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Horsham’s Simone O’Brien sets her sights on bridge run


INSPIRATIONAL: Simone O’Brien spoke at a half-time football function. She is pictured with White Ribbon Horsham committee member Mark O’Connor.

INSPIRATIONAL: Simone O’Brien spoke at a half-time football function. She is pictured with White Ribbon Horsham committee member Mark O’Connor.


On average, one woman is killed each week in Australia at the hands of a current or former male partner.

Horsham’s Simone O’Brien was almost one of them.

Three years ago, while living in Queensland, Mrs O’Brien’s former fiancé viciously bashed her with a baseball bat after she called off their engagement and told him to leave her alone.

The horrific assault – which occurred in front of two of her three children – left Mrs O’Brien fighting for her life in a Brisbane hospital’s intensive- care unit.

Her left arm was snapped in two places, her top jaw smashed, and her nose, right cheek-bone and eye-sockets broken.

Her skull was shattered – described as ‘mush’ by a neighbour who rushed to help after Mrs O’Brien’s daughters raised the alarm.

It took a team of surgeons to put her face back together.

“I wasn’t meant to survive the first night,” Mrs O’Brien said.

“I have been through and am still going through many operations and treatment, which will be ongoing for many years.

“I have scars that will never disappear and I will never see out of my right eye again or smell ever again.”

To help with recovery, Mrs O’Brien has set herself two major goals. The first, which is ongoing, is to shine a light on domestic violence in partnership with White Ribbon Australia. The second, which she will aim to reach on Sunday, is the 10-kilometre Bridge to Brisbane fun run.

“It was something I did prior to the assault,” she said.

“I used to prepare myself so well for it. After the assault I wasn’t able to run, so I set this as a goal.

“I won’t be running the whole 10 kilometres, but to me it doesn’t matter whether I run or walk over the finish line – all I want to do is cross it.”

Mrs O’Brien and her husband Trevor – the pair divorced four years before Mrs O’Brien met her attacker and are now reconciled – travelled to Sydney in July to meet with White Ribbon representatives.


Simone O'Brien tosses the the coin at a Horsham Saints versus Stawell football match.

Simone O’Brien tosses the the coin at a Horsham Saints versus Stawell football match.

National campaign

White Ribbon Australia is a national, male-led campaign to end violence against women.

“They are inspirational in what they are trying to achieve,” Mrs O’Brien said.

“With their help, Trevor and I are determined to change the attitudes towards violence against women.”

Mrs O’Brien made her first public appearance speaking about domestic violence, during a Wimmera Football League match between Stawell and Horsham Saints. She tossed the coin before the senior match and addressed the crowd.

“I didn’t do it for people to feel sorry for me. I thought, if I could help one person – and they know they can call out for help before it gets to this – then I should do it,” Mrs O’Brien said.

“After I spoke, everyone was coming up and cuddling me and fist-pumping me.

“It was amazing. Everyone knows the message needs to get out there. We need to help each other to do it.”

Mrs O’Brien said she would like to see more domestic violence education in Wimmera sporting clubs and schools.

“I’m excited to be part of the White Ribbon Horsham committee and seeing what we can do,” she said.

“I’m happy to be able to raise money for such an important cause through Sunday’s run.”

The Bridge to Brisbane offers participants an opportunity to raise money for charities.

Mrs O’Brien has raised more than $4000 for White Ribbon Australia on an online fundraising page, smashing her $700 goal.

Get the full story in the August 26, 2015 edition of The Weekly Advertiser.


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Posted on Aug 26 2015

Posted by on Aug 26 2015. Filed under FEATURED, News. You can follow any responses to this entry through the RSS 2.0. You can leave a response or trackback to this entry

1 Comment for “Horsham’s Simone O’Brien sets her sights on bridge run”

  1. […] attack in 2012, said Dr Lynham gave up medicine to become an anti-violence campaigner. Dr Lynham touched on Mrs O’Brien’s story in parliament in September. “I recall the women who’s been bashed with a baseball bat,” he […]

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