Five peaks in five hours in tribute to domestic violence victims

Published on CMDR Fenn Kemp (author), Unknown (photographer)

Location(s): Mount Ainslie, ACT

Topic(s): White Ribbon

LCDR Steve Delo completes his trek at the top of Mount Ainsle with a White Ribbon cut-out of a female domestic violence victim – 52 women are killed as a result of domestic violence each year. (photo: Unknown)
LCDR Steve Delo completes his trek at the top of Mount Ainsle with a White Ribbon cut-out of a female domestic violence victim – 52 women are killed as a result of domestic violence each year.

A Navy member has embarked on an innovative campaign to promote awareness of violence against women, successfully completing five hill climbs in five hours.

Lieutenant Commander Steve Delo said the cause was one close to his heart and was what motivated him to bring attention to White Ribbon.

“My sister was a victim of domestic violence when she was first married,” he said.

“I feel it is every responsible man’s role to support an ethos and seek to set an example in whatever they do.”

By tackling five peaks on his own, Lieutenant Commander Delo was symbolically paying tribute to the one in five women who will be a victim of domestic violence or abuse in their lifetime.

Being Canberra based, challenging peaks were not in short supply for Lieutenant Commander Delo who eventually narrowed his choice down to Black Mountain, Mount Ainsle, Mount Theodore, Tuggeranong Hill and Gibraltar Peak. Each tackled in isolation would have been simple enough. Taking on all five at once significantly increased the level of difficulty.

“The mountains signify that no change comes without effort,” Lieutenant Commander Delo said.

“Any change will come with some uphill struggle.”

“Having a purpose helped motivate me to complete it under the timescale.”

That included driving between locations before making the next attempt with break times no longer than 20 minutes.

Lieutenant Commander Delo finally ended trek, pausing to reflect on his efforts at the top of the final section at Gibraltar Peak. He had completed his journey under time in an impressive four hours and 45 minutes.

A member of Navy’s Directorate of Continuous Innovation, Lieutenant Commander Delo said the support he received from both his Navy colleagues and family was extremely encouraging. He even had some corporate support, with Navy Health and Australian Military Bank also coming on board to the tune of $250 each.

White Ribbon is the world’s largest male-led movement to end men’s violence against women and is Australia’s only national, male-led primary prevention campaign. When Navy recognised as a White Ribbon accredited workplace in May 2014 it was the largest of the 23 organisations accredited.

A White Ribbon Ambassador himself since 2011, Lieutenant Commander Delo said the campaign fitted well into Navy’s overall Family and Domestic Violence Strategy. 

“Family and domestic violence is not acceptable in any form,” he said.

“It is fundamentally against Navy Values and Signature Behaviours. It destroys lives and relationships.

“By taking action and speaking out against violence against women we become the example to others and so hopefully change wider culture.”