Why I wished that Rosie Batty had not won Australian of the Year.

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“Beautiful, Beautiful, beautiful, Beautiful Boy”

 

My youngest son had just been born, so I was not working for a while. I spent my days in the stupor that was a toddler and a newborn. I remember going on long walks. I recall sitting in cafes, hoping that I might be able to slurp a hot coffee in between the time that the small one would still be asleep in his pram, and the big one would lose interest in his babychino.

It was a blur. I was in the lonely whirlwind of the mundane. I quite often tell people that I cannot remember much about those long, stressful, ridiculous, hilarious days. But there is one thing that I can clearly recall.

I lived next to a man who abused his wife.

We were ensconced in an adjoining terrace house in a suburb north of the harbour. Our neighbours consisted of a husband, a wife and their young daughter who was the same age as Horatio. He was (and perhaps still is) a very big name in the financial industry and I would see him regularly on TV, delivering reports and making financial predictions.

Of an evening, quite often, I would hear him delivering threats and blows. Of which I do not even want to repeat. And I could, because I can still hear his voice today, ringing in by brain. “BOILING WATER”. “SHOVE YOUR FACE INTO…” and then the inconsolable wailing of a small girl.

I was not brave or gutsy enough to call the police. What if he found out it was me who dared to dob him in? What would he do to me?

Rosie Batty has just been named Australian of the Year following her courageous stance and speaking out against domestic violence. Her son Luke was murdered by his own father Greg, during cricket practice. Since then she has gone on to insist that people  have “the uncomfortable conversation” regarding domestic violence.

I look back to my own experiences, and yes. I feel as guilty as shit. I wish I had the courage to knock on that neighbours door. I wish that I had called the police. I wished, when I watched our Prime Minister hand Rose Batty her AUSTRALIAN OF THE YEAR AWARD, that our Government had not just wiped out $271 million dollars from the very people who help women in domestic violence situations, and other people in need.

But most of all I wish that Rosie Batty didn’t receive her Australian of the Year Award. I wish that she now got to go and watch her son to brush his teeth.

And then tuck him into bed. Beautiful boy.