Debut novel highlights urgent need to address violence against women


Southbank resident Cedric Saldanha is the author of recently published book, Quest for Freedom which sheds light on the poignant reality of violence against women in a time where the topic demands urgent attention.

With a background in the public sector, Mr Saldanha took up writing in retirement, with Quest for Freedom his first published novel.

The book follows the journey of Smita, a young woman hailing from Mumbai, whose fate leads her into an arranged marriage and a relocation to Melbourne.

Through Smita’s eyes, Mr Saldanha confronts the pervasive issue of violence against women, a theme he has been “deeply worried about for a long time”.

“The main underlying theme is a woman fighting for her rights against male domination,” he said.

“She is an Indian woman and there are aspects of the Indian culture coming in, but it also applies generally across society here in Australia, where males take women too much for granted.”

As citizens took to the streets across the nation in a series of rallies organised by What Were You Wearing? Australia (WWYW) across April 26 to 28, women called on the government to declare the disturbing rise in violence against women a national emergency.

With one woman killed violently every four days, the need for education through avenues such as Mr Saldanha’s books is even more crucial. •

“It’s very distressing – the males in society particularly need to start raising their voice against prejudice and biases against women,” he told Southbank News.


I’m hoping that the people who read it are not just women, but also men, who will develop more empathy for the issue as very often it is baked culturally into society.


Emphasising that the book “is not about me or the money”, Mr Saldanha hopes that Quest for Freedom will serve as an important reminder for our society to stand up and do better, as well as giving women the strength to continue their fight.

Quest For Freedom is now available online from Amazon and Booktopia, as well as in-store at Mary Martin Bookstore in Southbank. •

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