts of the Perth Supreme Court Gardens, representing the estimated number of homicides that have occurred over the past 30 years. Although, this is just an estimate, as police data was not properly available until post 1994.
A tremendously sad occasion, the annual event continues to raise awareness of the injustices facing women, men and children each year, and the need to change the current environment so those in these situations may live without fear from violence.
We were joined by the Hon. Simone McGurk MLA Minister for Child Protection; Women’s Interests; Prevention of Family & Domestic Violence and Community Services who provided an update on advancements being made in this space including increased training for police officers, job retaining programs for women, improving tenant rights for FDV survivors and additional funding for counselling services.
This year we provided support and assistance to those wanting to know more about Stopping Family Violence and our training programs. Along with many other not-for-profit networks in attendance, we hope to be back next year offering advice, support and care to those most vulnerable.
Let’s work together to end Family & Domestic Violence once and for all.
To view more photos from the Silent March, find us on Facebook.
If you or anyone you know needs help please contact:
Lifeline on 13 11 14
Women’s Domestic Violence Line on 9223 1188 or 1800 007 339 (country)
Men’s Domestic Violence Line on 9223 1199 or 1800 000 599
Crisis Care on 9223 1111
1800 Respect on 1800 737 732
Kids Helpline on 1800 551 800
Beyond Blue on 1300 22 46 36
Headspace on 1800 650 890