Walking All Over Domestic Violence

By Kate Willson – Sunday October 9th marks the day that the Love, Hope and Gratitude Foundation celebrates its inaugural “Butterfly Walk” raising awareness, support and funds for victims of domestic violence.

Founded in 2015 by Adelaide Hills resident Glyn Scott, the Foundation aims to provide shelter, comfort and support for people and their pets requiring a safe haven from abuse, abandonment or hardship. GlynĂ­s decision to establish the Foundation comes decades after enduring horrific abuse throughout her own marriage during the 1960’s.

Seventy-one year old Glyn, dubbed the “unlikely warrior” by The Australian newspaper, made legal history in 2012 when the High Court of Australia found there was no marriage immunity applicable to the assaults and rapes inflicted by her husband during the 1960’s. This came after Glyn’s former husband George Pycroft was charged in 2009 with two counts of assault, two counts of carnal knowledge and two counts of rape occurring in 1963. The abuse spanned the duration of the marriage but the Director of Public Prosecutions could only proceed with incidents for which there was sufficient evidence. In 2011 the history-making legal argument as to whether rape within marriage was an offence back in the sixties ensued. A year later a five votes to two decision in the High Court set the precedent that it was an offence, establishing the basis for the prosecution of George Pycroft. But days before the criminal trial was set to resume, George Pycroft died at age 82.

Sadly it took almost fifty years for Glyn to speak out and seek justice for the abuse she endured. Many such tragic situations remain unspoken of and the silence and subsequent under-reporting hampers the authorities’ attempts to measure the true extent of the problem. Evidence gathered by the Australian Bureau of Statistics in their 2012 Personal Safety Survey showed that 95% of men and 80% of women experiencing violence from a current partner had never contacted the police.

Bear this in mind when you consider that just short of six thousand incidents involving homicide, assault or sexual assault were flagged on SAPOL’s reporting system as Family and Domestic Violence cases (FDV) during 2014. Of those, five were domestic violence-related homicides. Currently the Love, Hope and Gratitude Foundation report that Australia-wide two women die every week from domestic violence and one child every two weeks.

The Butterfly Walk is approximately 1.2 kilometres along the Laratinga Linear trail, commencing at 35a McLaren Street, Mount Barker, and culminating in a Family Fun Day at Keith Stephenson Park. Glyn says the registrations are growing steadily and she expects a good turnout. The goal is to build their first shelter for women, children and their pets.

Further information is available on their website www.lovehopeandgratitude.org.au where you can also register for the Butterfly Walk, make a donation or contribute in other ways.

The Love, Hope and Gratitude Foundation also has a campaign to build their shelter registered with www.gofundme.com and would welcome donations.