Australia

'She’s a person, not just another victim': Melbourne residents gather to pay tribute to Natalina Angok

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Dozens of Melbourne residents have braved the cold winter night in a public show of support for 32-year-old Natalina Angok, who was found dead in the city's Chinatown earlier this week.

Melbourne residents gathered in the city's CBD on Friday for a silent vigil to mourn the death of Natalina Angok, 32, who was allegedly killed by her partner earlier this week. 

People gathered outside Victoria's Parliament House to sit in silence for an hour.

"It's a quiet space for people to honour Natalina's life and reflect on why we're here again and why we've been running multiple vigils," co-organiser Jessamy Gleeson told SBS News.

People have gathered to pay tribute to Natalina Angok, who was killed earlier this week.
People have gathered to pay tribute to Natalina Angok, who was killed earlier this week.
AAP

"Vigils are really powerful and really important and they're a way to really honour each individual woman.

"It's not even a case of just doing one per year but one per woman who dies at the hands of a man in order to really personally differentiate them so each woman isn't just the number."

Ms Angok was found dead in Melbourne's Chinatown district on Wednesday morning, with police immediately treating her death as suspicious.

They are yet to reveal how she died.

A mourner outside Victoria's Parliament House.
A mourner outside Victoria's Parliament House.
SBS News

Her partner Christopher Allen Bell has since faced court charged with her murder.

"We are heartbroken. Our family is finding the strength to come to terms with this tragedy and the loss of Natalina Angok," her family said in a statement following the court appearance. 

"We would like the media to respect our privacy and cease further contact with family members. And allow us to grieve peacefully."

According to Destroy The Joint's Counting Dead Women project, Ms Angok is the 17th woman killed by violence in Australia this year, which equates to one death per week.

Melbourne Labor MP Harriet Shing posted on social media urging people to attend the vigil and to use Ms Angok's name.

"She’s a person, not just another victim in just another headline," she wrote.

Ms Gleeson, who is part of an organisation called We Keep Vigil, was also responsible for organising the vigil for 21-year-old Aya Maasarwe earlier this year and 22-year-old Eurydice Dixon in 2018. Both women were killed on their way home from comedy shows in Melbourne's CBD.

"These women's deaths aren't inevitable and they can be stopped," Ms Gleeson said.

Thousands of people attended the vigils of Ms Maaasarwe and Ms Dixon, leading people to question why there has not been a larger outpouring for Ms Angok, an African-Australian woman.

Lawyer Maker Mayek Tweeted that Ms Angok was well known in Melbourne's South Sudanese community.

"She met her fate in the hands of a man who was supposed to protect her. But of course, her name isn’t probably as important to attract a public outcry and a vigil," he wrote. 

Ms Gleeson added that We Keep Vigil is dedicated to marking the death of "each and every woman that has died at the hands of male violence". 

"What all of the murders that we keep vigil for have in common is that it is men who commit violence towards women and who murder them. And we don't accept that as inevitable and we're fighting to change that through these vigils and through creating a wider visibility and awareness," she said.

If you or someone you know is impacted by sexual assault, domestic or family violence, call 1800RESPECT on 1800 737 732 or visit 1800RESPECT.org.au. In an emergency, call 000.

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