Home' Rotary Down Under : November 2016 Contents MAILBOX
| 10 | ISSUE 589 NOVEMBER 2016
The Rotary Club of Gymea, NSW, recently had to hand
in its charter. Before their final meeting, the club received
the following letter from Rohan Draper, a former
Rotary Exchange Student, whose father is a member
of the club...
Dear president and club members,
reflection, emotion and celebration, I find myself sitting at
Vienna airport waiting for my flight back to Stockholm –
“the Venice of the north” – the place my Rotary journey
was to begin over a decade ago. It seems fitting and
poignant that two such events should coincide, and that
as one who you have forever changed – a beneficiary and
example of your hard work and dedication – that I should
weigh in on the morrow’s proceedings with some humble
words of appreciation.
Your club has enabled and inspired many people over
your many years of voluntary service to both the local and
global community. A phrase that inevitably comes to mind
is one coined by Geoffrey Chaucer: “All good things must
come to an end.” In this instance, I believe that all the
good things you and your club have achieved and have
been involved in live on: through the values you have
promoted, because of the dedication you have displayed
and within the lives that have been enriched.
These past two years, my journey has returned to
Stockholm, Sweden, where I have been working for
the Swedish Bureau of Statistics. An opportunity made
possible due to my introduction to Sweden in 2003 as a
Rotary Exchange Student.
Hold your heads high, raise your glasses with a sense of
pride – you have achieved your mission: “Providing service
to others, promoting integrity, and the advancement
of world understanding, goodwill and peace through
fellowship with business, professional and community
When you close your meeting today for the final time,
know that you have an ambassador out in the world living
the same values you have promoted.
It’s not said enough, and nor is it often said in a timely
manner, but I hope I’ve snuck it in just in the nick of time
Family violence not a gender issue
Domestic violence is a tragedy. We should
stand united in supporting victims of abuse
wherever it occurs. Help them get back on
their feet, to get on with their lives.
My insight – contention if you like – is
that family violence is not a gender issue.
Relationships break down for a variety of
reasons, with anger of one or both parties
being a major factor. Neither gender has a
monopoly on anger. Each party has to accept
responsibility for their own actions and
should attempt to resolve rather than
Consider this: men are generally stronger
than women, and if they do take their hands
out of their pockets they will likely cause
substantial damage. Yet it is hardly a
secret that women are also prone to
anger and violence.
A view from the inside
As a victim of domestic violence, I was
heartened to see Rotary Down Under’s feature
on domestic violence last month.
The support I received from police and the
court system was limited. Restraining orders
were not enforced and I was made to visit my
father unsupervised and against my will. The
PTSD I suffer will likely affect me for life.
Men are sometimes victims of partner
violence from women, however, as indicated
by study after study, it is an uncomfortable
truth in our generally gender equal society
that men are overwhelmingly perpetrators. Of
course, this is not all men, I have many lovely
adult male friends, however, boys like Luke
Batty and girls like myself are overwhelmingly
victims. We need to look deeply at this issue as
a society and our effectiveness at protecting
our vulnerable – particularly our children.
Supervised visits out of reach for many
If access is granted under supervision (and
not by a relative) this can be a real financial
hardship. The high price charged by contract
supervisors is beyond the means of many of
those in need within our communities, which
is a disgrace. Perhaps Rotary should consider
using community houses and supervise
parental visits if they really wanted to calm
down the situation.
To those clubs doing work in this area,
I commend your efforts. Individuals need
assistance, but I ask you to question if your
programs have a gender bias.
Links Archive October 2016 Dec-Jan 2016-17 Navigation Previous Page Next Page