A FEW weeks ago, our tight-knit community was devastated by the tragic passing of a beautiful young mother of three, Samantha Fraser.
With great respect for Samantha, and her family, I wish to acknowledge her tonight and what her death has meant for me, fellow councillors, council staff and many in our community, especially on Phillip Island.
Firstly, it has shown me how much a community can rally together and care for one another. The response has been tremendous. Inspiring, to say the least.
It has also shown me how much a community can collectively grieve and feel angered about what has happened.
One can only feel cheated when something like this occurs. Unfortunately, this is another reminder for us; another sad and inexcusable example of violence against women.
This shocking incident has affected so many of us. I have been privileged to be able to discuss this issue with service providers and survivors of domestic violence. It all reaffirms to me that urgent action is needed.
Our society needs to change, and change starts with each of us.
One of the best places to start is to remember a saying that resonates with me – “The standard we walk past is the standard we accept.”
Domestic violence is not acceptable. We all have to speak up and call it out.
Council, as a White Ribbon Accredited Organisation is committed to ending violence against women.
Many of us have taken an oath to recognise the importance of men taking responsibility and being part of the solution to end the violence, abuse and inequality faced by women across Australia.
It is important that we all stand up, speak out and act to prevent this kind of violence in our community.
Council will continue to work with support agencies and advocate for appropriate services that reflect the need of our community.
There is a huge amount happening in the background. We have great support from the State Government, service providers and community groups and individuals. The extra investment and commitment in this space will become apparent to our community in the coming months.
A forum on violence against women will be held on the Island in September, and we are looking forward to hearing the outcomes from that.
Cr Rothfield is Mayor of Bass Coast. This is the transcript of an address she gave at Wednesday night’s council meeting.