Growing up for me, I wasn’t with community. I was not fortunate to have community around me as a kid growing up, being sort of removed from family and removed from you know that really strong cultural identity, that especially the western Nyawaygi people that we have up in North Queensland. So I grew up largely down here in Sydney and growing up you know wasn’t easy. When I was about 11 years old. I started walking a pretty you know sort of dangerous path that sort of escalated really quickly.
When I travelled back to far Northern Queensland at 17 for the first time, to be with my grandfather, what I found was a very different narrative. I was submerged headfirst into culture, and I really felt myself rebuilt with great strength.
I think respectful relationships are the crux of everything. As a father, I tell my kids that as long as you have respect and manners, then that’s pretty much all that you need in life.
What I see is largely something that I really struggle with is when there can be a narrative or conversation around violence towards women, whether it’s belittling them, whether it’s sort of running commentary, often just dismiss it, or joke, you know. as if to say if we laugh about it, it’s going to go away quicker.
Unless we’re brave enough to have the conversation with the people we love the most, we’re not going to stop this. But what we can’t do is excuse it because they’re our friend.
The more men stand up together and start calling this out, the more people that are going to reach out for help.
But I think we have to be brave enough to actually say that violence doesn’t exist in our culture and we won’t tolerate it. It’s something that I don’t want to live and breathe in the next generation of our kids.
But if we’re not brave enough as adults to have the conversations with our kids well then it is just keep going to keep going on and on and it just doesn’t deserve a place in our houses because we need strong kids they carry our future and if we take the strength away from our kids then we have nothing left.
We have to stop the excuses from the very start.
My personal story is I was raised in a home of alcoholism and drug addiction and witnessed family violence at a young age and when I went into my teens I was in a relationship of family violence and a lot of drug and alcohol abuse. After that I went on another journey of recovery, had my own children, gone back to study education and trying to empower communities about family violence.
Hi, I’m Lani Brennan. My family is from Cunnumulla in Queensland and my mother’s Maori from New Zealand. I think this campaign’s really important for our people, due to we need empowerment in communities. We need to work a lot with prevention – I love prevention work – because the next generation – they’re going to be our leaders and our role models in community. I think particularly when it comes to Aboriginal communities, a lot of issues are raised because of men’s business, women’s business – and I truly believe in that – but as well I think we need to come together as men and women and children for prevention on all these issues that are in our communities
I believe in storytelling – listening to the elders, respecting elders, and as well bringing it back to country and to healing and kinship care and stuff – and a lot of our kids have lost that.
But I’ve taught my kids as well – cause I’ve got 6 daughters. Like I’ve taught them to don’t ever to let anyone put you down, and I try and teach them what’s degrading and not and what’s a positive, you know, relationship and what’s not. And they talk to their friends about that now so I can see that whole ripple effect that what we talk about at home they will take out into society for themselves – not just for themselves, but for their family, you know their friends and their community.
When someone’s been through so much trauma, you know – I used to think my trauma was going to reflect onto my kids and I never understood that while I was healing myself by talking – you know, no my kids are going to be OK if I can talk to them like that.
Respect to me, its everything. If you don’t respect yourself or respect another person, where are we ever going to be in the world. You know, and I think with this campaign, what it’s going to show really what it’s all about. And not just respecting another person – respecting your own self.