Catholic College Wodonga students offer confronting insight into domestic violence

PORTRAYING PAIN: Year 11 student Chelsea Probyn and veteran actor John Walker performed vignettes for staff in the Agriculture Victoria Wodonga office on Wednesday. Picture: SHANA MORGAN.
PORTRAYING PAIN: Year 11 student Chelsea Probyn and veteran actor John Walker performed vignettes for staff in the Agriculture Victoria Wodonga office on Wednesday. Picture: SHANA MORGAN.

Comedy veteran John Walker was not afraid to play the bad guy when he joined with Catholic College Wodonga drama students to illustrate the impacts of domestic violence.

The former Full Frontal actor, who is now based in the North East, was the special guest at an event hosted by Agriculture Victoria on Wednesday.

Mr Walker and year 11 students Daniel Hall, Chelsea Probyn and Kiara Fraser performed a series of vignettes for staff in the Wodonga office, designed to be a confronting example of what can happen when people are faced with violence and discrimination in their lives.

He played a employer conducting a job interview with a woman, caring more about his multi-million company than her son’s anxiety and depression.

It left the applicant, portrayed by Ms Probyn, to worry about gender inequality in the workplace because she was “treated as an issue rather than a human” and was left to ask: “is there something wrong with me?”.

Mr Walker was impressed with the students, who took time out of rehearsing for their school production for the performance on domestic violence.

“They’ve picked up their scripts at rather late notice,” he said.

“They’ve embraced the issue and given it a real lot of thought.”

IMPORTANT MESSAGE: John Walker and Kiara Fraser tackled the subject of gender inequality.

IMPORTANT MESSAGE: John Walker and Kiara Fraser tackled the subject of gender inequality.

Agriculture Victoria’s Amy Moore said it was important to hold the event so staff who may be experiencing the burden of domestic violence could understand they were not alone.

“We’re here to raise awareness and we’re here to raise funds for the White Ribbon organisation,” she said.

Molly Alexander from yes unlimited was the guest speaker, saying domestic violence was one of the biggest causes of homelessness.

She said violence happened across all ages and cultures, and while the most significant occurrence was violence towards women, men were victims as well.

One of the causes of violence was the idea that women should be polite, while men could take part in their culture by being more aggressive.

“I understand and appreciate that it’s difficult for people to sit there and speak out and challenge those ideas and values that are so ingrained in society, but coming together today is a part of that,” Ms Alexander said.

“We do need to stand together and challenge those society values because that’s how we’re going to get rid of violence in our community altogether.”

Anyone experiencing domestic violence can contact the NSW domestic violence hotline on 1800 656 463 or Victorian Safe Steps Family Violence Response Centre on 1800 015 188.