I am a proud Business Chick, so when Emma Isaacs and her team announced Rosie Batty would be the guest speaker for their International Womens Day lunch, I jumped at the opportunity to grab my ticket and be in the room.
The event was a sell-out, and the room was clearly packed with fellow chicks who, like me, are amazed with Rosie’s resilience to get up each day after such a tragic end to her son Luke’s life. Rosie has been thrust into the media spotlight for a reason she wishes never happened. People know who she is because the worst thing in a parent’s life happened to her. She didn’t ask to be recognised at airports across the country. She would have been more than happy to be just like me, heading to school for parent teacher interviews, trudging from one sporting event to another, and nagging for bedrooms to be cleaned, but tragically this is not the case.
When I walked into the Grand Hyatt on International Womens Day, I already knew Rosie’s story. I had just finished reading her book, A Mother’s Story, a week earlier. What I wondered was how was she going to address the room. What inspiration, wisdom and motivation was she going to share with us?
Some of you may be aware, but prior to Luke’s death, Rosie had made a very distinctive career change in to the welfare field. She has undertaken study to make a difference to individuals who needed support and someone to guide them. Since Luke’s death, Rosie has found her voice and become a supporter, crusader and survivor of family violence.
As Rosie spoke to us, she highlighted the statistics that we’ve heard many times before, 1 in 3 women are victims of family violence, and 1 woman each week as a result of family violence. That last statistic is now outdated – 2 women die each week as a result of domestic violence. That’s more than 100 women every year whose stories aren’t heard!
Family violence has touched a close friend, a former work colleague, a school mum and even a fellow Business Chick sharing my table at the Rosie Batty luncheon, fortunately, each person I know as a family violence victim is also a survivor. Fortunately, they found their voice and are now safe, but how many remain silent?
Rosie gave every woman (and man) in the room one challenge. Help her get the message across Australia that family violence is not okay. We need to stand with Rosie and say no to family violence. Encourage our sisters and brothers to do the same. Empower those without a voice to find an avenue to speak and be safe. We all deserve to be safe, no one should take that away from us.
Remember one thing; 1800 RESPECT. This phone number can be used to connect victims with the lifeline they need. Please join me as I stand with Rosie to say no to family violence and yes to gender equality.
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by Sam Spence – Founder & Principal Executive Assistant, Executive Virtual Associate.