Kara FVS news
April 2, 2024

Hope. A new book by Rosie Batty

Hope - A new book from ROSIE BATTY

A story about confronting grief, becoming an accidental hero and reclaiming hope.

Geraldine Bilston is a victim-survivor advocate, Senior Policy Officer at Family Safety Victoria and a member of the Kara Family Violence Service Board. As fellow advocates and friends, last summer Rosie Batty asked Geraldine to read and provide feedback on her upcoming book HOPE. These are her reflections.

Rosie Batty is a name etched in the collective memory of Australians, forever associated with the tragic murder of her son, Luke. However, it is not just the horrifying loss of Luke that lingers; it is Rosie’s unwavering courage, her commitment to changing the narrative of family violence, and her dedication to ensuring the safety of women and children that has impacted us all.

Curiosity will naturally draw readers to Rosie Batty’s new book, ‘Hope’, co-written with Sue Smethurst. For those wondering what happened to Rosie Batty after the headlines faded, this book provides a compelling and intimate journey through her grief, her public advocacy, and her relentless pursuit to eliminate family violence.

At the time of Luke’s murder, I, like countless other victim-survivors of family violence, found hope and inspiration in Rosie’s public advocacy. ‘Hope’ details “The Rosie Batty effect,” a term coined by Ken Lay, the chief commissioner of Victoria Police at the time of Luke’s death, and refers to the influence Rosie had, particularly on politicians and people in positions of power. However, “The Rosie Batty effect” extends also to individuals like me, who found inspiration in Rosie. She empowered us to seek out pathways to escape the difficult situations we were in.

Initially, Rosie was a figure I admired from a distance. However, as time passed, I’ve been fortunate enough to collaborate with Rosie and cultivate a cherished friendship. Beyond her public persona, I’ve come to know a fun-loving woman who is determined to embrace life to the fullest.

‘Hope’ is not just a recounting of adversity and trauma; it is also a testament to the enduring strength of the human spirit. Rosie masterfully weaves the narratives of extraordinary women, including Ann O’Neil, Amani Haydar, and Anj Barker, whose lives bear indelible marks from the scourge of family violence. Within the book’s pages, a powerful celebration of resilience unfolds—an inspiring tribute to the remarkable courage of women like Rosie who, while confronting the capacity for evil in human nature, have an extraordinary ability to find hope and work tirelessly for transformative change.

In a particularly poignant passage within the pages of the book, Rosie confronts a question: Could she endure the same fate as her friend Anj Barker, who lives with an acquired brain injury resulting from a brutal physical attack. Rosie openly reflects on this haunting uncertainty, while also acknowledging that many others have also pondered whether they could navigate the devastating loss of a child as Rosie herself has. This struck a chord with me, knowing I have asked myself that very question and grappled with the uncertainties surrounding the answer.

Additionally, I’ve often wondered if Rosie herself ever reflects on why she couldn’t have been in my shoes — a survivor who emerged after her. Today, I live a life of safety and freedom with my daughter, owing in part to the courage and tireless efforts of individuals like Rosie who paved the way for us. In her book, Rosie details how she accepted the Australian of the Year award in 2015 ‘for all victim-survivors of family violence.’ This sets the tone for Rosie’s approach to life and her work, and I consider myself, along with many other victim-survivors, to be direct beneficiaries of her dedication to improving outcomes for those who have come after her.

In concluding the book, Rosie expresses gratitude to Australians for their support, but it is we who owe her thanks. Rosie Batty is an extraordinary part of our country, a woman who has had the courage to advocate for change despite facing immense challenges and enduring a significant personal toll. Her resilience in the face of criticism from men’s rights activists and the harsh judgment often directed at women with a strong voice in Australia is a testament to her unwavering commitment to making a difference.

As many dive into ‘Hope’, I am certain they will once again be inspired by Rosie’s ability to share herself in profound and meaningful ways. The book is a thought provoking read that honours her strength, serving not only as a compelling narrative but also as a sign of hope in our ongoing fight against family violence across Australia. Rosie continues to be a guiding light in our collective work toward a safer future for all.

Hope - Rosie Batty
The inspiring and deeply moving new book about finding peace from the bestselling author of A MOTHER’S STORY
Available at www.harpercollins.com and leading book stores

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