There are few things more powerful than a respected celebrity sharing their own personal story. The vulnerability and candour of a famous person can force a spotlight on issues we’re otherwise happier to avoid talking about.
In this sense (and many others) Adam Goodes is a champion.
The 34-year-old Sydney Swans player is really making good on his 2014 Australian of the Year title. He’s a vocal advocate for fairness in sport, Indigenous rights and education, the eradication of racism, and equality. He’s also been an ambassador for White Ribbon Australia since 2009.
And he’s just given a rather beautiful, brave interview to the Australian Women’s Weekly to support the Uncover Secrets campaign.
Adam spoke valiantly to AWW journalist Clair Weaver about the terror he lived with as a boy, growing up in a violent household where he and his brother feared for their safety each night. He’s incredibly close to his mother, Lisa Sansbury, now and speaks of her with such love.
“Mum’s the biggest influence on my life,” Adam told Clair. “I’ve been very lucky to grow up with not only my mum, but my aunties, too. I’ve always had lots of care from different women. That’s why I have a lot of empathy to want to support and help people.”
And that’s exactly what he’s doing. Adam knows the alarming stats about domestic violence only too well.
“Think of three women in your life. Statistically, one of them will report having experienced physical or sexual violence at some point in her life,” Adam said.
“It’s a pretty scary thought, isn’t it? We like to think that our friends and family members are safe; that something like this wouldn’t happen to them. Sadly, it is extremely common, under-reported and hidden.
“As a White Ribbon Ambassador, as Australian of the Year, as a man, I am committed to helping uncover Australia’s dark secret. That secret is the true and shocking extent of men’s violence against women in Australia where at least one woman is killed every week by a current or former partner.”
White Ribbon Australia CEO Libby Davies says that Goodes is a remarkable role model for young boys and grown men alike. For such a prominent athlete to encourage people to speak out against violence against women is immensely helpful to the cause. Adam has asked that we all safely and effectively challenge the attitudes and behaviours of men who use or condone violence against women.
“Good men cannot and will not sit on the sidelines while those they love are at risk of harm,” Ms Davies said.
“The White Ribbon Campaign is about recognising the positive role that men play in preventing violence against women. It fosters and encourages male leadership in the prevention of violence against women, based on the understanding that most men are good men who abhor such violence. Adam exemplifies this critical role in the campaign.”
You can learn more about the Uncover Secrets campaign here.