My Work Life
Change starts with a conversation.
It was 2014, on a stinking-hot afternoon in regional NSW. My team and I were standing in the middle of an oval, five days into the 860km White Ribbon Ultra Marathon from Walgett to Forbes. A young man approached; a warm smile on his face and conversation pursed on his lips. He had the kind of energy you just knew would melt your heart. Little did we know he would also change the course of our lives.
Throughout the afternoon, the young man shared stories of his childhood. This angel of a human had grown up with a chronically violent mother, and now suffered the physical, mental and emotional scars of her abuse. He had learning difficulties, development delay and a nervous twitch that was, no doubt, the object of ridicule from unkind peers. Despite all this, his warmth and optimism continued to shine through. He was intensely grateful for the foster family with which he now resided and the love that had been extended to him by the Salvation Army.
That day we got to truly understand the full impact of domestic and family violence in our community.
When we finished the Ultra Marathon, the team committed to doing even more. We spoke with support service providers who lamented their struggle to engage the broader community in the education process that we had just been through.
Domestic and family violence is a taboo topic for many Australians and running has proved to be a highly effective tool for breaking the silence. People are attracted by the excitement of a big running adventure and that gives us the opportunity to hold some really important conversations.
Run Against Violence is a 100% volunteer-member association. Established in 2014, it uses running and other sporting activities as a conduit for educating and engaging communities in family-violence prevention.
By breaking the silence and encouraging people to learn about family violence, we hope to help remove the stigma and social barriers that prevent people asking for help.
Family violence knows no boundaries and anyone can be a victim or cause violence regardless of age, gender, socio-economic status or ethnicity. We take an inclusive approach and believe we all have a role to play in prevention.