Allison Baden-Clay's Sister Wishes She'd Known More About Domestic Violence
Yellow is a symbol of happiness and hope. It was also Allison Baden-Clay's favourite colour.
To remember Allison, murdered by her husband in 2012, hundreds of people gathered in Brisbane on Friday. They wore yellow, to mark the annual Strive To Be Kind Day in her honour.
"Today is certainly bittersweet because we wouldn't be gathering and we couldn't be having this conversation if it wasn't for Allison's death seven years ago," her sister, Vanessa Fowler, told 10 daily.
"As a person, as a mother, she was so generous and so kind and caring and she was just a beautiful soul and she put others before herself always."
Allison Baden-Clay was murdered by her husband of 15 years, Gerard Baden-Clay, on April 19, 2012.
The very next day, Gerard reported Allison missing from their family home in Brookfield, Queensland. Just 10 days later, on April 30, her body was found in Kholo Creek, about 13 kilometres from the home.
Allison was survived by her three young daughters.
Gerard claimed he was innocent, but he was charged and later convicted of the murder of his wife. A complicated set of appeals, an initial downgrade of his conviction to manslaughter, then the reinstatement of his original murder charge, resulted in him currently serving a life sentence for the crime.
Allison's family and close friends have been determined to continue her legacy of kindness and generosity. In 2012, the same year Allison died, those closest to her started Strive To Be Kind Day, which has been held annually ever since.
"We are hoping that we are building a positive legacy for her children in the future and in doing so help those who are at risk [of domestic violence]," Fowler said.
"We are certainly very pleased that our campaign is gathering momentum ... In death, Allison is certainly making a difference in people's lives so getting the word out there and having the conversation we are hoping that we are saving lives."
Allison's death and Gerard's consequent murder trial were extremely high-profile, attracting months and years of media attention. Fowler said while this was difficult for her extremely private family to manage, they now feel it necessary to use that attention to raise awareness about domestic violence.
"Women die every week and we don't hear about it but because Allison's case was such a high profile one, even the trial was big, we felt it was necessary to use that publicity as leverage," Fowler said.
"I feel that people listening to Allison's story and knowing what went on and what came out of the trial, I think they can actually relate."
Fowler said it was important for people to recognise the signs of a potentially worrisome relationship, and to lend a hand to those who may need it.
"We were the bystanders in the whole situation and if we had known more, if we were more educated in the different ways domestic violence manifests itself, we may have been able to help her a lot more and it may have turned out differently," she said.
On Friday, Fowler was in Brisbane for the annual Strive To Be Kind day, where she attended a lunch with 250 people.
Brisbane City Council is showing their support of the event by lighting the major Victoria and Story Bridges in yellow. Local schools and businesses are also getting decked out in yellow and celebrating kindness to mark the day.
For Fowler and the rest of Allison's family, the focus is on the three daughters that were left without their mother at such a young age. The girls -- now 18, 15 and 12 -- live with their grandparents, who are now their parental guardians.
The family has banded together following Allison's death to try and provide the girls with an upbringing as normal as possible amid the circumstances.
"We have just tried to maintain stability for the three girls. They are our priority and they are growing into beautiful young women. It is a tough road but we are very pleased with how they are going," Fowler said.
The main message is simple on a day that was born in the depths of sadness.
Be kind and "be someone who does something".
"You don't need to solve the whole problem, you don't need to step into a life-threatening situation. Just impart your support and let that person know you are there for them," Fowler said.
"I think we all need to show a little more respect and kindness to each other... If you see someone who is at risk share a word of support with them."
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