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Having been the apple of her husband’s eye, Sarah Abouloukme knew she had to teach her young sons how to treat women the same way her late husband did.
Having her nine and 11-year-old boys learn by example was something Mrs Abouloukme wished could have happened. However, six years ago, Mrs Abouloukme’s husband, Mazen Lazkani, passed away.
Next Thursday (26 July), in a heartfelt effort to teach her sons their Father’s way, the family of three, from Bankstown, will sing a rap song at the annual Break the Silence Youth Showcase.
The showcase, now in its fourth year, is focused on the White Ribbon message, which is speaking up and out about domestic violence and treating women equally.
"Zinedine was involved first, then I was asked to be a part of it, and then little Zaid said ‘hey, what about me?’ and he became part of it," Mrs Abouloukme said.
Mrs Abouloukme said it was her priority to remind the boys of their Dad’s memory and what he stood for.
"The respect Mazen gave me and the love he gave me was so rare. I wish my boys got to see more of it but at least they can hear it from me," Mrs Abouloukme said.
"We were best friends. Everything was so easy and perfect. We used to cook together, clean together. We took every opportunity to do things together. Everything was equal.
"After Mazen passed away, I had so many people come up to me saying they were going to change the way they were going to interact with their partner, just because of how he treated me.
"He was the type of man that, when he was diagnosed with cancer, he was grateful it was him that had it and not someone else he loved. That’s the type of person I want our boys to know growing up."
Zinedine was proud to be standing alongside his Mother and Brother and said that every White Ribbon event made a difference.
"It reminds people that this (domestic violence) is a very real and serious issue in society, and it’s happening every day to thousands of people," Zinedine said.
"I want to make sure my memory of my Dad being a caring, loving and equal partner to my Mum lives on, and I want to teach other people they have a choice in how they treat their partner in a relationship."
More than 80 youth, including participants from the Bankstown Youth Development Service’s (BYDS) R.E.S.P.E.C.T program, will perform at Bankstown Central shopping centre, in the Centre Court (across from KMART) at 6pm. The show will include original songs, dances and other performances, all with the message of speaking up and out against violence against women.
The special event is an initiative of the Bankstown White Ribbon Working Party committee, with BYDS partnering with White Ribbon, The Smith Family, BaptistCare, Bulldogs, Muslim Women Association, CatholicCare, Bankstown Central and City of Canterbury Bankstown.
White Ribbon Ambassador, Mayor Khal Asfour, said it was inspiring to see the City’s youth understand the seriousness of domestic violence.
"It takes real courage to put your voice and talents to such a worthy cause," Mayor Asfour said.
"It is initiatives like the Break the Silence Youth Showcase, which are helping put a stop to this crime and reminding people that women should be treated equally.
"I am pleased the rate of domestic violence has fallen by 17% in Canterbury-Bankstown, but one assault is one too many, so we still have quite a way to go and these programs certainly help."
18/07/2018 2:38 PM