PHILLIP Islanders and the wider Bass Coast community have commemorated the one-year anniversary of the tragic death of Sam Fraser.
Under the title ‘Change for Sam’, a group has been working actively to achieve increased community awareness and better support for women experiencing violence in our community.
On Saturday, at the Phillip Island v Warragul Industrials game at Cowes, the recreation reserve was decked out in orange for the ‘Orange Round’ – a Gippsland-born initiative to raise awareness about the issue of violence against women and girls.
Change for Sam coordinator Pam Parker spoke before the start of the seniors’ game.
“I never had the privilege of meeting or knowing Sam, but from all those that knew and lover her, she was without question a loving and beautiful woman,” said Pam.
Sam was a psychologist, a mother, a daughter, sister, and friend to many.
She was much-loved and was very involved in the Phillip Island community, Pam said.
“Sam was passionate about making a difference regarding family violence and wanted to change the difficult path she walked to make it easier for other women in the future.”
The community came together in grief, outrage and frustration following Sam’s death.
“Over 1000 of you walked together in honour of Sam with a collective voice saying that violence against women and children has to stop, and change needs to happen.
“So, over the past 12 months that community voice has been heard and positively channelled towards the establishment of Change for Sam, which is made up of a passionate collective of representatives from community organisation’s local community members and Sam’s family and friends.”
Pam thanked all the organisations and community members who have shown tireless dedication to Change for Sam.
“It is incredibly special and indeed appropriate that Change for Sam’s first community prevention activity is to hold an Orange Round that kicks off at Phillip Island Football/Netball Club where 12 months ago the community gathered in Sam’s honour.
“This is where community conversations can begin about gender equity and violence against women, and what cultural changes are required to have a community free from violence.”
Pam also thanked the State Government for their support, including Bass MP Jordan Crugnale.