The Candle Lighting Ceremony hosted in Canberra by the Domestic Violence Crisis Service (DVCS) was held last night. The National Candle Lighting Ceremony, held on the first Wednesday of May each year, is in remembrance of those who have died and also acknowledging the profound impact each of these deaths have on thos left behind. In Australia, more than 100 women, children and men die each year directly because of domestic violence.
There were the the usual speakers – Minister Andrew Barr, Ms Mirjana Wilson, Executive Director of the DVCS, Dr Sue Packer – Mr Greg Turkich played the bagpipes and the usual assortment of members from the community and public sector were in attendance. It was good to see a strong representation from the local police, who are often called on to deal with the tragedy of domestic violence.
The focus of the event were the candles and the roses:
- — 3 large candles symbolising the national vigils that occur all over Australia to remember the women, children and men who have died as a result of domestic violence;
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— the red roses, which are now associated with domestic violence campaigns across Australia. The red rose is a particularly powerful symbol as it is the flower most often given to women to signify love and affection, but also associated with mourning.
The tea candles represent former clients of the ACT DVCS:
- — 63 green candles for the women who have died;
— 12 blue candles for the men who have died;
— 2 amber candles for the children who have died; and
— 129 white candles for the children who are now without a mother as a result of domestic violence.
All we can hope is that no new candles need to be added for next year’s Day of Remembrance.