A personal goal to raise $10,000 for Polished Man may seem a bit out of reach, but I have a plan I will share with you in a moment. You may be wondering why I have chosen to do this and, more importantly, why you should help.
A little more than a year ago, I received what is probably the best piece of advice – “understand your why.” Allow me to share with you my why, but first I want you to reflect a little on the statistics.
Globally one in five children experience physical or sexual violence before the age of 18. If you are wondering what the statistics in Australia are it’s one in twenty-six (one in every classroom).
Think about that the next time you step on a bus full of people or you step off the lift at work (or whatever the equivalent is for you), more than likely you’ll encounter people affected by the harsh reality of those statistics. Many people overcome adversity, and go on to achieve great things – many celebrities have shared their stories. As for the people we encounter in our everyday lives – what they have overcome is generally not visible to us.
Spare a thought for the countless invisible kids and adults who don’t overcome adversity. Personally, I am doing this to honor the memory of two people close to me who didn’t overcome adversity. That’s why it’s important to me. It may not be your reason to give. For every kid that doesn’t reach their potential because of abuse the world misses out.
“It takes a village to raise a child” African proverb
Not one person got to be where they are today without the help of others. One person or one organisation/ charity doesn’t hold the solution to violence against children. One of the things I love about the Polished Man campaign is that funds raised (channeled into trauma recovery and trauma prevention programs) don’t go to just one organisation. This was an important consideration for me when I first donated and you can read more about this on their website.
I may not reach my $10,000 goal within October, the month of the campaign, but that’s okay – I will keep going until I do. When I painted my nail for the first time last year the experience changed my perspective – sometimes that can happen when you allow yourself to be vulnerable. I never thought a stranger shaking my hand and saying “good on you for doing it” could mean so much.
When I painted my nail that first time it freaked me out – it felt like I wore a window into a piece of myself that I wanted hidden. This is not the focus of what I am doing, but I share it now because it has held me back. As a child I did not have to endure what many kids have to but, even with the most wonderful parents (protective and supportive), I was sexually abused. I’m not going to go into detail, if you want to know more it is the subject of an artwork on my website.
The fear in having shared that information is that you will view me in the same way I saw myself for far too long – damaged, not as capable or as worthy as others. This is not who I am.
It’s after a lot of consideration that I have put this out there and I feel it important to stress is that what I have chosen to do is not to say it’s right for someone else. It has been a long road for me to get where I am and it took a villiage for me to get here, so to speak.
As I write this I note the tally of funds raised on the Australian Polished Man Website has hit the $200,000 mark, and it’s day 3 of the campaign. It fills my heart with joy, and yours too I hope, when I think what a difference that will make to lives of so many.
To all the men who have polished their nail I think we should all be thankful for your willingness to have what are sometimes difficult conversations. Sure you may say “it’s not ok”, “not on my watch” but for the many women, men and children who have been directly affected by the reality of those statistics I hope you also hear “it wasn’t ok, it wasn’t your fault and you shouldn’t feel shame” and that you feel there is a community of people supporting you.
If you would like to donate to my page here is the link. Guys, please consider painting your own nail, create a team and raise funds yourself.
Now for the plan I mentioned to help reach my $10,000 target. Based on your donation to my fundraising page, I will be gifting artworks. Please view The Art Bridge section of this website for more information.
Please feel free to get in contact, comment and share. What charities/ organisations do you support? Why?