Let’s establish one thing - I can’t knit.
This fact was thrust into the limelight after Manning Great Lakes Police District launched their White Ribbon Day challenge to knit the world’s longest awareness ribbon.
A chat with Chief Inspector Christine George at the launch suggested that all local media outlets should take up the needles and contribute. That included yours truly.
So after succumbing to a degree of encouragement (or peer pressure depending on who you ask) from several colleagues, I decided to give it a try.
For months, a ball of wool and knitting needles sat on my desk collecting dust, just waiting to be picked up and completed.
Winter turned into spring, weeks turned into months. Call it neglect or call it inability, it never seemed probable I would get the job done. I’d be asked on a daily basis how progress was going. The response was always the same.
“Yeah, I don’t think it will be finished in time.”
When time did indeed run out, the result was nothing short of pathetic and deplorable.
Forget about the required 40 stitches wide and 40 to 100 centimetres in length, I had roughly three centimetres in length with more holes than a golf course.
But I never lost sight of what the task was actually meant to achieve.
It wasn’t just an attempt to get Taree in the record books or a PR exercise for our local police.
It was about bringing the community together for a common cause - that violence against women and children is unacceptable and women’s safety is an issue for all Australian men.
The positive wide-spread response from many individuals and community groups such as the MidCoast Knitting Nannas and Taree Quota Club was gratifying to watch.
But a considerable lack of public support from local men in the lead up to the event has been somewhat disappointing.
I have no doubt the support is there but after penning a number of stories and taking multiple photos in the lead up to White Ribbon Day, I can count Club Taree CEO Morgan Stewart as the only male, not counting police officers, to make an appearance.
So men of the Manning, speak up this White Ribbon Day.
Don’t be deterred by the knitting needles and find a way to show you're against domestic and family violence.
And for the record, you’ll never see me pick up a pair of knitting needles again.