Fed Up Lunch

Michael Jones and his mates, mostly friends from his school days at St Leonards College, were talking one day about violence against women and the all too common incidents reported in the media. “I thought of the women I hold dear - my mother, my sister, my wife, my daughter and the thought of anything like that happening to them was pretty chilling,” Michael said.

“No woman or child should have to suffer family violence, but there were about 65,000 reported cases of family violence in Victoria last year. What’s worse is that more than 70 Australian women died last year at the hands of a current or former partner. These are alarming numbers, and we all need to work to stop this.”

Michael and his friends have organised the inaugural Fed Up Lunch to be held on February 21 next year at Flemington and they are hoping to raise more than $15,000 for McAuley Community Services for Women.

“My mates and I felt compelled to try and improve the situation and realised the best response was to use our skills to raise money so that people who work with women could have more resources to do what they do. We looked around for a service that was doing great work for women and children who are escaping family violence and found McAuley Community Services for Women.”

The theme for the lunch at the Black Caviar Lightning Stakes Day is, We’re Fed Up With Family Violence.

The five men thought $15,000 was an ambitious target, but now know they underestimated the feelings of other members of the community who want to do something to support those who flee family violence. Importantly, they also want to ‘reach blokes’ and make a clear statement in the community that men don’t support violence against women. In fact, they want to try and stop it in whatever ways they can.

Peter Fraser (pictured), Michael’s friend and co-planner said while most men are horrified by the rate of violence against women, the fact that 65,000 cases are reported in Victoria each year means that a lot of men are violent to women.

“Violence against women isn’t a female issue, it’s an issue that the whole community needs to own. I think things are changing and people are trying to better understand the issues. Hopefully, events like ours will help the education side of the campaign against violence,” Peter said.

“The five of us organising this lunch all had an understanding that family violence does happen, but not the scale of the problem. We are all in our 30s, we have skills and networks – what better way to use them?”

“We have been surprised how supportive other blokes have been and we are hoping for a ripple effect. What we are doing is very small, but we hope it will influence others and more and more people will talk to each other about this problem.”

The Fed Up Lunch promises to be a great event with a three-course gourmet lunch and compere Matt Tilley, from Triple M, leading the line-up of entertainment and guest speakers. The Victorian Chief Commissioner of Police, Ken Lay, who announced his retirement in January, will no longer be speaking at the event. However, Michael said he was delighted that Magistrate Noreen Toohey has agreed to speak.

Join Peter, Michael and their friends on February 21 and book a ticket today.