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  • Sam Davis

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    Indigenous students make bold stance against domestic violence

    AFL Cape York House has always done more than coach brilliant young footy players - the boarding house is also raising strong future leaders.

    Students from AFL Cape York House will host a high tea for leading Cairns businesswomen this month, raising funds and awareness for anti-domestic violence services.

    It is the second year the Bungalow-based boarding house have hosted the sold-out event which will feature the Luke Batty Foundation’s Kristy McKellar as keynote speaker along with traditional dances from students.

    Year 12 student Timakoi Bowie will help organise the event along with more than 30 other housemates.

    “We provided table service for the ladies, giving tea and food,” the young Badu Islander says.

    “We have conversations, talk about the House, then we perform a cultural dance to support our stance against domestic violence.

    “It was a fairly big event last year. We have to work harder [this year].”

    House program manager Rick Hanlon says the idea to host a high tea came out of conversations with boarding students about domestic violence.

    “Some of our boys and some of our staff have lived that trauma,” Hanlon says. “It’s real and it’s in all communities.”

    “We talked about hosting an event that invites women of Cairns to AFL Cape York House and for our boys to demonstrate that they don’t believe in or support domestic or family violence.

    “It’s about creating values for our boys and something they can stand for.”

    While the impact the event has on students is hard to gauge, Hanlon says the message is clear.

    “It’s hard to know how much of an effect events like this have on our students because they are so young. Some of our boys are 12 [years-old],” he says.

    “It’s really hard to gauge how they feel but the sad reality is we have a number of boys who have lived this stuff.

    “They’ve seen violence against their mums, grandparents, aunties or sisters. Not all of our boys but some have had some traumatic experiences.

    “The lasting impact has to be that no man has the right to be violent against women, whether that is mentally, sexually or physically.”

    More than 150 guests are expected to attend this year’s high tea on Sunday, October 23.


    (Story from our content partners at Northern Beaches News)