Red Rose Rallies are held in Queensland, NSW and Victoria for women believed to have been killed by their partners or former partners.
Red Rose Rallies are held in Queensland, NSW and Victoria for women believed to have been killed by their partners or former partners.

Red rose reminder of violent struggle for freedom

EVELINA Gavrilovic's body was found covered in blood and red roses.

The 43-year-old was murdered on April 1, 2006, in a Sydney shopping centre car park by the controlling husband she had waited 22 years to leave.

Her first steps toward freedom came only when she knew her children were too old to be hurt by their father, Slobodan Gavrilovic.

Relentlessly stalking her despite a court-issued apprehended violence order and with a weak reaction from NSW police officers, Gavrilovic - roses in one hand and a gun in the other - was determined to win Evelina back or ensure she would not live in a world without him.

After taking his wife's life, Gavrilovic turned the gun on himself.

Nine years later, Evelina's death still resonates for domestic violence workers and anti-violence advocates across the country.

Her death inspired a small but devoted movement aimed at saving lives and honouring those who have died as a result of domestic and family violence.

Wearing black and carrying red roses, Red Rose Rally participants stand united in public places whenever a victim dies.

They are held in Queensland, NSW and Victoria.

Already, 14 rallies have been held this year for some of the Australian women believed to have been killed by their partners or former partners since January.

Organised by the Domestic Violence Death Review Action Group, the events serve to remind the community and governments of the terrible toll domestic violence is taking.

DVDRAG is made up of key domestic violence organisations, including DVConnect, the Immigrant Women's Support Service and the Working Against Violence Support Service.

"The inspiration was to make sure that another death didn't go unnoticed and that there was a public recognition of and a personal remembrance for that person and for their family but also just to say 'this is happening' and we need to get the message out there," DVDRAG committee member Linda-Ann Northey said

"We're all so sad and this is unacceptable."

The most public gatherings can be found in Brisbane where rally members meet for 30 minutes on the corner of Alice and George Sts on the Friday following a death.

Ms Northey said staying silent was a sign of respect.

She said up to 30 people took part and passers-by were always supportive.

Ms Northey said the most surprising responses came from men.

"We get a lot of support from men - particularly male drivers who beep their horns and wave at us respectfully," she said.

"It's a reminder that there are some good men out there."

- APN NEWSDESK

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