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Domestic violence pain still raw for NTFL boss Michael Solomon

Physical scars of family violence will often fade but the emotional scars can last a lifetime — just ask AFL NT chief executive Michael Solomon.

Mr Solomon has shared how his experiences with domestic violence helps drive the social change his organisation is committed to achieving in tackling family violence.

“I have from a very young age experienced domestic violence, not in all its brutality but domestic violence none the less, and have for the best part of 35 years now been left with the pain that comes from that,” he said.

“Although I didn’t experience it directly I was a bystander. But the impact that’s had on me and my life has been profound.”

Mr Solomon said he was keen for the community to understand that family violence is a problem for all parts of the community and although more prominent in particular socio economic groups it could affect anyone.

“I came from a fairly up-market part of Adelaide, it happens everywhere,” he said.

After battling a serious bout of depression and anxiety in his 30s Mr Solomon said it had only been in the last year or so, after working with NO MORE founder Charlie King, that he could see a lot of those issues came from his childhood.

“Working with Charlie and talking about violence and domestic violence has helped me come to grips with the fact that I have been profoundly impacted and I think that my message is that scars do go, bones heal but here I am 35 years on and I still struggle to deal with it,’ he said.

When asked if he had sought counselling to deal with the issue Mr Solomon fought back tears talking about the support of his wife.

“My best counsellor was my wife, I knew one night travelling home from work things weren’t right and I got home and spoke to her about it, so my repair started by me having a really difficult conversation with my wife,” he said.

“Now I’ve got someone in my life who I can talk to about it regularly.

“My advice is it doesn't have to be your wife, it doesn't have to be your friends, you just have to talk to someone.” After mandating that every club in the NTFL must devise a Domestic Violence Action Plan before they would be registered he has now shifted his focus further afield.

“My call to arms now is that I’d love to see every CEO of every sporting code meet here next year and agree to having domestic violence action plans in all of our clublands,” he said.

“When you meet inspirational men like Charlie who has devoted himself to try and fix the problem and I have such a remarkable vehicle to drive messaging, I am dead-set in assisting Charlie to help make a change.”

Article: NT News, Jill Poulsen