Rosie Batty: Not to blame
Photo Courtesy of: Julian Smith AAP
CAN WE ALL GET one thing straight here? Rosie Batty has done nothing wrong. She is not on trial here.
The inquest into the savage murder of her 11-year-old son Luke, by his own father, is trying to fathom how a flawed system – and people in it – so fatally let a mother down.
Little wonder this brave, and usually stoic, young woman cracked the shits at the hearing yesterday.
And she should feel no shame, nor remorse, looking back today at words from the seared depths of a broken heart. Words that that should sink guiltily into the consciences of others.
Over the years, she had done everything that a victim of violence could do to protect her child from husband, and then former husband, Greg Anderson.
Little wonder then that, when legally probed about what she might have done differently -- if she had known this or if she had known that – Rosie Batty snapped.
those barbaric events
Hanging unsaid was the inference that maybe little Luke might still be alive if his mother had done something more or done something differently.
Don’t you reckon those thoughts haven’t irrationally invaded her grieving brain daily and thwarted sleep nightly since those barbaric events at the Tyabb cricket oval?
And so, a seemingly unbreakable, indefatigable campaigner against domestic violence – who has turned a tragedy into a crusade – finally cracked.
‘Why am I having to defend the decisions I made about our son? Isn’t it unfair that I’m the one having to answer for all this?
‘Did I ever think Luke would get smacked over the head with a cricket bat and stabbed to death? Of course I didn’t. So don’t ask me any more about what I did, and the risk I thought there was, because there was an ongoing, never-ending consideration of Luke’s safety.
‘He got killed on a day when I thought it was fine. If I had called the police, can anyone tell me that Luke and I would have been safe? No. This was a premeditated act, this was deliberate, but Greg was the only one who knew it.
‘Can you imagine what that feels like, that someone against all odds wants to make you suffer for the rest of your life to win? But let me tell you by the end of this investigation, I hope you all do’.
I wish I had
And then the unnecessary: ‘No one loved my son more than me’.
Rosie Batty said she could have made different decisions ‘and I wish I had’ but there was so much she didn’t know around the time Luke was asking if he could ‘have a bit more time with Dad, because I haven’t seen him in a while?’
For example, she had no idea Anderson had an intervention order taken out against him by his former housemate after threatening to decapitate him.
‘I’d like to think [if I’d known,] I would have stayed at cricket training, I would have realised police should have been informed with a heightened sense of urgency’.
She also didn’t know that an intervention order stipulated Anderson could see Luke only at weekend sports matches and not midweek. But when she saw the father waiting at the oval (when she dropped Luke off that day) he seemed happy and thought ‘why not let Luke … have a hit with his dad?’
Rosie did think about calling police because she knew there was at least one warrant out for his arrest but decided not to do it in a public place and have her son’s father arrested in front of his friends. It had happened before. Plus, detectives had Anderson’s address and could have arrested him at any time.
In fact, there were four warrants out for Anderson’s arrest, two intervention orders imposed on him, and a charge of accessing child pornography, but he was still free to roam. A deadly, avoidable, recipe for disaster. And that’s what happened.
Rosie Batty’s sole goal now is, in her words: ‘… make sure that some people, out of all of this, learn’.
Jail 2 Justice walk.
She is doing her damnedest to get that message out there and joined me on our Jail 2 Justice walk. Rosie was there with the Morcombes, and Janine Greening and Noelle Dickson and George Halvagis and others, when we handed our petition over to the Government.
And a word of warning to whomever sits on the Government benches after next months’ election: Be prepared. Because we are not going away.
You think Rosie was angry yesterday? You ain’t seen nothin’ yet.