Report reproduced courtesy of the Barossa’s favourite Newspaper, The Leader
The following was printed in The Leader, on December 6th 2023
Locals’ emotional plea:
Say no to DV
 Rotary Club of Barossa Valley says no to domestic violence: Steve Ahrens, Bev Stephenson, Bill Simons, Sandie Simons, Phil Graetz, Sue Graetz, Mark Graetz and Robert Brookes
 By Mel Jaunay
When a close family member of Sandie Simons’ told her she ‘walked into a door,’ Sandie knew, deep down, it wasn’t the truth.
Although Sandie was only young herself at the time, she could tell straight away something wasn’t right within the marriage of her young pregnant relative.
“There were instances where she had injuries that she put down to walking into a door, bruises, it was an awful situation, and she certainly didn’t deserve any of that,” Sandie recalled.
“There was no support whatsoever, and no understanding that you didn’t have to put up with that. It was ‘you’ve made your bed, you lie in it’.”
While understanding and attitudes towards domestic violence and coercive control have changed drastically over the years, with the trope of ‘suffer in silence’ long gone, the sad fact is, violence keeps happening.
On the back of a horror month in South Australia, with four women killed allegedly at the hands of people known to them in the space of just one week, and another alleged stabbing of a wife by her husband last weekend, DV campaigners are rightly mobilising in force.

Rotarians and supporters walk in the Barossa Christmas Parade on Friday evening.
Following a statewide walk from Victoria Square to the Pioneer Women’s Memorial Garden on November 24, the ‘Rotary Says No To Domestic Violence’ campaign also featured at the Barossa Christmas Parade on Friday night, with local Rotarians using it as a timely vehicle to raise awareness and distribute resource packs to onlookers.
“As the president of the Rotary Club of Barossa Valley, I am very passionate about doing what we can to minimise domestic violence,” said Sandie, the memory of what happened to her relative still front of mind.
“So many people have some sort of experience of it, whether it’s something they have lived themselves or whether they know someone who has, so I think it’s really important that we put mechanisms in place to support those people, and hopefully other mechanisms that will actually minimise the risk, that will educate people.”
Sandie said the group’s participation in the Christmas Parade on Friday evening was surprisingly emotional.
“People were very positive in their response, we got lots of claps and cheers and call outs, ‘good on you, well done’, from all ages,” she said.
South Australia’s peak body for women’s safety services, Embolden, has called on Premier Peter Malinauskas to launch a Royal Commission into domestic, family and sexual violence in SA in the wake of the most recent tragedies.
“We need to gain a better understanding of the barriers and gaps in services and systems that are failing to protect women,” it stated.
“One death because of family and domestic violence is one death too many.”
State Opposition leader, David Speirs has supported the call, revealing the latest SAPOL statistics show family and domestic abuse-related offences have soared by 18 per over the past two years, the equivalent of five extra offences per day.
Meanwhile, South Australian Minister for Women and the Prevention of Domestic and Family Violence, Katrine Hildyard and Federal Minister for Social Services, Amanda Rishworth were in Noarlunga on Friday, launching a new Southern Domestic Violence Prevention and Recovery Hub.
Closer to home, Rotary Club of Barossa Valley hopes to continue its campaign into the new year, not just by raising awareness, but by stocking local businesses and institutions with resource materials for both victims and perpetrators, and seeking other practical ways to engage with the problem.
“We’re also keen to work with the secondary schools to maybe introduce some mentoring to do with respectful relationships,” added Sandie.
“Young men need male role models who will demonstrate healthy, positive and respectful behaviours in all aspects of their lives... And young women need to be educated to understand that respectful relationships are normal, and that any form of abuse is not acceptable.”
Sandie acknowledges such interventions may have been a help for her relative all those years ago, a woman who sadly went on to live her entire life under the threat of violence.
“Things have improved because we’re talking about it openly,” added Sandie.
“It’s absolutely vital that victims and perpetrators and the people who care about them recognise what is happening, so that help can be sought.”
If you or someone you know is experiencing abuse or family violence call DV Crisis line on 1800 800 098 or 1800 Resp