Mourners came to Melbourne from as far as Western Australia to attend a candlelight vigil that marked the first anniversary of Jill Meagher’s murder.
People left flowers and lit candles on the steps of The Brunswick Baptist Church on Friday night in memory of her and other women affected by violence.
A woman who lived in the same apartment block as Ms Meagher, Heidi Artmann, said she came to remember her neighbour and to stand up against violence against women.
“I used to feel quite safe, I don’t catch public transport as much anymore, but I don’t want to run away … I don’t want what that person did to stop me from living my life,” Ms Artmann said.
Ms Artmann, who often saw Ms Meagher and her husband Tom in passing, said she felt traumatised every time she walked past the alleyway where the murder took place.
Another neighbour, Tamar Upton, who lived a block away from Ms Meagher, said the death, while tragic, had brought about some positive changes and raised awareness.
She said many Brunswick residents had felt guarded and conscious after her death.
“Obviously what happened was terribly sad … we lived the next block away and, within an hour, people that had never crossed paths before were offering support,” she said.
“There was a drive to help out of compassion.” Perth woman Leanne Sceghi came all the way from Western Australia. Ms Sceghi, who has a younger daughter, said Ms Meagher’s death changed her family’s perspective on safety.
“The loss of Jill has brought the sensibility of awareness,” she said.
“People need to buddy up, be more aware and not take anything for granted.”
The vigil was held after requests from community members were received by the church to mark a year passing since Ms Meagher’s death.
Among a wreath of flowers was a quote from Martin Luther King.
“Returning hate for hate multiplies hate, adding deeper darkness to a night already devoid of stars. Darkness cannot drive out darkness, only light can do that.”
A second peace march through Brunswick is planned for Sunday after more than 30,000 people attended last year.
The march will start at noon at the corner of Sydney and Moreland Roads.