Monthly Archives: October 2018

New phone number to connect women experiencing domestic violence with support instantly

A portrait of a domestic violence victim. Photo: Wolter Peeters NSW Attorney-General Gabrielle Upton says it’s critical women receive timely support. Photo: Supplied.
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The knock at the door would bring the end of three years’ isolation, mental torture and violence. But it filled Catherine* with fear.

“They said, ‘It’s the police’,” she recalls. “But I was thinking: ‘Is it?’.”

Catherine is now six months clear of a three-year relationship she says was marked by constant monitoring and the gradual withering of all contact with family and friends.

It ended with the neighbours hearing screams, an ambulance, hospital and police.

But it could have, Catherine thinks now, been over sooner.

She had thoughts of getting out earlier. A call to Lifeline didn’t produce much.

“I just didn’t want to be here any more,” she recalls.

But she is speaking out this week to promote a new state government phone number for victims of domestic abuse.

Women are connected directly to the Domestic Violence Court Advocacy Service and services providing counselling, financial support, legal advice.

“For the first time a single, easy to remember number will connect a victim directly with the local Women’s Domestic Violence Court Advocacy Service (WDVCAS) when they enter a postcode,” said the NSW Attorney-General Gabrielle Upton.

Ms Upton said the service would also offer women free and timely local advice.

For Catherine, who later received support from the WDVCAS, the court appearance that followed the visit from police was perhaps her hardest moment.

“I literally collapsed, I was vomiting, shaking, crying and there was a room full of us, some of them with black eyes,” she said. “You’re all in the safe area, but if you’ve got to go to the toilet you can’t avoid contact.”

She had questions about every stage of the process. What would she be asked on the witness stand? What would happen if she bumped into her ex on a city street?

It’s those questions the hotline will be able to answer, said Susan Smith, who is the coordinator for the Sydney WDVCAS.

“Things will happen a lot quicker,” Ms Smith said. “We can make sure services reach women, rather than women trying to reach services.

“We’d always encourage everyone to call police. But this will be of great benefit to women who need to establish safe living arrangements before they do.”

About 35,000 women received support through the WDVCAS last year.

The phone number is 1800 WDVCAS (1800 938 227).

*Name has been changed.

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Asaro ‘Mud Men’ bring their masks to Sydney in first trip from PNG

The Asaro Mud Men are in residence at the Australian Museum for the school holidays. Photo: Steven Siewert The Komunive men put bamboo on their fingers as they wear the masks to create an intimidating show. Photo: Steven Siewert
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With their skin painted white and clay masks on their faces, they almost look like statues.

But the Komunive men are alive, and the same is true of their culture – which will be showcased this week in a residence at the Australian Museum in central Sydney.

The tribe, from the Asaro Valley in Papua New Guinea’s eastern highlands, have rich traditions that include putting on an eerie show intended to intimidate their enemies. Men don the masks, rub white clay on their bodies, elongate their fingers with bamboo, and play bamboo flutes as they perform a dance for about five minutes.

Each mask, known as a Holosa, is made from coils of white clay sourced from rich local deposits. Just two senior men sculpt the intricate faces, using their hands and some wooden tools in a process that can take up to a day before the mask is left to air dry.

Steven Alderton, the director of programs, exhibitions and cultural collections at the Australian Museum, said the Komunive tribe was approached about six months ago to make their first trip out of PNG. Four people, of several hundred in Komunive, were chosen to make the journey.

The men, including one of the Komunive mask-makers, arrived in Sydney on Friday night accompanied by two documentary filmmakers who captured their first plane journey. Until then, the largest city they had seen was nearby Goroka, which has a population of about 20,000 people.

The group brought generous amounts of clay from the Asaro Valley, which will be used to make four masks while they are at the Australian Museum this week. The masks – sculpted by the most senior of the men, while the others prepare the coils of clay – will be added to the museum’s sprawling collection, which is the largest of PNG artefacts in the world.

Mr Alderton said everyone should grasp the rare opportunity to learn about Komunive and its people.

“It’s great to bring people like the Asaro to Sydney and for people to meet, talk and interact with our neighbours from Papua New Guinea,” he said.

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AFL grand final 2016: Sydney Swans’ Gary Rohan set for redemption against Western Bulldogs

When Sydney Swans forward Gary Rohan says losing the 2014 grand final to Hawthorn is the worst experience of his footballing career, it pays to heed his words.
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They come from a man who suffered a sickening leg injury in 2012, a compound fracture that at the time looked career-threatening and that ultimately led to the AFL changing the rules around players sliding in down low when going after the football.

Rohan suffered another injury just a week and a half ago and his season looked over after leaving the field on a mobile stretcher in the first half of Sydney’s semi-final win over Adelaide. But he made a miraculous recovery to play against Geelong last Friday.

Now he has another shot at winning an AFL premiership, a chance he was denied by that broken leg in 2012 when the Swans won their last flag.

As bittersweet as missing that grand final was, the 63-point shellacking dealt out to the Swans in the 2014 decider still rankles more frequently in Rohan’s mind.

“That feeling I had after that game was the worst I’ve ever felt. Hopefully I can come back with the win this year, be more upbeat,” Rohan said.

“The feeling when the boys won in 2012, the look on their face. I just want to have that feeling, I’m doing all I can not to do 2014 again.

“My experience from 2014 as in knowing when to zone out from footy, that sort of stuff, controlling my nerves as well, those things will come into play.

“I was still wired up after the parade [the night before], I was just on a high. This time I’ll no doubt have to shut it down and just focus on the game.”

That Rohan is even available for Saturday’s game looked an impossibility two weekends ago when he was left crumpled on the SCG after a painful marking contest.

He’d copped a knock just beneath his right knee at the top end of his tibia and fibula, which were rebuilt in 2012 with a metal rod running the length of his shin and four screws.

Initially it looked as if Rohan had suffered a serious knee injury, and the mobile stretcher came on to the ground to carry him from the field and back down to the change rooms.

“I went up to spoil the ball, just drove my knee into the pack and I think it just hit me on the right spot, there was a bit of a shock through the leg,” Rohan said.

“From breaking my leg in 2012 I just thought the worst. I didn’t know what it was but I thought straight up that I did something pretty serious. I was kind of pretty devastated thinking that this year was over.

“As soon as I got the scans done that night and everything got ruled out I was pretty happy.

“I had a couple of sleepless nights just icing up and getting any of the swelling out. I had a couple of hours each night for the first three nights – just watching tele, I had my dog there on the couch with me it was all right.

“I caught up on the sleep later in the week.

“I got to Wednesday training here, trained well, pulled up well and from that I had the full confidence that I’d get up for the game.”

Rohan said he played with no pain against the Cats, and he was heavily involved kicking two goals and occasionally played down back.

Now he’s only four quarters of football away from avenging the heartache of the 2014 grand final, and the excruciating pain that came in 2012.   This story Administrator ready to work first appeared on Nanjing Night Net. Continue reading

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AFL finals 2016: Geelong over & out

Constant tease: Cats small forward Steven Motlop has decent currency as a potential trade. Photo: Quinn RooneyFinishing position 2016 – 3rd, 17 wins, 5 losses (143.8%) Finals: 1 win, 1 loss.
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Finishing position 2015 – 10th, 11 wins, 9 losses, 1 draw (101.1%)

Players used: 33 – The Cats used only 33 players for the season, fewer than any team bar Adelaide.

Debutants:  2 (Tom Ruggles – round 3 v Brisbane; Sam Menegola – round 18 v Adelaide)

First games for club: Patrick Dangerfield, Lachie Henderson, Scott Selwood, Zac Smith.

Retiring/delisted: To be announced.

Outlook for 2017: The preliminary final loss to Sydney was hugely disappointing, but it shouldn’t be allowed to completely overshadow a season good enough to earn Geelong second spot on the ladder after the home-and-away rounds.

The Cats loaded up on senior experience pre-season with the acquisition of Patrick Dangerfield, Lachie Henderson, Scott Selwood and Zac Smith, ambitious for a side which didn’t make last year’s finals.

But the gambit largely delivered. Dangerfield was outstanding all season, Henderson was valuable in defence, Smith helped make Geelong’s rucks more competitive and while Selwood was largely kept out of it by injury, even he showed he has something to offer in the last five games of the season.

It took some time for the influx of talent to click consistently, and the Cats dropped several games unexpectedly, most notably against Collingwood, Carlton and St Kilda. But they had begun to really hit their stride during the back-end of the season, their eight straight wins the most consistent form line of any of the preliminary finalists.

There’s no reason Geelong can’t again give the flag a shake in 2017, though there are some important list decisions to be made first.

The future of veteran Jimmy Bartel has already been the subject of plenty of discussion, and while Corey Enright had a wonderful season which earned All-Australian selection, his tears post-game last Friday night prompted questions about whether he intended playing on. Questions will also linger over the futures of defenders Andrew Mackie and Tom Lonergan.

Up forward, meanwhile, Mitch Clark’s AFL career appears over. Despite overcoming a calf injury mid-season, he was used in just one game.

He’s not the only forward who will be the subject of some discussion, either, with tall forward Nathan Vardy seemingly on the outer and spending the entire season at VFL level, Shane Kersten dropped towards the end and out of contract, and small forward Steven Motlop a constant tease and with decent currency as a potential trade.

They will be intriguing decisions, because while the forward set-up often looked unsettled, and too much key forward responsibilities were left with Tom Hawkins, Geelong still finished the season the third-highest scoring team in the competition and was also one of the more efficient.

Geelong’s midfield was also exposed a little for depth and quality beyond the top end in the preliminary final loss to Sydney.

While the “Dangerwood” combination of Dangerfield and Joel Selwood at its peak was unstoppable, the performances of their support midfielders fluctuated too often, Sam Menegola having real impact when he came into the team late in the season, but Cam Guthrie, Mitch Duncan and Josh Caddy all having their flat spots.

Yet the positives still outweigh the negatives for the Cats. Coach Chris Scott said repeatedly getting his still relatively new-looking line-up to gel consistently would be the challenge. And but for a disappointing finish, Geelong just about nailed it.

Another pre-season to tweak around the edges and the motivation of pulling up one week short this year should see them very close to the mark again in 2017.

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Why it’s business as usual for Bob’s Bulldogs

Bob Murphy watches the Footscray VFL side celebrate their grand final win on Sunday. Photo: Darrian Traynor/AFL MediaThe Western Bulldogs will be inspired by captain Bob Murphy’s business-as-usual attitude more than the heartbreaking injury that will have him sit out the grand final, according to his stand-in.
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Easton Wood, who has led the team in Murphy’s absence, said his teammate would never allow his predicament to become a distraction for the players leading into the game against Sydney.

He expected Murphy to guide the players through the most important week of their footballing lives the same way he has since becoming skipper, with an innate sense of how the group is feeling and what they need from him.

Murphy broke into tears when he greeted his teammates on the ground on Saturday night, after they had beaten the Giants and won their way through to the club’s first grand final since 1961.

“Pride only scratches at the surface,” he tweeted after the game.

“As cliched as it sounds, it’s going to be business as usual for us this week because Bob would never allow it to be anything but that. There’s no way he would ever allow that to happen,” Wood said.

“He would never let us get distracted from the job at hand, because he’s our captain and our leader and his role this week will be exactly the same as it has been the whole way along.

“We wouldn’t be here without him and the influence he’s had on us this year and over time, we definitely wouldn’t be, and we feel as if he’ll be there with us this week because he really will be.

“Bob’s role this week is to do what he’s been doing every week, to use his innate intuition and feel for the group to help steer us through, and to deliver any messages he has with the eloquence he always has.” Pride only scratches at the surface. Our team … Our club! Brothers and sisters of Footscray, pick up your dancing shoes!— Bob Murphy (@BobMurphy02) September 24, 2016

Although Wood has learnt many things while captaining the team through Murphy’s absence, he said the most significant lesson was one of the very first things Murphy passed on after being injured in the last few seconds of round three.

“It’s funny, the more I’ve learnt over time the more I keep coming back to what Bob said to me when it all happened, which is that all you can ever be is you, and that’s going to be enough no matter what,” Wood said.

“In the beginning I think I was trying to control too many things, but there comes a point where you just have to give in to yourself and also start to lean on all the help you have around you.

“It’s not a job to do on your own, because the more you try and do it on your own the more you start to separate yourself from the job and the worst job you do because you’re not being you.

“The longer it’s gone on, I think I’ve got better at trusting myself, at trusting my intuition and leaning on others more.” This story Administrator ready to work first appeared on Nanjing Night Net. Continue reading

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