An online memorial commemorating the lives and stories of Australian women and children lost to violence was launched this week.
Created by the RED HEART Campaign, the memorial is a virtual wall of red hearts, each containing the story of a woman or child’s life lost to violence.
The journalism-based project aims to document and commemorate Australian women and child lost to acts of murder, manslaughter, or other forms of violence, including neglect.
Sherele Moody, the founder of the RED HEARTS Campaign, said she designed the memorial to provide an online space for family and friends to remember their loved ones, while also developing a database that is publicly accessible.
“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,” 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.”
Each person’s story is researched extensively using a wide variety of sources including firsthand family member accounts, news reports, court judgements, coronial inquest findings and police sources.
Moody has spent the past five years researching and documenting the deaths of Australian women and children, with the memorial featuring 2,200 victims of violence. The first person noted in the memorial is a young woman who was murdered by her partner in 1859.
It is the International Day of Action to End Violence Against Women & the beginning of 16 Days of activism against gendered violence. To see why we need action, visit the Memorial to Women and Children Lost to Violence @ https://t.co/p1xMo4LQff pic.twitter.com/OiqOtPM0Ov— Sherele Moody🌈 (@ShereleMoody) November 24, 2020
“The majority of victims lost their lives to acts of intimate partner or family violence,” Moody explains.
“The Memorial shows that violence impacts 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.
“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 online memorial launched on the eve of the International Day for Elimination of Violence against Women, and the project is ongoing.
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.