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An End to Domestic Violence Starts with a Change


St Columban’s College, Caboolture School Captain, Ava Curtis delivered a compelling speech about domestic violence at the Lions Club of Morayfield and District Youth of the Year event in February.

Ms Curtis explained that there needs to be a change if an end to domestic violence is possibly going to be achieved.

“An end to domestic violence starts with a change,” Ms Curtis opened her speech with in the video above.

Further, Ms Curtis pointed out that the average imprisonment for a domestic violence offender that has committed a common assault is only 4.6 months.

“This is simply not enough,” Ms Curtis explained.

“That innocent victim has to live with that traumatic experience for the remainder of their life.

“Not 4.6 months, but for the remainder of their life.

“That selfish person has made that victim scared to fall in love again, and scared to trust someone again.”

Ms Curtis also drew on the domestic violence tragedy where Hannah Clarke, along with here children were murdered by her estranged husband.

In closing, Ms Curtis made the point that domestic violence created statistics, even while she gave her short speech.

“In the small amount of time I’ve been talking to you today, three Australians have been affected by some sort of domestic violence, three innocent Australians are going through something no one should ever have to go through,” Ms Curtis stated.

“Three more statistics.

“Ladies and gentlemen, the future of Australia is in your hands.

“As a nation, we simply cannot let this go on,” Ms Curtis concluded.

Morayfield and District Lions club members are men and women who strive to make a difference in their local community as well as in communities worldwide. Their volunteer efforts go beyond the support of vision care, to addressing unmet health and education needs worldwide.

Full Speech

An end to domestic violence starts with a change.

Good evening fellow participants, families, and Lions Club members.

This evening, I’m here to inform you, but most importantly raise awareness, about the minimal amount of punishment given to the domestic violence offenders. It is not love if they hit you, it is not love if they let you down, and it is not love if they yell at you.

I knew a mother that sadly did not see this. She believed that he still loved her after continual punches, being told she wasn’t good enough, and the amount of times he violently abused their children. She still would not leave, because she loved him. He would lock the doors, disconnect the phones, and treat them as prisoners in their own home. But she still would not leave, because she loved him.

Over the last two years, approximately 260,000 domestic violence incidents occurred in Australia. This is over 360 incidents per day. Men, women, and children’s lives are being destroyed daily due to this sickening issue of domestic violence. As stated by Liberal MP Ros Bates, “As politicians, we are all appalled by domestic violence. But even when the media spotlight is quite rightly on domestic violence, the dangers of everything. Once the media dies down, the victims are forgotten until the next shocking incident.”

The World Health Organisation recently explained the level of violence that is shown towards the victims of domestic violence as a major global public health problem which is requiring urgent action.

The sad truth is, the younger generation of today eventually won’t see domestic violence as a negative issue if we keep saying things like, “Boys will be boys,” or, “Girls will be girls,” or, “They’re only doing that because they like you.” Seriously? We need to stop ducking the way we do. They need to know that this is simply not okay.

An end to domestic violence starts with a change, a change in the education system, a change in culture, removing the stigma and informing and supporting younger people to change the future.

Offenders are willing to keep pursuing domestic violence as they’re aware the consequences are so minimal. In 2018, 2,400 offenders had reoffended within one year. This is an additional 1,000 offenders than 2017. The minimal amount of imprisonment time and considering how minor the penalties are, makes it obvious as to why offenders are willing to pursue their crime.

The Australian government has enforced a variety of strategies to attempt to lower the number of incidents of domestic violence, but they simply are not effective enough. The average imprisonment for a domestic violence offender that has committed a common assault is only 4.6 months. This is simply not enough. That innocent victim has to live with that traumatic experience for the remainder of their life. Not 4.6 months, but for the remainder of their life. That selfish person has made that victim scared to fall in love again and scared to trust someone again.

According to the Universal Declaration of Human Rights, Article 5, “No one shall be subjected to torture or to cruel, inhumane, or degrading treatment or punishment.” The lack of harsh penalties is causing countless victims to not even have this basic right. Hundreds of cases of domestic violence stories are flooding Australian news on a weekly basis. A majority of them have something in common, their former partner.

White Ribbon Australia has stated, “On average, one woman a week is murdered by their current or former partner.” This figure should not be at this high of a rate, let alone even an issue.

The recent tragedy that occurred last week of Hannah Clarke and her three beautiful children has shocked and shaken the Australian nation. Hannah had left her former partner, but this did not stop the horrific crime he committed. The truth is, no one really knows what people are facing behind closed doors, and Hannah needed someone just to talk to, someone so she just didn’t feel so alone.

Just with every rising story in today’s media, reporters are all so quick to speak about this issue, manipulating Hannah, and stating things like, “If a woman does not leave her abusive partner, then she is responsible for the violence continuing.” And one in five people believe domestic violence is a normal reaction to stress.

In the small amount of time I’ve been talking to you today, three Australians have been affected by some sort of domestic violence, three innocent Australians are going through something no one should ever have to go through. Three more statistics.

Ladies and gentlemen, the future of Australia is in your hands. As a nation, we simply cannot let this go on.

An end to domestic violence starts with a change.