Former child soldier-turned international lawyer, Deng Adut, revealed his heartbreaking personal story to a captivated local audience last Thursday night at Penrith Paceway.
Mr Adut made a guest appearance at the Queen of Hearts Community Foundation’s Domestic Violence Prevention Fundraiser and spoke of a violent attack on his mother in Sudan just last week, before Australian aid saved her.
“My mother’s village was attacked and torched – she was robbed of all of her belongings,” he said.
“My niece disappeared, but my mum couldn’t leave because my brother was wounded… violence has been going on and on my whole life… but I’m no longer a victim, I’m a fighter.”
Angry, Mr Adut wanted to fly back to the war zone in retaliation, but decided to stay after being told his mother was rescued by an Australian living in the area.
“I paused and said ‘what good will come of me going there’… violence is dangerous,” he said.
In Australia as a criminal, family and employment lawyer, Mr Adut fights a different kind of terrorist in the court room that he believes is just as violent and dangerous.
“A perpetrator of domestic violence is simply a terrorist,” he said.
“It’s not about winning… you win a case and the next time you’re there it’s because she’s dead.”
Domestic violence takes more shape than just physical, and it’s why Queen of Hearts founder Michelle Ellery has been working so hard to ensure all women and children, even men, are safe.
The night aimed to raise $40,000 to contribute to the cost of another year of domestic violence services, but fell short raising just $11,603.74. However, Ms Ellery remains positive, and will continue to seek support from the community.
“It was a fantastic night with amazing sponsors, great food, exciting auctions and a wonderful emcee in Ross ‘Roscoe’ Hutchison. A big thanks to Penrith Paceway CEO Lorraine Pozza who provided an outstanding venue,” she said.
“We will continue to fundraise. We will ask the community to sponsor our social worker for a day at $350 a day, tax deductible, or ask any businesses that may also be interested in great branding opportunities by sponsoring our social worker.”