I remember this day, White Ribbon day, last year quite vividly. I gathered along with a few hundred other people to march from Castle Hill shopping centre to Castle Hill RSL to raise awareness for White Ribbon Day. The march ended with a breakfast where we had key not speakers highlight the need to promote a community response to stop violence against women.
Personally, I was on my learning journey in understanding the issue of domestic and family violence and how it was impacting our nation. At this point last year, we were about to pilot our Homes of Peace program in Queensland offering transitional housing and support to women and children impacted by family and domestic violence.
On the morning of the breakfast, I was completely humbled by the personal story of a very brave lady who shared her testimony of abuse. Her partner basically beat her with a baseball bat within inches of her life. If it wasn’t for the heroic efforts of her son who ran to get the help of two brave neighbours that came to her aid she have been another statistic.
It is UNACCEPTABLE that anybody should have to live in fear and intimidation. We as a nation, and a community, should not accept that each week one woman dies from the hands of an intimate partner or family member.
The next morning as I was getting my two daughters ready for kindergarten and school, it really hit home as I thought of their future. I asked myself how do I stop this from happening to them?
In my role as a father, husband, friend, and in leading Hillsong CityCare, I am committed to do all we can to put an end to this atrocity happening in our own backyards. I take personal responsibility in playing my part to raise awareness, support victims and equip our church community with the ability to recognise and respond to family violence.
I need to be the best example to my daughters of modeling how to respect women in the way I treat my wife Mandie and other women in my world. Although Mandie and I don’t always agree with each other about all things (like many couples in a relationship) I want to show my daughters that we can still resolve our disagreements with honour and respect. I want to show them that a real man is the first one to say sorry when I don’t always get it right. I want my daughters to know that inflicting fear, intimidation or even a showing a lack of respect to your partner is NEVER ACCEPTABLE!
COO Hillsong CityCare