More than just a name

As a part of the 2020 International 16 Days of Activism campaign to challenge violence against women and girls,  Bonnie Support Services hosted a Candlelight Vigil on Wednesday 16 December 2020. One of the most powerful and moving parts of the vigil is the roll call of women’s lives lost. For those of us who weren’t able to be there, here is a re-telling of the ceremony.

WE STAND TOGETHER IN UNITY as a protest at the unnecessary deaths of women and children and to commemorate those whose lives have been lost due to violence so far in 2020. WE RAISE AWARENESS and make a POWERFUL STAND TOGETHER as ONE COMMUNITY against gender-based violence.

This year our country has already seen 50 WOMEN and 27 CHILDREN’S lives lost due to violence.

The Candlelight vigil represents
— a moving shrine to honour the lives of women lost.
— A candle-lighting ceremony.
— And the names of victims of violence will be read out.

The following names are of the women who have lost their lives to violence in 2020

  • Kimberley McRae 69 years old
  • Christina Neilan 39 years old
  • Ruqia Haidari 20 years old
  • Maude Steenbek 61 years old
  • Unnamed Woman 42 years old
  • Noeline Dalzell 49 years old
  • Alexis Parkes 50 years old
  • Hannah Clarke 31 years old
  • Unnamed Woman 49 years old
  • Ann Marie Smith 54 years old
  • Maree Collins 67 years old
  • Kim Murphy 35 years old
  • Lesley Taylor 64 years old
  • Kobie Parfitt 43 years old
  • Jacqueline Sturgess 45 years old
  • Ella Price 26 years old
  • Erlinda Songcuan 69 years old
  • Britney Watson 18 years old
  • Unnamed Woman 65 years old
  • Unnamed Woman 44 years old
  • Loris Puglia 59 years old
  • Kamaljeet Sidhu 27 years old
  • Karen Leek 69 years old
  • Ruth Mataafa 22 years old
  • Gabriella Delaney 20 years old
  • Unnamed Woman 76 years old
  • Emerald Wardle 18 years old
  • Karen Gilliland 42 years old
  • Liqun Pan 19 years old
  • Roselyn Staggard 67 years old
  • Elaine Pandilovski 44 years old
  • Najma Carroll 33 years old
  • Daiane Pelegrini 32 years old
  • Unnamed Woman Age unknown
  • Carol Ann Cameron 63 years old
  • Aysha Baty 31 years old
  • Chelsea Ireland 19 years old
  • Unnamed Woman 60 years old
  • Unnamed Woman 66 years old
  • Kate Bell 31 years old
  • Sabah Hafiz 23 years old
  • Lynda Greenwood 39 years old
  • Lisa Hund 36 years old
  • Unnamed Woman 54 years old
  • Unnamed Woman 39 years old
  • Celeste Manno 23 years old
  • Samr Dawoodi 42 years old
  • Unnamed Woman 42 years old
  • Unnamed Woman 20 years old
  • Abbey Forrest years old

Tragically there have been more deaths since the candlelight vigil.

Bonnie’s staff reflections on the Candlelight Vigil:

‘I have participated in this event for 5 years now; it is always an emotional experience, heartbreaking even. I am always profoundly sad as the women’s names are spoken and a candle is lit for each precious life. It is so powerful. ‘

‘The vigil is an intimate space; Bonnie’s intentionally create a revered space for the women with poetry, music, flowers and candles. ‘

‘For me, hearing all those names and how these women were murdered has  a much greater impact than just hearing a number.’

 ‘I think the biggest part for me is that the women may not have known their worth.’

 ‘In participating,  I appreciate life even more. It’s a reminder of why I do the work I do!’

‘This ritual makes it real, real women, real lives. Lives that mattered. Someone’s child, mother sibling, aunt and grandmother.’

‘I start to imagine their final moments. Did she know she was about to die? Ddid she suffer for long? I am sure some did for years and years…’

This story written by Peta Link.

Don’t think of her as gone away
her journey’s just begun,
life holds so many facets
this earth is only one.
Just think of her as resting
from the sorrows and the tears
in a place of warmth and comfort
where there are no days and years.
Think how she must be wishing
that we could know today
how nothing but our sadness
can really pass away.
And think of her as living
in the hearts of those she touched…
for nothing loved is ever lost
and she was loved so much.

Ellen Brenneman

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