Last week, our little family, The Mister, Ms 4 , Mr 2 and myself, participated in the 2015 Walk For Prems. It was a great day, and we all had fun! Although it was quite windy for much of the day, it didn’t seem to put anyone off and there was a great crowd gathered around Albert Park Lake in Melbourne. The Walk For Prems is a regular Walk, that raises funds for the Life’s Little Treasures Foundation. Life’s Little Treasures Foundation is Australia’s leading charity dedicated to the families of babies born sick or prior to 37 weeks gestation. This year, the aim is to raise $250,000 and the walk was held in six cities around Australia simultaneously. The major sponsor for the race, was Medela. Medela understands the importance of human milk in the NICU and know that the content of human milk makes a considerable contribution to the best possible development of premature babies. According to Medela CEO, Jarrod Percy, the organisation is looking forward to helping the foundation in the very valuable work it does to support the families of premature and sick babies.
We have been blessed with healthy, full term pregnancies with both our children, and feel incredibly grateful for this. When I was presented with the opportunity to participate in the walk with Team Medela, to raise awareness and funds, I discussed it with The Mister and we both agreed it would be a great way to support those that have not been as lucky as we have.
You see, this cause is also important to us, as we have friends who have experienced the roller coaster ride that comes with the premature birth of your baby. Their little man Thomas was born at 27 weeks. What followed was three months in the Royal Children’s Hospital with surgeries, IV tubes, humidicribs and more. The family received support from Life’s Little Treasures, and others throughout this bewildering and scary time. Eventually, they were able to take their wee little man home, where he received lots of early intervention in the form of physiotherapists and occupational therapists from the Royal Children’s Hospital. Thomas is now in primary school, and continues to work on his motor skills and is also learning keyboard, riding his bike and participating in running try outs. He is an amazing little man, who in the words of his mum “is a very caring boy who loves learning about the world he lives in and it has been possible because of the Royal Children’s Hospital including all the staff and availability of equipment”.
It’s amazing what babies and families can do when they have the right supports in place. The Life’s Little Treasures Foundation want to ensure that no family endures the traumatic and life changing experience of having a premature of sick baby without easy access to critical information and community support to help them through their journey. The Walk For Prems event continues to raise money, and in the last three years has raised half a million dollars. The actual Walk was great – there was such a fun atmosphere, with families walking with their babies and kids and even their dogs! There were prams and toddlers and lots and lots of teams walking for the little one in their life who made their way into the world too early. At the end of the walk, the kids enjoyed music and food and all sorts of fun activities. It was a great day!
If you would like to find out more about the work that Life’s Little Treasures do to support prem babies and their families, click here. And if you feel like you would like to donate some money, and help the Foundation reach their goal of $250,000 you can do so here.
Have your kids participated in a fundraising walk/run? How did they go? I would love to know!
Anyone who lives in Australia can’t help but be aware of the commentary this week surrounding AFL player Adam Goodes and racism. It’s been an issue brewing for some time, and it boiled over this week into a seemingly unstoppable flood of outrage, denial, anger and hurt. For most of the week I’ve listened to and read a lot of people’s opinions. I’ve felt a rising sense of frustration and disbelief. I’ve nearly called ABC 774 several times! I’ve never called radio talk back! Frankly, the only thing stopping me calling in has been the two small children yelling for my attention every 2.3 seconds!
I’ve had a page of notes on my phone and my computer, waiting for me to form into a coherent post. And then yesterday, I decided to email my club, the North Melbourne Kangaroos. I wanted to know what they were going to do to support Adam Goodes. I’m a paid member, so I wanted to know. I intended to write a quick email, just to find out if anything was planned. But it became longer, as I explained why I was so concerned. And it clarified to me just why I have been so upset by the lack of respect shown to Adam Goodes. By the apparent intelligent people I know who have so easily dismissed him as a ‘sook’, as ‘thin skinned’. As someone who needs to ‘man up’. It’s for my children. It frightens me, that in this day and age, our country still struggles to address this issue, to discuss the matter in a mature fashion. So this is what I wrote to the club:
I wanted to contact the club today regarding Adam Goodes. I have become increasingly upset and I have to say angry at the way he has been treated. As a paying member of NMFC I was wondering if the club was planning or talking about ways to show support for Adam Goodes?
The current commentary and fan reaction to Adam has made me feel angry and upset, because it makes me question – can I take my small kids to live matches, when this behaviour is accepted and apparently encouraged (by ex-players saying he is a ‘sook’ etc). I want my kids to feel that AFL is a community that they will feel safe in, that they will feel AFL will give them opportunities, joy and a sense of team. I do not want them to learn that bullying is ‘normal’, that racism is normal or that men cannot express feelings or discuss matters that are emotionally important to them.
I really did not know where else to express this opinion at this point, but I figured as a member of NMFC I could start here.
I love this game, I love this club. I do not love this concerted campaign against one of the greatest players we have.
I’m pleased to say they got back to me really quickly, explaining that they were finalising plans and would be updating fans soon.
Today, I have felt slightly less upset by this, and a little more hopeful. Of course, some actual leadership by our politicians would be nice, but let’s not hold our breath for miracles. But perhaps now, this is a tipping point into a discussion that we need to have. Perhaps this will be a catalyst for broader understanding and acceptance. Let’s just hope we haven’t let an outstanding leader, advocate and person be broken in the process.
Recently you may have seen that Mark Latham decided to write down his opinion on Rosie Batty, domestic violence and how things just aren’t like they used to be. And the editors at the Financial Review, in their wisdom, decided yet again, to publish his writings. If you haven’t read it, and feel you must, click here.
I wasn’t going to write a post about his nonsensical ramblings, but I’m furious. Furious that someone who apparently has the capacity to access the statistics and to talk to the relevant people can write such ill-informed, disrespectful and damaging twaddle. If you don’t want to read it, fair enough. The gist of it, from my reading, was this: he started off questioning how Rosie Batty is grieving her child, reminiscing for the days when the ‘working class’ would keep their grief private (I am not joking, he used those terms). He then moved on to having a go at her for speaking at events, like business functions, and for having an agency who arranged her bookings for these events. He bemoaned the way we turn grief into celebrity these days. He had a go at several writers for airing their issues in public, and made light of one man’s discussion on alcoholism, by stating that his writing made him feel like drinking. Hilarious. The ultimate point of his piece then seemed to come through, where he attempts to argue that the issue of domestic violence is a fiction made up by left feminists, and it only really affects indigenous and “other underclass communities” anyway. Yes, he refers to indigenous people as “underclass” and apparently anyone else who experiences domestic violence is also a part of the “underclass”. Wait, what? What year are we in?
So here are some of the things that sprang to mind upon reading this. Mainly, why the hell is the Financial Review still publishing this drivel? But also; who is Mark Latham to dictate how a person grieves? Who is he to tell Rosie Batty that she isn’t grieving her murdered child in the correct fashion? How are we at a point, as a community, where it’s ok for someone to so publicly shake their head and ‘tsk tsk’ at a woman who is working through a grief that will be life long, life changing and very nearly soul destroying? Rosie Batty must every day deal with the violent loss of her son, and every day she manages to get up and step into the world with the purpose of helping others and preventing more family violence. Oh yes, truly worthy of dressing down.
To the comments on her being represented by an agency, and horror of horrors, being paid for her work: This is coming from a man who works within an industry where people regularly use agencies to manage their speaking appearances, his ‘dismay’ is questionable. He is pedalling smoke and mirrors. Having an agency representing her merely means she has someone sorting out her speaking appearances, whilst she gets on with the actual work. You know, the important work, of speaking, educating and raising awareness of an epidemic of violence that in the majority, impacts on women. Women like you, me, your sister, cousin, girlfriend, colleague, boss, mother.
To his claim that the idea that women from all socio-economic communities are at risk from domestic violence being a “Big Lie” of the feminist left. Well, one can only imagine he hasn’t actually read anything about domestic violence in Australia. He follows this up with this zinger. That domestic violence is concentrated in indigenous and “other underclass communities”. Putting aside the charming, retro use of the word “underclass”, so what? Just because there is a higher prevalence in indigenous communities means we shouldn’t speak about it? Shouldn’t do anything to address it? The truth is, the numbers are so high that it means it is prevalent across all communities. Low, middle and high socio-economic.
His assertions that Rosie Batty is putting women at risk is not only insulting, but also flies in the face of all that is known by those who have actually studied, worked, researched or experienced family violence. You know, the ACTUAL experts. Being an ‘almost’ important person, does not make you an expert.
Being a white, privileged, “well educated”, well paid male does not give you the right to belittle the indigenous, the working class or to dismiss the ongoing horrific experience of thousands of women. An experience forced upon them by men.
Feeling miffed because a “working class” (I shit you not, he referenced ‘working class’) woman isn’t sitting at home hiding her grief does not give you the right to belittle her, nor does it make you an expert on family violence.
I’ve worked with it, I’ve sent it. I personally know women who are well educated, well employed, highly regarded, white and other, who have experienced varying degrees of violence against them. By well educated, well employed, well regarded white men. Because they are women. Don’t be fooled by his apparently racist, sexist dismissive ramblings. This issue is huge, it is relevant and his scared, pitiful whining against the “left wing feminists” ie women who don’t conduct themselves in a golden age, 1950’s fashion, speak more of his fearful close mindedness, than anything actually resembling fact.
Well Mark Latham, here’s my opinion. We are not in the 1950’s anymore. We are no longer shackled by old fashioned views on grief, violence, abuse and the role of women. Men and women today are able to talk about the terrible things that can happen in our society because as we evolve as a society we recognise that education is important. Education where we tell young men and women that violence of any kind is not acceptable. We do not hide at home in our grief anymore, unless that is what we want to do. Indigenous people and women ARE NOT underclass. Violence against women DOES happen across all parts of our society and WE ALL need to do more about it. Rosie Batty suffered an unthinkable loss, and has somehow managed to focus her life so that to help others. To speak up, to make others aware and to educate our society on the violence that is harming women and children daily. For that, we should be gathering around Rosie, lending her our strength and asking what can we do? We should be standing with her. I know I am.
My heart has been heavy these last few days. It aches for the mothers of Andrew Chan and Myuran Sukumaran and the other inmates who faced the firing squad with them. For all the mothers, the fathers, the families of those waiting on death row around this world. What a terrible, despairing wait that must be.
I’m well aware that there are so, so many awful events happening at this time. The rising toll in Nepal. The rising toll of women being murdered because they are women. Riots in Baltimore. The thing is, it seems I can have an opinion, thoughts and feelings on more than one topic at a time. One tragedy does not negate another.
The thing about capital punishment is, that it’s not a deterrent – and that is not just me saying that. Amnesty International conducted research into this. And look at the ABC’s Fact Checker. So then, is it punishment? They’ve already been punished, by their prison sentence. They could be sentenced to a life term. Why rehabilitate just to kill them? It makes it feel like revenge to me. Like making a nasty point.
What about a second chance, learning? We all make mistakes, especially when we’re young. And aren’t I lucky to have made minor mistakes when I was young. Aren’t I lucky to have had the support system in place so that I wasn’t in a situation where I could make such a mistake? Aren’t I lucky that I haven’t fallen through a crack, stumbled at the wrong time. There but for the grace of god…….
There was a tweet from one of our politicians, and I cannot find it now, but it basically said that capital punishment is a gross abuse of state power. Who are ‘we’ to take life? Why should others be made to do it on our behalf?
Shouldn’t society or the community take the responsibility for the failures that result in these young people making these mistakes, ending up in these situations? Killing them is not taking responsibility. Killing them seems like shirking that responsibility.
It is a regressive act and gains nothing. Keeping these men alive, in jail, where they could educate, heal and even save others would have been far more beneficial to the community. Killing them only means that now, they aren’t there. Fellow inmates can’t learn from them. They won’t be able to speak to others anymore. And it won’t stop others. Especially those in desperate times. Those who feel they have no choice. Those who feel trapped, threatened, alone.
I’m not talking about not punishing. It’s about being the better person. Taking the ‘higher ground’. Remembering they are human beings. Developing and demonstrating a moral and ethical choice to those that we are responsible for. I’m not saying that it’s easy. Terrible crimes need to have consequences. There does need to be an element of punishment, deterrent and rehabilitation involved. But adding more dead bodies and destroying more families.
How does that help?