The Weekly Review: White Ribbon Day – John Caldwell shares tale of tragedy and optimism

“My first memory, believe it or not, is as a three-year-old, sitting in the back of a car, watching my father pound my mother’s face into the road in front of the car.”
White Ribbon ambassador John Caldwell has experienced the harrowing, yet all too common, reality of family violence first-hand. 
The Prahran resident and Victorian Australian of the Year describes his childhood years as “like a horror movie”. 
“I was born into an extremely poor family and domestic violence was part of everyday life,” he says. 
“It was nothing that two or three nights a week would be spent hiding under your bed because my father had come home from the pub drunk and decided to take it out on my mother.” 
Mr Caldwell managed to escape the poverty and violence of his upbringing, achieving extraordinary success in the corporate sphere and founding his own international recruitment company. 
“There is something about overcoming adversity that makes you stronger, makes you a fighter and gives you a ‘never give up’ attitude to life,” he says. 
Mr Caldwell has been involved with White Ribbon as an official ambassador for the past year. 
“I think the scale of what we’re dealing with is monumental, and we really don’t have any clue how big a problem [violence against women] actually is,” he says. 
“I wish we could measure it, but we can’t. What we do know is that one woman dies every week from domestic violence in the home. I believe that is the only real measurement we have, because so many still don’t speak up about it, so many people still don’t think that anybody cares.” 
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