On 11th October, 2013, Rekiah Lee O’Donnell lost her life. She was 22 years of age. The jury believed the man responsible for Rekiah’s death guilty of manslaughter. Rekiah’s family believed him guilty of murder. And so at the end of an eighteen month wait for the case to go to court, and subsequent four week trial, a young woman was dead, a man sentenced and a family shattered.
The story could have ended there. It could have been filed away in the transcripts of a judicial trial and the memories of a grieving family. But the mother of Rekiah O’Donnell wasn’t prepared to let the death of her daughter fade from public consciousness. Not because she wanted to harbour understandable resentment and fuel justifiable rage, but because she wanted to forgive and move on, and through the writing of Rekiah’s Law and her family’s positive action, to eventually come to terms with the loss of a much loved daughter, step-daughter, sister and granddaughter.
Rekiah O’Donnell was a victim of domestic violence. Kerryn Robertson was determined that the story of her daughter’s short life would be shared to give hope to other victims and families caught up in the cycle of violence.
Domestic violence is never comfortable. It’s brutal, manipulative, obsessive and controlling. It’s insidious and intrusive, stripping victims of independence and crushing their individuality. Rekiah’s Law is not just a powerful read. It’s a life-affirming message, told by a mother who speaks from the heart.