A few days ago, I submitted an online audition for a Domestic Violence commercial, my first of this nature. Between Writing, gardening, grocery shopping, and walking the dog, I found myself shooting this video of a man sending a cry for help via video message to his friends. Communicating that he was being beaten by his female partner and didn’t know what to do. It really brought home a sense of how difficult it must be for some at the moment.
These days I’m finding it harder to go negative despite the amount of fear emanating in the form of one conspiracy theory or another. I lean on the side of optimism more and more. However, the video caught me out and not for the first time. Last week during our first online Think Tank(men’s discussion group), I found myself in a similar situation. I was brought back to earth by a couple of group member’s experiences in the workplace. Both work in frontline management in the domestic violence arena and they highlighted a legal system struggling to protect the most vulnerable, primarily women and children. They also pointed to an inevitable spike of domestic violence cases once restrictions are lifted.
As I mentioned in my opening, my isolation experience has been relatively pleasant. But the audition and the group discussion pulled me back in. It took me back to my youth, growing up in the Wollongong suburb of Kemblawarra. Part industrial wasteland, part lower socio-economic housing, part aboriginal mission. Three streets running parallel to one another, every nationality represented. A pure blend of 70s working-class Australia, mixed with the original custodians of the land, who’s housing estate bordered a rubbish dump less than two hundred metres up the road from the block of flats that I lived in with my sister and parents.
My circumstances back then were as they are now, fortunate. I remember the regular visits by the police to the same flats the same homes. The heavy drinking by parents who’s children stayed out late into the night until it was safe to go home. The times when ambulances were called and the time two young boys not more than seven, about my age, slept in our living room before police and community services came and took them away. It’s no wonder we moved not long after.
I can’t speak for everyone’s situation. I’m guessing that most of us have known someone who has experienced domestic violence. It’s too easy to forget when it doesn’t affect you directly. Let’s hope that with all the millions being thrown about that more resources are put into helping people that need it most. In this case, those victims of domestic violence.
If you or someone you know is experiencing violence and need support, please contact one of the support hotlines below.
Call 000 for Police and Ambulance help if you are in immediate danger.
1800RESPECT 1800 737 732
Lifeline 13 11 14
Men’s Referral Service 1300 766 491
Contents of this post, specifically a chapter on the writer’s experience growing up in Kemblawarra make up part of the upcoming book One Day I Will Tell The Truth.