Home' The Chronicle : Canberra Chronicle 03-02-2015 Contents 7 - Tuesday, February 3, 2015
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Animal lover conveys message silently
James Aspey stands atop his van whcih broke down in remote Western Australia on his animal rights journey.
Not talking for a year would be a
crippling life decision for many and
could even drive some to madness,
especially while walking around
But for James Aspey it has been a
life-affirming decision for a cause he is
deeply passionate about.
His 365-day vow of silence to raise
awareness about animal cruelty ended
on New Year s Eve when he uttered his
girlfriend s name.
The 27-year-old Sydney-sider, who
is coming to Canberra to share his
story on Friday, February 13, said his
journey was very difficult at times.
"We express ourselves through our
voice through communicating with our
friends and family and when I couldn t
communicating and a new way of
expressing myself," he said.
Writing a blog helped him
externalise many of the ideas, thoughts
and feelings that were building up but
the day-to-day interaction with people
"I got a lot better at body language,
James said. "It was like a 12-month
game of charades, which sounds fun,
but honestly it really sucked at the end.
"I d also use my mouth to
elaborately say words very
expressively with my mouth.
Some people are quite good lip
readers and others are extremely
terrible lip readers so that was a bit
touch and go.
"If all else failed I d return to pen
The self-funded mission followed
several years of working hard as a
fitness trainer and saving up.
He said his family hated the idea but
they came around in the end while
many people helped in different ways
during his journey. But there were
some awkward situations for James,
especially after his van broke down in
remote Western Australia and he had
"People pick up hitch-hikers for
some companionship but I get in the
car and I m like sorry I don t talk, he
"There was one guy that goes, Well
that is a bit s***, isn t it ."
Low on money and without
transport, he bought a bicycle in
Darwin and rode to Sydney.
"It was pretty hard but I was out of
cash so I thought I d just get a bike and
use my legs, he said.
When he broke the vow of silence at
the start of 2015 it was the first time
James girlfriend, who he had met in
Queensland during the journey, had
heard his voice.
His talk takes place at Majura Hall,
2 Rosevear Place, Dickson, from 7pm.
For more information, visit
Standing up for
Behind the blue line
The announcement of Rosie Batty as
Australian of the Year is a tremendous
acknowledgement of a remarkable
woman who has risen above personal
tragedy and taken domestic violence
out of the shadows.
On average, one woman is killed
every week by a current or former
partner in Australia and one in four
young Australians is exposed to
During the past financial year. ACT
Policing attended 3289 incidents
involving family violence.
It s pretty scary and totally
We like to think that our friends and
family are safe, that it wouldn t
happen to them. Sadly, domestic
violence is extremely common, under-
reported and hidden.
ACT Policing is a strong partner of
White Ribbon Australia, fostering and
encouraging male leadership in the
prevention of violence against women.
Our generation can and must work
towards stopping violence against
women so that all women can live in
safety, free from violence and abuse.
Good men cannot and will not sit on
the sidelines while those they love are
at risk of harm.
ACT Policing s Men in Uniform
campaign in November, involving the
Australian Defence Force and ACT
Emergency Services Agency, set a new
record raising $43,482 for the White
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