Despite stepping away from the public spotlight, former Australian of the Year and domestic violence prevention advocate Rosie Batty will speak to crowds at this year’s Winter Solstice.
After her 11-year-old son Luke was murdered by his father in 2014, Ms Batty became a staunch and tireless advocate for women and children experiencing family violence.
She rallied politicians and created the Never Alone: Luke Batty Foundation.
But in February 2018, Ms Batty announced she would be mostly stepping away from her public role to “take time to breathe” and has made few appearances since.
“Unfortunately I realise that I can't keep going at this pace forever,” she said in an email announcing her departure from the Luke Batty Foundation.
The event’s about grief, we often talk about the grief of suicide but she’s carrying a hell of a lot of grief for her son, Luke.Stuart Baker
But after a year out of the public eye, Albury-Wodonga’s Survivors of Suicide and Friends has announced Ms Batty will speak at the Winter Solstice event.
The June 21 event occurs the day after what would have been Luke Batty’s 17th birthday.
Stuart Baker, one of the Winter Solstice founders, said it was an honour to have Ms Batty attend the event.
He said they had been interested in having her speak for a number of years.
“We’re really thrilled and pleased she’s committed to coming here and speaking,” Mr Baker said.
“I don’t think she’s spoken at Albury-Wodonga before, certainly not since being Australian of the Year in 2015.”
Mr Baker said the event, which shines a light on mental health and suicide, invites people to come together in the darkest and longest night of the year to be supported.
He said Ms Batty would bring a unique perspective.
“It fits with our themes of mental ill health, suicide and grief,” Mr Baker said. “She’s been an amazing advocate against family violence.
“The event’s about grief, we often talk about the grief of suicide but she’s carrying a hell of a lot of grief for her son, Luke.
“We hope her presence encourages people who might not normally come to come out.”