Courtney Herron was murdered in Melbourne’s Royal Park last year.

By Lauren Duffy

A RIDDELLS Creek father whose daughter was murdered in Melbourne last year is standing with his community to back the 16 Days of Activism campaign.

John Herron’s daughter Courtney was murdered by a man in Royal Park, Parkville in May 2019.

Mr Herron said his daughter’s death had moved him to become involved in the campaign to stop violence against women.

“I was hoping there would be less fathers, mothers and loved ones in my own position by now; however, this is not the case,” he said.

“There is the shadow of another violent death in Melbourne this month of Celeste Manno.

“I cannot describe in words the utter despair I feel when a young woman’s life is taken. Yes, there is much work to do to put an end to this.

“Regarding violence against women, I view this as a pyramid, where the peak or apex is the lethal end where Courtney, Celeste and other tragic stories are now well known. But they should not be.

“In my journey of activism, I have come to understand the deep fear of women of that apex. It is a place where women feel powerless and vulnerable.

“That’s the space I must fight in, especially being a country lawyer, where I have insight into the dark secrets that many streets hide.”

Mr Herron said the pyramid had a large base – and that was where everyone could make a difference.

“At the grass roots level – the area to change the attitudes of those men who may, for whatever reason, move into that apex of violence against women,” he said.

“The Family Violence Royal Commission in 2016 did, in my view, bring the issue of violence against women to front and centre. The next challenge is where your grass roots activism can make a change.”

Mr Herron said through his work, he saw the passion of the people working in family violence.

“I know there are many dedicated, talented individuals who work in this space every day. I see the volunteers at shelters, attending court and operating late-night telephones,” he said.

“These are truly the people that make a difference. That is activism where you put your beliefs on the line.’”

Mr Herron said he thought of his daughter every day.

“My mind races every day, trying to think of a way that Courtney will return to me. But she can’t,” he said.

“I do know that she would have joined us on the 16 Days of Activism. So let us not forget the names of these women, so that they live forever.

“And we can make a difference, however small it is, by taking a stand to end violence against women.”