After rising at 4.30am to ensure they were awake and ready for departure an hour later, riders participating in the 2017 Ride Against Domestic Violence put foot to pedal in darkness as they left Busselton this morning.
As Dr Tony Buti MLA remarked prior to departure, such an early start was necessary to ensure arrival at the Bunbury Runners Club by 8am. And just as well, for the riders were greeted with warm smiles and a tasty hot breakfast after the first part of the day’s ride.
With the thermostat sitting at around 5 degrees from Busselton the Bunbury, riders found some relief inside the Runners Club as Don Punch MLA (Member for Bunbury) welcomed and introduced them to locals and representatives from South West Refuge.
South West Refuge, one of the women’s refuges supported by the 2017 Ride Against Domestic Violence, is a 24/7 service that provides short term crisis accommodation for lone women and women with children escaping domestic violence.
South West Refuge CEO Anita Shortland shared a story about one of the women whom the refuge has been able to help. She explained that in the space of 15 days, South West Refuge helped a mother suffering from domestic violence obtain a violence restraining order, register the birth of her baby, attend counselling, prevent her house from being blacklisted, and ensure a roof over her head.
Talking directly to the support offered by the 2017 Ride Against Domestic Violence, Anita said, “We’re not doing this by ourselves, and you encourage us and the women supported.”
Then it was time for part two of the day’s ride: Bunbury to Mandurah. Refreshed, riders said goodbye to the Runners Club and mounted their bikes. Some riders even parted with their jackets.
After a number of pit stops, in which riders compared stories about noisy bike chains and unfortunately placed pieces of glass and metal on the road, they joined members of the Mandurah Over 55 Cycling Club and rode into Bunnings Warehouse in Mandurah just after 1.30pm.
Inside, David Templeman MLA introduced the riders to representatives from Pat Thomas House, a women’s refuge that provides supported crisis accommodation for women with accompanying children and single women escaping domestic violence and family abuse.
As the riders enjoyed a well-earned sausage roll and drink, Cathy Chappell–a representative from Pat Thomas House–spoke about the need for women’s refuges in the South West of WA, which is one of the areas most affected by domestic violence in Australia.
Afterwards, the Mandurah Lions Club showed their generous support for the ride by donating a cheque of $300, which will help women’s refuges like South West Refuge and Pat Thomas House deliver much needed services to women and children affected by domestic violence.
The ride continues and concludes tomorrow.
If you would like to support the 2017 Ride Against Domestic Violence from Busselton to Perth, please click on the link below and follow the prompts.