‘Rosie Batty, thank you for grieving publicly.”
Australian of the Year and anti-domestic violence campaigner Rosie Batty has appeared on The Project to discuss her new book.
During her appearance on the Network Ten program, she spoke candidly about her emotional journal since her son Luke’s death.
Batty, who lost 11-year-old Luke at the hands of his father in February last year, reflected on the difficulties she faced in stopping Luke’s father Greg from seeing their son.
“That notion that when you leave it actually ends — well it doesn’t, particularly when you’ve got a child together. Because through that child and access to the child, there’s always those ways to have power and control over you,” she began.
She explained that when she became concerned that Luke was “no longer safe” during visits with his father, she knew she “had to follow through and stand up to [Luke’s father] Greg”.
But that was no easy task.
“It’s me, standing up to a six-foot-two man saying ‘no, you can’t take him’, and not knowing whether your heads going to go through a wall or what is going to happen to you. It’s enormously frightening,” she recalled.
“So it’s really quite unfair that we place the onus of safety onto the victim.”
Luke’s father, Greg Anderson, ultimately turned up at the boy’s cricket training in Tyabb, south-east of Melbourne, on February 12, 2014, and murdered the boy.
He was shot in self-defence by police at the scene.
Despite the personal tragedy she’s endured, Batty said she is still able to find moments of joy in life.
“When it first happened i thought, how the hell do you [go on]…?
“But you go through every day and you go: ‘Today I didn’t cry. Gee, I didn’t cry today’. And gradually you kind of go, ‘I actually do enjoy the same things. I still enjoy good conversation, I still enjoy good company, I still enjoy nice meals.
“So I now have got to the point where you do go through an amazingly tough time, the support of the good people around you takes you through it but you do actually find, still, things to enjoy in the world.”
She continued: “But clearly the biggest joy of my life was to be a mum. I can’t be that anymore. And it infuriates me when people try to say, ‘you’ll always be a mum.’
“No, I’m not. I was. And I have to fill my life in a more meaningful way, in a different way.”
Host Carrie Bickmore, whose husband Greg Lange died of brain cancer in 2010, took the opportunity to thank Batty for talking so openly about her loss.
Saying she had been “angered” by Mark Latham’s abhorrent attack on Batty in a newspaper column earlier this year, Bickmore thanked Batty for “grieving publicly”.
“It really angered me a few months ago when somebody who I’m not going to bother naming said you should be grieving privately,” Bickmore began.
“I want to thank you for grieving publicly. Because you have helped so many people. And you can grieve however you want to grieve… slow, fast, loud, quiet.”
Rosie Batty’s book, A Mother’s Story, is available now.