From left, Ann O’Neill, Kerryn Robertson, Belinda Valentine, Sonia Anderson.
They have never met before. Their backgrounds are all uniquely different and they’ve all made the journey to Melbourne from different corners of the country.
But the women, who meet up in a St Kilda café on a chilly May morning to talk to WHO, have one terrible thing in common.
“We’re an exclusive club,” says Belinda Valentine, an Adelaide Hills mother of four.
But it’s not a club anyone would want to join: each of these four women have lost a loved one to a domestic homicide.
Sharing their harrowing stories for Domestic Violence Month, the women believe the horrific deaths of their loved ones could have been averted.
“The violence can happen in the blink of an eye,” says Valentine, 49. “We have to act.”
Brisbane’s Sonia Anderson, whose 22-year-old daughter, Bianca, was killed by her boyfriend is pushing for support services to be available for men who are prone to violence.
“He just decided he wanted her dead; he slowly choked her for 10 minutes,” she says. “Anytime someone dies from domestic homicide, I want advertised a number for men to ring to seek help.”
Perth’s Ann O’Neill, whose estranged husband murdered her children and attempted to kill her before taking his own life, says more education is needed “to teach our boys that they are whole men without a woman,” she says. “There is so much more to do.”
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