Real men stand up against violence

Published 3:12pm 17 June 2024

Real men stand up against violence
Words by Kylie Knight

The first Real Men Rally brought together men from across the City of Moreton Bay to take a stand against domestic and family violence on June 16 at Redcliffe’s Kayo Stadium.

The event, organised by the Peninsula’s Sean Gordon and Mayor Peter Flannery, was a chance for participants to hear from speakers and gain a better understanding of the gravity of the crisis and what they can do to change the culture which has allowed it to flourish.

It was a bid to mobilise men to call out sexism and the behaviours which often lead to domestic violence and the view that women are property or ‘things’ to be controlled into submission.

Among the speakers was Police Commissioner Steve Gollschewski who stood before the crowd as the state’s top cop, but also as a father of daughters and son, and a grandfather.

His first job as a police officer 44 years ago was to respond to a domestic violence situation and his first homicide investigation as a detective was the result of domestic violence.

“Every woman, every girl needs to feel secure at home, everywhere in our community,” he said.

“Every man needs to take ownership of what they can do to make a difference.”

He relayed sobering statistics to give the audience an indication of how bad the problem is.

“This year, we’re tracking towards 191,000 occurrences of domestic and family violence in this state – reported. That’s a 12 per cent increase on last year,” he said.

“Over the last five years, we’ve seen year-on-year 14 per cent on average increases in occurrences.”

In Moreton Bay, there has been a 29 per cent increase in the past year.

Commissioner Gollschewski said it was estimated that domestic violence was 80 per cent under-reported.

“Do the sums, multiply it (the total number of reported incidents) by five,” he said.

“The true figures are truly staggering.

“There’s a real challenge going forward. The police can’t solve this. We have to do our job and we have to do it very well but we’re not going to solve this.”

He said an entire community approach was needed.

“My commitment, as long as I’m Commissioner, is that this will remain one of our main operational priorities as an organisation,” he said.

Real men stand up against violence

Thought-provoking speeches

Domestic violence survivor, victim advocate, reigning Ms Australia and small business owner Amy Rastall shared her story of physical and sexual abuse at the hands of a former partner, how she escaped the relationship at great personal cost and how she is now helping others.

Bystander and Small Steps 4 Hannah ambassador Dave Kramer, who was Hannah Clark’s close friend, spoke about the signs of abuse and control, and how he wished he had recognised them and acted before she was murdered by her former partner.

Former perpetrator Jet Xavier shared his confronting story as a man who struggled with addiction and acceptance that he was to blame for the violence he inflicted on his former partner 20 years ago.

Workplace Respect representative, Domestic and Family Violence Prevention Council Member and domestic violence survivor Jacque Lachmund spoke about her personal experience with domestic violence and how she escaped with the help of a compassionate employer.

State Member for Redcliffe, Attorney-General and Minister for the Prevention of Family and Domestic Violence Yvette D’Ath gave a personal account of sexual abuse, and harassment she continues to experience online but has also personally experienced in recent times.

Reverend Paul Clark explored the notion of ‘gentlemen’ and the change needed in our culture to rediscover men who were strong, yet gentle and kind.

Mayor Peter Flannery told the audience why the issue was important to him and said it was important for young men to have positive role models, so they knew what a good man was.

Organiser Sean Gordon urged people to call out domestic violence in all its forms and change the culture of our community, so it is no longer swept under the carpet.

He said key to this was education and sending a strong message that domestic violence and the behaviour that leads to it are not acceptable.

Participants were asked to make a pledge to ‘do their part’ in ending domestic violence and to foster a culture of respect, empathy and accountability.

If you want to find out more, and take the pledge, visit the website 

Photo gallery from the Real Men Rally

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