‘Not feeling safe’: Stand against mens violence in Ballarat

Blair JacksonNCA NewsWire
Not Supplied
Camera IconNot Supplied Credit: News Corp Australia

Ballarat has made an emotional stand against gendered violence in the wake of the death of three women in two months.

A rally of more than 1000 people marched from the city’s 160-year-old railway station through the CBD on Friday afternoon, chanting demands for justice.

Councillor Belinda Coates, speaking to the crowd, said the motivating factor for the rally was the loss of Rebeca Young, Samantha Murphy and Hannah McGuire.

“Their lives matter. All lives matter,” Ms Coates told the rally.

Get in front of tomorrow's news for FREE

Journalism for the curious Australian across politics, business, culture and opinion.


“Everyone here has been impacted by gender based violence. We see you, we hear you and we believe you.

“We’re here with a good dose of rage. A lot of anger.”

Ms Coates said the crowd could channel love and rage into change.

“There are people watching Ballarat … this is a Ballarat issue, this is a national issue, this is a global issue.”


Hannah McGuire was found dead in Scarsdale on Friday April 5. Gofundme
Camera IconHannah McGuire was found dead in Scarsdale on Friday April 5. Gofundme Credit: Supplied

The Enough is Enough - Snap Rally Against Mens Violence in Ballarat was organised by former Greens Senate candidate Sissy Austin.

“It’s time to come together to stand against violence and murder of women in our community,” Ms Austin said

“Women are not feeling safe in our town. Women are living on eggshells, living on edge,” she said.

The city has been rocked by the killings of three women in two months.

Mother Samantha Murphy, 51, was last seen going for a jog on February 4.

Rebecca Young died February 16 at a home in Sebastopol near Ballarat. Nine News
Camera IconRebecca Young died February 16 at a home in Sebastopol near Ballarat. Nine News Credit: News Corp Australia

Partick Orren Stephenson, 22, has been charged with her murder. Searches for Ms Murphy’s body resumed this week.

On February 16, mother Rebecca Young was killed by her partner in a suspected murder suicide.

On April 5 police found the body of 23-year-old Hannah McGuire in a burnt out car to the southwest of Ballarat.

Samantha Murphy was last seen February 4. Supplied
Camera IconSamantha Murphy was last seen February 4. Supplied Credit: Supplied

Ms McGuire’s former boyfriend, 21-year-old Lachlan Young, has been charged with murder.

Ms Murphy, Ms Young and Ms McGuire “should still be with us here today”, Ms Austin said.

“It is not normal for our beautiful bushlands to become known for a place where mens violence is perpetrated on our bodies.

“Men’s violence needs to be called out. We also need men to stand with us in the fight,” Ms Austin said.

Federal MP for Ballarat, Transport Minister Catherine King, said the violence which happened to the three slain women happened to women in the community every day.

“After so many reports, after so many inquires, after so many deaths … every space should be and must be safe wherever we are,” Ms King said.

“Let’s be frank; men need to change,” Ms King said to cheers and applause.

The Hamilton family joined the rally holding, signs with the dead women’s names, and mother placard reading “men of quality do not fear equality”.

- A rally was held in the Victorian city of Ballarat on Friday, after the killings of three women in the town in two months. Picture: Blair Jackson / NCA NewsWire
Camera IconThe Hamilton family took part in the rally was, after the killings of three women in Ballarat in two months. Blair Jackson / NCA NewsWire Credit: NCA NewsWire

Grace Hamilton, 19, said she was there to spread the message that women should not have to live in fear.

“I shouldn’t have to worry about myself when I want to go for a run or when I’m in my home by myself,” she said.

Ms Hamilton would teach her six-year-old brother Hamish that women needs to be respected and feel safe.

Ballarat women Grace and Lisa have a family connection: their niece was best friends with Hannah McGuire.

Lisa has personally experience family violence and says the Ballarat community is determined to raise awareness of the issue.

The Ballarat police were doing all they could within the bounds of the law, Lisa said, but family violence perpetrators were not doing the counselling they should.

Meredith Barclay, of Buninyong, went to the rally to show solidarity for women across all sectors of society who have suffered violence.

Ms Barclay has a 23 year old daughter who no longer wants to walk in the bush since the killings.

“It has impacted people’s sense of safety and right to walk alone,” she said.

More to come

Domestic violence helplines

Originally published as ‘Not feeling safe’: Stand against mens violence in Ballarat

Get the latest news from thewest.com.au in your inbox.

Sign up for our emails