DAVID Peachey was a passionate player during his days playing for Cronulla and South Sydney in the NRL.
His inspired runs from the fullback position brought many football fans to their feet and helped earn him a spot in the NSW side for the 2000 State of Origin series. (And has any pair of hands been safer under the high ball?)
That passion is now reflected in David's work as an ambassador with the Let's Tackle Domestic Violence (LTDV) program.
He and fellow rugby league star Nathan Blacklock (the top try scorer in the NRL competition for three consecutive seasons between 1999 and 2001) travel all over NSW visiting communities to educate men about domestic violence issues.
David and Nathan spoke at the annual Sistas On About Resilience (SOAR) dinner in Goonellabah on Friday.
"When I was first asked about being involved with LTDV, it was all about using my profile to help with the program," David told The Echo. "Then when I found out more about the issues, I found it to be a really good cause. My passion for it has grown from there."
Lee-Ann Emzin, the development officer for Lismore City Council's Aboriginal Community Services, explained that the SOAR project pairs local young Aboriginal women in high school with older Indigenous women who have established careers. These older women act as mentors. They empower the younger women to embrace education as a pathway to career success and build personal resilience to resolve their own life issues.
She said Friday's dinner sent a strong message about domestic violence to the young participants.
"If Aboriginal people of influence get up and say that all forms of violence are not okay, that sends an incredibly powerful message to these young women," she said.
For David and Nathan, who work and speak mostly with men, it was a change to be addressing women at the dinner - a change they appreciated.
"It's really good to have the opportunity to show women how hard we've worked to get men to stand up against domestic violence," Nathan said.
"It's exciting to talk to women about what we're doing," David added. "We can tell them we're making headway. We feel there has been a big change in attitude by men in communities towards domestic violence."
Lee-Ann was well pleased about how the evening went. The 70 women participants each wrote down how they felt about the event.
"When I got home I was so excited, I stoked the fire, got a glass of wine and went through the evaluations from the women right then," she said.
"I was really proud that the night had given those women the power, strength and the resources to develop strategies to deal with domestic violence in their community and their own lives."