Cheryl Tovizi speaking at March for Moko
Powerful words from our treasured board member, Cheryl Tovizi, yesterday at the March for Moko:
“On 6th December 2010 my daughter Alexsis was murdered by an ex-partner. She left behind a precious 3 year old little boy who was at the scene.
The ripple effect of her murder is with us every day. It is in the tears of her little boy who wishes he could invent something that would bring her back from heaven; it is in the broken hearts of our family and in the sadness of those close to her.
Nothing can take the pain away. Nothing can bring back my daughter or the precious children like Moko, who have lost their lives at the hands of others.
We teach our children about stranger danger. The ugly truth is that it is more likely to be someone who is a family member, or person known to us, placed in a position of trust that takes the lives of our children.
For every woman and child that has been murdered due to family violence there are at least another 50 more every week who suffer abuse at the hands of another. It is simply unacceptable that around half of the recent homicides and related offences are due to family violence.
While most offenders are male, females, as we have seen in Moko’s case, also shamefully feature in fatal neglect.
Of all the children killed recently by child abuse and neglect 78% were under 5 years old. Moko was only 3 years old when he suffered incomprehensible abuse.
We cannot change the past, as much as we do so desperately want to. But what we can do is change what we do in the future.
We can learn to read the signs of those suffering in silence, too scared to speak the unspeakable for fear of retaliation.
We can give our children a voice, teach them how to get help and as adults it is up to us to not only listen but do something about it, and do it NOW!
We can educate ourselves and our children that physical or mental abuse is not OK and that love doesn’t come with the end of a fist.
We can help those living with violence to get support from the many caring agencies such as Women’s Refuge and that it is possible to have a life without pain or fear.
We can learn the hard lessons from each and every incident of murder, from each and every reported case of child abuse and neglect.
I learnt too late that women who separated or planned to separate were in increased danger from their abusive ex-partner and needed great support and vigilance.
I learnt that non-fatal strangulation is a massive red flat. My daughter survived 2 previous non-fatal strangulation incidents at the hands of her ex-partner; she didn’t survive the last one that took her life. So don’t wait for the empty apology, get out, get the children out and get help now while you still have the chance.
We need to speak up for those that are unable to speak for themselves, to reach out, to listen to the unspoken words of our abused women and children.
We need to find the courage that is within us all to take a step forward rather than look the other way, to stop those abusing our children.
While all political parties and government agencies need to collaborate beyond their silos, it is the community as a whole that holds the power within our hands to stop the horrendous loss of our children. Our children are our future, they deserve better.
Together we can make a difference.
We need meaningful action now because tomorrow may be too late.”
– Cheryl Tovizi