Newcastle Knights forward and White Ribbon ambassador Clint Newton has spoken about the importance for men to take leadership in combatting domestic violence as a guest speaker at the Koori Love Shouldn’t Hurt domestic violence forum in Newcastle.
The event’s focus was to create awareness, understand the impacts domestic violence has in the community, break the cycle, create a greater connection and partnership with police as well as support agencies and local Aboriginal people regarding domestic violence issues.
“You should be able to love somebody without the fear of being hurt, and it’s not only about the victim and the perpetrator, it’s about our children who are witnessing this violence,” Anita Barker, Co-ordinator at Aboriginal Community Justice Group, explained.
Barker was thrilled to have Newton speak as a guest at the forum and said he has great impact as not only a White Ribbon ambassador but as strong, positive role model in the community.
“We need more good men like Clint who will stand up and say, as a man, that they say no to violence against women,” she said.
“For a long time people have thought domestic violence is a cultural practice. Well it’s not. It’s intergenerational.”
Newton was honored to speak at the forum and be involved with some of the groups initiating change in society and preventing domestic violence.
“It’s something that’s quite daunting to go into another culture. I had my reservations to begin with, but at the same time, having Anita give me the confidence really empowered me to be able to come and speak,” Newton said.
“The fact is that this problem doesn’t just affect one culture, it’s across all cultures, so it’s not about being prejudice against any particular culture.
“It is happening, and all cultures have to stand up and take a stand against any form of violence towards women and children.
“It’s one of the things I learn the more I speak in different environments like this is that you get a better understanding about the issues and the problems that different cultures face, whether it’s Indigenous, Polynesian, Arabic, Indian or the white community.
"It’s all different and it's about trying to find out what’s the best way to make the biggest impact.
“If I can change one person’s mindset on how they should act, or even empower a woman enough to leave a situation, then it’s worthwhile."
Newton and a number of other high profile Knights have been involved in the Let’s Tackle Violence program which sees rugby league deliver a powerful message about stopping domestic violence to grassroots Clubs Australia-wide.
White Ribbon Australia observed the International Day of the Elimination of Violence against Women, also known as White Ribbon Day, on November 25, which signalled the start of the 16 Days of Activism to Stop Violence against Women. This period ends on Human Rights Day on December 10.
“It’s certainly a period of the year that the interest is heightened, but one of the disappointing things is it shouldn’t be about the 16 days, it should be that every day people are standing up saying no, speaking up and speaking out against any form of violence against women,” Newton added.