Murdered domestic violence victim Hannah Clarke has been posthumously honoured in marie claire’s inaugural Women of the Year list for her incredible act of bravery in the final hours of her life.
When Hannah and her three children, Aaliyah, six, Laianah, four, and Trey, three, were ambushed and set alight by Hannah’s estranged husband Rowan Baxter on February 19, the nation mourned.
And while the horrific act of domestic violence made headlines around the country, the story of the young mother’s heroic actions as she fought for her life was not as widely told.
“Though she had burns to 97 per cent of her body, Hannah still managed to give police a clear and articulate statement,” Hannah’s mother, Sue Clarke, told Marie Claire. “Afterwards she passed out, but when she came to for a brief period, she pushed herself to repeat it. The police were in awe. It was truly to make him pay — she didn’t know he was dead. She was going to fight for her babies to the end.”
Determined to re-write the ending of their daughter’s life, Sue and Lloyd Clarke have established the Small Steps 4 Hannah Foundation, through which they hope to raise awareness about controlling relations and domestic violence. Ultimately, they want to see coercive control become a criminal offence in Australia.
“Because of Hannah, coercive control was given nationwide attention, and now her parents—Sue and Lloyd—are carrying are carrying on her legacy by fighting to make coercive control a crime in Australia,’ said marie claire editor Nicky Briger. To join the push to criminalise coercive control, sign the petition at coercivecontrol.com.au.
Hannah’s story has already helped to change people’s lives, and encourage other women to leave controlling relationships that may similarly escalate into violence, her parents explained. “That was our girl; she always wanted to help others, so we want to do it in her name,” said Sue.
marie claire’s Women of the Year list honours the incredible Australians making a difference in these extraordinary times. Whether leading with courage, fighting for change or delivering some much needed laughs, they are a collective of inspirational women who have risen to the challenge in 2020.
In addition to Hannah, the list includes the healthcare workers on the frontline of Covid-19, NSW Premier Gladys Berejiklian, bushfire fundraising hero comedian Celeste Barber, sex trafficking survivor and Jeffrey Epstein accuser Virginia Roberts Giuffre, international model Adut Akech Bior, Indigenous activist Apryl Day, actor Sarah Snook and long distance swimmer Chloe McCardel.
The Women of the Year portfolio is featured in the December 2020 issue of marie claire, on sale now.
For help with issues of domestic violence call 1800RESPECT on 1800 737 732.