November 25 is White Ribbon Day, a global movement of men and boys working to end male violence against women and girls.
In Australia, around two women die every week and around 500 are hospitalised due to domestic violence. The Life Changing Experiences Foundation is proud to work with White Ribbon Ambassador, Chris Futcher-Coles.
Chris started the Sydney Self Defence Centre 30 years ago with his wife Jodie. He is driven by the belief that every woman, man and child should be able to feel safe in their own homes, in relationships, on the street, at school and at work.
Read on to discover what motivates Chris to work in this area and to hear his views on how everyone in the community can help prevent violence against women and girls.
What inspired you to begin the Sydney Self Defence Centre?
My wife, Jodie and I started the Sydney Self Defence Centre 30 years ago. I had a pretty aggressive upbringing and developed a clear and personal understanding of the destructive qualities of domestic violence and bullying.
We’ve influenced children whose lives and futures were being destroyed by relentless bullying. Over time, and with our help, they become stronger and more effective in their lives and relationships. It inspires me to watch people grow using our influences. You see the change right in front of your eyes.
We’ve also helped ‘front line’ employees get home safely to their families and loved ones. That includes people who work jobs as parking officers, rangers, social workers, nurses, health professionals and security personnel. Prior to taking our STAY SAFE training, many of people in those lines of work were more worried about being put in hospital at night than getting home safe to their families. Who wouldn’t be motivated by being able to help people in that position?
What made you become a White Ribbon Ambassador?
Over the years, I started training women and their families self-defence strategies. Many were so decimated by the horrors of domestic violence that I felt I had no choice but to be involved. I was nominated as a White Ribbon Ambassador five years ago, and by those very women we helped. Domestic and family violence is a cancer we must all work to cure, men and women. I have a beautiful wife, daughter and grandchildren. What world do I want to leave for them? A better, kinder, more respectful world.
I am active in educating groups across our community about personal safety. I’m fortunate to be invited to many speaking engagements at personal safety programs at schools and to front line staff of corporate organisations. We strive to give women, children and men a feeling of safety, fitness and belonging. We help change people’s ideas and ideals. Sometimes we even save people’s lives. That’s why I am a proud White Ribbon Ambassador.
What can we do to help reduce domestic violence?
Domestic and family violence is a problem created for women predominantly by men. Thankfully most men are non-violent but sometimes we remain silent when we see something or know something unacceptable is happening. That’s when we should scream out against this outrage.
The spotlight is firmly on this issue across Australia. Around two women die every week in Australia from domestic violence and over 500 women are hospitalised weekly. Add to this human cost the financial costs of domestic violence, which are estimated at over 17 billion dollars annually and climbing.
“We all have a voice and we can all make a difference, if we are willing to stand up and speak out.”
I believe the true solution lies first in open discussion across all levels of violence. This means talking about and understanding physical aggression in children (incorrectly named bullying), aggression in teens (over stimulated in movies, MMA, social media) and adult aggression (road rage, domestic violence).
Secondly, we should strive for a community based, long term solution over two to three generations. Without that focus on multi-generational solutions real change becomes hard.
Thirdly, we can all influence the attitudes of ourselves, our children, our friends and our community into understanding what effect violence has on us all. Simply put: violence is not an answer.
“I never lose sight of the influence we have as the Sydney Self Defence Centre and Stay Safe Australia.”
Biography – Shi Gong Chris Futcher-Coles
Chris Futcher-Coles strives to create a safer community for all. He is the founder of the Sydney Self Defence Centre, leader and graded Shi Gong of Yi Quan Kung Fu Australia and creator of STAY SAFE Personal Safety Australia workshops and programmes.
Chris is a White Ribbon Ambassador, Australasian Martial Arts ‘Hall of Fame’ Lifetime Achievement inductee and was on the Nominations List for Australian of the Year 2017. His organisations have won many National and International Business Awards.
His Sydenham Academy Yi Quan Kung Fu has over 300 Kung Fu students. He and his wonderful team trains 20-25,000 people per year as part of the STAY SAFE Australia Programs at Schools, Colleges, Community Centres, Safe Houses, Women’s Shelters and various centres for the Disabled and as well as Council’s & Corporate Businesses who feel their employees may be a risk.
Chris is driven by, and believes that, every woman, man and child should be able to feel safe in their own homes, in relationships, on the street, at school and at work. This is his calling.
For more information or to contact Chris for help for yourself, your community or your employees, please visit http://sydney-selfdefence.com.au/