Sewing for the dead

REMEMBERED: Brie Avery holds the dress made for mother and nurse Amanda Dawson who was murdered in Traralgon, Victoria, in October 2016. Picture: Melinda McMillan
REMEMBERED: Brie Avery holds the dress made for mother and nurse Amanda Dawson who was murdered in Traralgon, Victoria, in October 2016. Picture: Melinda McMillan

ANOTHER 41 dresses have been stitched in memory of women killed by violence in Australia this year – a dress for each life lost. 

It follows from last year’s awareness raising action by Newcastle feminist group AWE.

In November 2016, 68 dresses were made and put on exhibition to represent the lives lost to violence.

The name, age and date each woman was murdered was sewn or written on the garments. 

By the end of December 2016, another five women were dead, bringing the national total to 73. Another five dresses were sewn.

One of the organisers of this year’s Remember the Women event, community services student Brie Avery, said she knows by the time the November 27 launch comes around, it is likely more dresses will need to be sewn as the death toll continues to climb. 

“It’s pretty full on,” Ms Avery said. 

She first became aware of the project at the 2016 White Ribbon Breakfast where the dresses were exhibited. 

“I thought it was really powerful … it just kind of hits you because it puts a name to the numbers you see,” she said. 

 “That’s what got me into wanting to get into the TAFE course. I went home and enrolled that night.”

Ms Avery and four other students elected to work on this project as an assignment for their certificate four course. 

She said it was about raising awareness by naming the victims. 

“We hear about it all the time, but we want to get it into people’s heads that these are real people, not just names on the news,” she said. 

“They are real people and they were murdered. It is something the community needs to acknowledge is happening and it’s happening in big numbers.

“It’s powerful, it evokes emotions … something needs to be done about it.” 

The 41 dresses from this year will be exhibited with the 73 from 2016 at Tighes Hill TAFE, as part of the 16 Days of Activism Against Gender Violence, on November 27 at 10am. 

The event is open to the general public and will include a morning tea and speakers, some of which are expected to be the dressmakers. 

To find out more visit the Facebook page.