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Boak's important message for young men

PORT ADELAIDE captain Travis Boak rates his mother and two sisters as the most important people in his life, and maintaining a respectful relationship with them was a key part of his message to a group of young men at a special event hosted by the Port Adelaide Football Club last month.

As part of the Power to End Violence Against Women program run by Port Adelaide’s community arm – Power Community Limited – participants were invited to a dinner at the Port Club featuring Boak among special guests.

The young men who had taken part in the program in their schools were asked to bring along a male role model to share their learning.

Boak used the night to discuss respectful relationships using the example of his mother and sisters to explain how he valued them as people and as women.

“When my dad passed away when I was 16, I can’t thank my mum enough for what she’s done for me and the stuff she’s gone though as a person, as a mum, as a grieving wife – and having my sisters there to offer so much support to me has been incredible as well,” he said.

“My younger sister has moved over and now lives with me, she moved over about five years ago, and we have a really close relationship.

“My older sister I’ll always be a big brother to, we’ve had a close relationship since we were kids.

“They’re all incredibly important to me and there is no doubt I am the person I am because of them.”

Boak also discussed the relationships he had within the playing group and with coaches, including senior coach Ken Hinkley who was also in attendance.

Power players Paddy Ryder and Emmanuel Irra gave a talk as well, along with Centacare Deputy Director Pauline Connely, Assistant Minister for Domestic and Family Violence Prevention Carolyn Power and White Ribbon Ambassador Ivan Phillips, who recounted the story of the death of his stepdaughter, Tash, who was killed in a domestic violence incident.

About 60 people attended the evening from various generations with some young men bringing their fathers, uncles or sporting coaches with them for a feed and a yarn.

The group was also given a tour of the football facilities at Alberton Oval.

“We’ve found is that violence against women doesn’t discriminate because of ages and running this event provides us an opportunity to spread the messages to more than just one generation,” said Jake Battifuoco who is the Youth Programs Coordinator for Power Community Limited

“We work with young men throughout the program but then obviously it is really important that they are provided with the opportunity to share their learnings and raise awareness of the issues.

“We got great feedback from people of all generations that it was really empowering.

“For them to have access to listen to Ken Hinkley and Travis Boak, Paddy Ryder and Emmanuel Irra was fantastic, especially hearing about the way they form and maintain respectful relationships both at and away from football.”

Mr Battifuoco said the night gave participants a chance to extend their learning and to see that respectful relationships aren’t limited to those with women – and it helped show how passionate the club was about setting an example within the community.

“Having Ivan Phillips come and share his story as a White Ribbon ambassador painted a really powerful message about the impacts of violence against women and students were then able to talk about it, the impact of it and how people can show resilience against it,” he said.

“It’s really important for everyone to recognise the issue and the role we can all play in stopping it.

“That’s the goal of our program. We don’t want to just go into a school and deliver a two-week program, we want to introduce the boys to the issue and what they can do to prevent it, and then we want them to continue learning about the issue and thinking about how they can show respect to women in different relationships they form now and into the future.

“We speak to them about becoming agents for change and driving real change within their communities – whether that’s in the school, in a sporting club, at home – we want these guys to become leaders among their peers and to have the confidence to be an active bystander or to make other people aware of the issue and the role they can play.”

Developed with Centacare Catholic Services and the Department for Education, the Power to End Violence Against Women program provides young men the opportunity to discuss the issue of violence against women and explore respectful relationships.

The program provides the information and skills necessary for young men to make informed choices to prevent violent behaviours in society.

The program engages over 1500 year 10 students each year across 20 schools

“What Port Adelaide is doing in terms of the Power to End Violence Against Women program is absolutely incredible,” said Assistant Minister for Domestic and Family Violence Prevention, Carolyn Habib on the night.

“The Department of Education is totally behind you 100% in delivering this important program.

“There has never been more awareness of domestic and family violence and the desire to address it than what we have now but the reality of it is that the Government and service providers can’t do anything about it without each and every person who is involved in programs like this, who are stopping to ask what domestic and family violence look like, what respectful relationships look like and how we can all play a role in that.”

“Regardless of what happens on the football field, we all have a role to play to make sure we have respectful relationships with everyone - men, women and children.”

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