A petition was launched last Friday calling on the Royal Humane Society to withdraw a bravery award from a man convicted of domestic violence.
"Among his brutal acts, McCuskey punched a pregnant Jeannie Blackburn and while she was on the ground he kicked her in the stomach, while she screamed, "Stop it Paul, the baby!"." -- Herald Sun, 1st June.
As a member of the Country Fire Authority, Paul Francis McCuskey had received an award from the Royal Humane Society for rescuing an elderly woman and her pets from a burning building.
According to some reports, the CFA collected the award from the Royal Humane society on his behalf, saying he was unavailable. They didn't tell the reason that he was unavailable. McCuskey is serving time in prison for his violent acts against his former partner.
Governor Quentin Bryce has written to the Royal Humane Society calling on them to withdraw the award.
"It would be remiss of me not to communicate to you my longstanding and fervent belief that violence against women should not be tolerated or condoned whenever it occurs, not least in a situation that is an affront to the very principle for which the Humane Society stands," she wrote.
"If society is to banish violence against women, I suggest zero tolerance is the only way forward."
Jeannie Blackburn, the woman viciously assaulted by McCuskey found the petition last Saturday.
"I saw the petition on Saturday morning. When I realised thousands of people had signed it, I was overwhelmed," she said. "It sent a shiver down my spine and I began to cry.
"I still can't understand how a man who is in prison after leaving me with one eye and taking my unborn baby away from me can be given hero status. And I'm terrified by the message this sends to other women going through domestic violence."
Jeannie also says that this bravery award may assist her attacker with an early parole. She plans to deliver the petition in person to the Royal Humane Society next week.
Sergent John Delahunty a Victorian Police Officer has phoned in to Derryn Hinch's drive program to say that he will hand back his bravery award to the Royal Humane Society to make a statement against domestic violence.
"It does not sit well with me to be associated with McCuskey," Sergeant Delahunty told Hinch.
"I'm proud to receive the award but I think domestic violence is a major problem in Victoria...I'm prepared to return my award to the Royal Humane Society,"
We asked one of our Collective Shout state coordinators from Victoria for his thoughts on the situation. This is what Calvin Taylor had to say:
It is a sad state of affairs when a man's atrocities, involving the violent abuse of a woman, are overlooked because a rush of adrenaline led him to assist an elderly lady on the day of Black Saturday. Every man has the capability of unlocking the good within and becoming a 'hero' when circumstances call for it, but if this same man is beating a woman verbally and physically, in privacy, then surely there is nothing heroic to be awarded? In fact he is no man at all, let alone a heroic one.
I am appalled that the Royal Humane Society has overlooked the brutal bashing of a woman resulting in the death of her unborn baby and the loss of sight in one eye, carried out by Paul Francis McCuskey. What message does this send out to the next generation? Does it not imply that you only have to be 'humane' when it counts, on one occasion, then you can be as inhumane as you like in the privacy of your own home? You can beat a woman on the side but as long as you are prepared to act heroically at a pivotal moment, none of that will matter.
True manhood is treating all woman as infinitely valuable, at all times, in every circumstance. This is the sort of man we should honour as a 'hero', even if he never rescues someone from a burning building. Let's not tell our boys to be like Paul Francis McCuskey.