• Luke and Ryan Hart

Happy birthday, Mum

Today would have been our mum's birthday. Happy birthday, Mum. 53 years old today.

Mum, we think about you all the time. It is thanks to you that we have become the men we are today. Even with everything you had to endure, you had the strength to love us endlessly each and every day. You endured 25 years of domestic abuse, survived cancer and was battling daily with deteriorating multiple sclerosis. Looking at you, it was almost impossible to know the struggles you were facing. You approached each day with enthusiasm and with a smile on your face. You shielded us children from our father's attacks, so that we could have a good start to our life. You encouraged us to succeed, even when you knew you would be attacked by our father for doing so. He wanted to see us fail so that he could feel superior within the house. Thanks to you, he didn't succeed.

After Charlotte and yourself were murdered, the media tried to paint you as a 'greedy' wife motivated solely by money. They blamed you for what our father did. They said that your murder was 'understandable', implying that your only worth was to serve your husband. We know how wrong they are. We know that women do not exist solely for a man's pleasure and convenience. We have come to see the invisible sexism and misogyny woven into our society. You have inspired us to dedicate our lives to challenging male violence towards women and children.

This year we released our story; your story. We titled it Operation Lighthouse, after the name of the police investigation. We wanted to show that your life and your death had a deeper story; one filled with love in the face of adversity. We chose to redefine 'Operation Lighthouse', to move away from the focus on the murderer and instead show the world the wonderful women Charlotte and yourself were. Our story has reached national and international headlines. People who were not lucky enough to ever meet you, now talk about you.

Your story has inspired other women to leave abusive relationships - we have heard from women whose lives you have saved. You have inspired men to become engaged in tackling domestic abuse and male entitlement. Most importantly, you have inspired us to grow through the trauma and devastation from losing Charlotte and yourself two years ago. You have inspired us to never give up living, and to never give up in fighting for a better life for others.

Thank you, Mum, for everything you have taught us.

We love you.

Luke & Ryan

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