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Robbie to walk a hundred miles in women's shoes

In 2015 Robbie Carroll plans to walk from Toowomba to Brisbane wearing women's shoes in order to raise awareness of domestic violence issues.
In 2015 Robbie Carroll plans to walk from Toowomba to Brisbane wearing women's shoes in order to raise awareness of domestic violence issues. Derek Barry

ROBBIE Carroll remembers to the minute receiving a phone call four years ago, down to the minute.  

"It was 7pm on June 16. We got a call up here that changed my whole family's life forever," Robbie said.  

"My son's mother, my ex-wife, was brutally murdered by her partner down in Sydney."  

Robbie said it turned his world upside down in a moment.

 "One minute I'm sitting up in Queensland, next minute I'm going through a murder scene, wondering if I'm dreaming," he said.  

The effect it had on the family was profound with the dead woman leaving behind a six-week-old baby and her and Robbie's then-16-year-old son who discovered the body.  

"I was in the wilderness for a number of years. I wasn't very good at counselling, or one on one, until my current wife found out about the homicide group," Robbie said.  

The group supports families of homicide victims and meets once a month and helps them through the process.  

"Now that I've come out the other side I've been wanting to help other people deal with the reality of it all."  

Robbie set up a Facebook page called No More Black and Blue against domestic violence.  

"Through that I met a lady who suffered from domestic violence and it snowballed from that," he said.  

"She introduced me to another group where I was the only male on it."  

These discussions with female victims made Robbie realise something.

"I hadn't walked in their shoes," he said.  

"Some of these people I've spoken to have walked away from everything.  

"The abuser is left with the house, while they worry if the abuser will find them."  

Robbie said he wanted to know why they stayed with violent partners.  

"It's easy to blame everyone but at the end of the day, joining the group - it gave me the knowledge to meet others," he said.  

"Through that I met Lynell (Crowther) who suffered child abuse."

Lynell runs Small Rights, Big Changes, a domestic violence and child abuse support group in Laidley.  

"We both were in the same focus of what was needed and I came up with an idea and she fine-tuned it," he said.  

That idea was to walk in women's shoes from Toowoomba to Brisbane and stop along the way in Gatton, Laidley and Ipswich. 

Robbie began his campaign by walking in the street parade at the Laidley Spring Festival wearing bright red women's shoes.

"I'm not raising money, I'm raising awareness. I'll be sort of like a walking mailbox in high heels," he said.  

"We're calling it 'stories from behind the door', combining domestic violence and child abuse.  

"We hope to gather letters along the journey from victims of child abuse and domestic violence."  

Robbie said he didn't believe he could change the world but did believe people could work together to at least help people who have suffered domestic violence or child abuse back into the community.   

"We're going to have open forums along the way at Toowoomba, Gatton University, Ipswich and Browns Plains," he said.  

"What we want to do is finish up at parliament steps.  

"It's something that all sides of parliament have got to work together on.   

"We've all got to be participants. We'd like to present the letters to everyone at parliament and we'd like them to read the ones that have touched them in parliament.  

"These women that survive domestic violence, they are like warriors."

Robbie is planning to his walk in July 2015.  

"It will be hard work so I'm doing it in the cooler months," he said.  

But he won't be wearing the same red shoes he wore at Laidley last month.

"They are size 9 and I've got size 11 feet, I'll need a new pair!" he said.

Topics:  domestic violence


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