Ambassador Q&A: David O’Byrne
White Ribbon Ambassador David O’Byrne, former Labor Minister and current Chief Operating Officer of the Beacon Foundation, speaks to us about what motivated him to become a White Ribbon Ambassador and how he continues to live the role in his day to day life.
What is your day job?
Chief Operating Officer of the Beacon Foundation, a NFP that works with Schools and Industry to give young Australians career awareness programs in communities of greatest need across the country.
How long have you been a White Ribbon Ambassador?
I have been a White Ribbon Ambassador for 6 years.
Why did you decide to become an Ambassador?
I became an Ambassador for many reasons, primarily because I was a witness to an act of domestic violence. The incident occurred in the light of day in a very public and open space and was witnessed by a number of people, yet I was the only person that reported the incident and provided a witness statement to police. The fact that no other person was prepared to step in to take action to protect the victim demonstrated to me that it was not enough to do what I did, and I had to join the campaign to advocate for change to fundamentally change how men treat women and how society responds to such incidents.
In what ways have you been involved in the White Ribbon Campaign?
I have attended numerous community events, at times as a speaker and at others as an Ambassador providing support to others. I feel like that every day I am, as an Ambassador, involved in the campaign. In casual conversation with friends, colleagues and also how I conduct myself and lead within my organisation and in the broader community.
Why is Gender Equality important to you as an Ambassador?
Gender equity is important to me because quite simply, all members of our community deserve respect and to be treated with dignity, it is important because it is clear that gender discrimination is sadly alive and well in our society and it will take good people, with an ability to move others, to advocate for a fairer society. For all women to be able to achieve their potential unencumbered by discrimination and physical and emotional violence.
What goals do you hope to accomplish as an Ambassador in the future?
I hope to work with others to ensure that women are treated equally, are respected and are safe. That each action I take personally and in inspiring others to take action will lead to safer communities and a culture where women are treated with equity.