CQ mum to be honoured in new online memorial
LOVED ones of Rockhampton mother Karen Gilliland and more than a dozen other Rockhampton and Yeppoon victims of alleged violence will soon have new means to both honour and celebrate lives cut too short.
In a world-first, a new online memorial to women and children lost to horrific acts of violence under The Red Heart Campaign is set to launch today.
It will likely provide some comfort to grieving family and friends who continue to mourn the tragic loss of Mrs Gilliland earlier this year.
Her estranged husband Nigel Gilliland has since been charged with her alleged murder and is awaiting trial.
The Red Heart Campaign also pays tribute to Rockhampton and Yeppoon residents such as Lisa Jackson, Mima Joan McKim-Hill, Michelle Coral Lewis, Julie Dawn Turner, Beverley Doreen Leggo, Keyra Steinhardt, Sylvia Maria Benedetti, Nicole Margaret Lieske, Iris Temperley, Chantall Barnett, Latrell Dodd and Tracey Hill who were all tragically taken much too soon.
The touching gesture is the brainchild of award-winning journalist Sherele Moody – a woman all too familiar with the ripple affects of violence.
Her stepfather Barry Gordon Hadlow was found guilty of the abduction, rape and murder of five-year-old Sandra Dorothy Bacon and nine-year-old Stacey-Ann Tracy 30 years ago.
It is these two young victims – along with the current crisis gripping Australia – which inspired Ms Moody’s dedicated efforts for the past five years.
The poignant web page will host the stories of in more than 2,200 victims of horrific acts of violence.
Ms Moody said she designed the memorial to provide a special digitised space for both family and friends to remember their loved ones.
Additionally, the site will also offer a journalism-based database – free to the public – of murders and manslaughters which have taken place across the country.
Stories featured use a wide variety of resources, including first-hand family accounts, news reports, court judgments, coronial inquest findings and police sources.
“As a child I was subject to years of violent abuse and at 18 was horrified to find my stepfather had raped and murdered two little girls,” Ms Moody said.
“Behind each heart on the memorial, small for children and large for women, is a system that has failed victims, and this is my step towards creating a better future for us.”
The tragic history of Australia’s crisis with violence against women and children will chronicle dates as far back as 1859, to the most recent in October this year.
“The majority of victims lost their lives to acts of intimate partner or family violence,” Ms Moody said.
“Almost all of those killed were known to the perpetrator – either as partners, family members, friends, colleagues or neighbours.”
Ms Moody said the memorial showed violence impacted women and children from all walks of life.
“This is happening week in, week out and the reality is the next victim could be someone you know – your next-door neighbour, the local barista, your doctor, your sister – anyone,” she explained.
“Women and children have a right to feel safe at home, at work and on the streets – and this is just not the case.
“As a nation, we have a long way to go to prevent violence against women and children.
“I hope the rawness of stories featured on the memorial inspires more complex support systems – for current victims and loved ones left behind.”
The project was funded entirely by Ms Moody and associates, and will soon rely on public support as it continues to grow.
The memorial will be launched at The Grand Chancellor Hotel, Spring Hill, Brisbane on this morning, and will be hosted by Queensland media icon Kay McGrath.
It will feature special presentations from Ms Moody, award-winning journalist and podcaster Paula Doneman and a number of brave speakers, including Lyn Burke - the grandmother of Moranbah toddler Hemi Goodwin-Burke.
The Memorial to Women and Children Lost to Violence can be found at www.theredheartcampaign.org
If you are experiencing intimate partner violence, family violence or sexual violence, please contact the national helpline on 1800 RESPECT. Mensline can be contacted via 1300 78 99 78 and Lifeline is available on 13 11 14.