One everlasting punch

Ebony Garlett, Reporter

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Caterina Politi was left uninspired by Danny Green’s message and heart broken over the tragic nature of her son’s death.

David Cassai was a healthy young man living in a town on the Mornington Penninsula in Victoria. He did exercise, he had friends, he had a girlfriend and one night he went out with a couple of mates to the Portsea Hotel and he was punched so hard that later that night he was rushed to hospital where he died.

Politi lamented: “5 years on it’s still as raw as the first day, because he’s not here.”

Cassai’s death affected all of his friends, family and even people that didn’t know him have reached out.

She went on to say, “one act of violence can lead to 10 secondary acts.”

Politi made it her mission to let people in Australia know the reality of this heinous act. That it wasn’t just David, it was many other boys, all over the world.

And Politi wouldn’t let this ripple end and keeps it going today

Stop. One Punch Can Kill is a Facebook page that Politi created in 2013 to stop senseless brutal acts of violence through awareness campaigns, education, advocacy and harsher sentencing for One Punch Killers.

Her Summer Campaign is about secondary victims – the first responders, the parents, the girlfriends, the boyfriends, the hospital staff and the police.

Politi claims that her campaign was influential in the decision of the Victorian parliament to introduce ‘one punch’ laws in 2014. The WA one punch laws were introduced in 2008. WA was one of the first Australian states to introduce these laws, setting the maximum penalty for Unlawful Assault Causing Death at 10 years, in 2016 the Barnett State Government proposed raising the maximum penalty to 20 years.

What causes this to happen?

Politi claims: “It’s the young person with anger issues. People try to replicate these over dramatized fight scenes … maybe in the olden days this wouldn’t have happened as much, but today young men are going to the gym and drinking protein drinks … and if you know how to throw a punch you can kill someone.

“Everyone needs to do a little bit to stop this, the parents, the schools, the media, the government, the courts we all need to help to stop this from happening.

“Boys need to learn to be able to walk away and let things go before they devastate someone’s life and their own.”

Politi believes there needs to be harsher sentencing and more monitoring of these people who learn to fight at gyms. That there needs to be more time and money invested in educating young people about these tragic incidents.

She believes Danny Green isn’t setting the right example.

Politi took what many people would see as a very negative and upsetting event and created awareness and dedicated her life to a cause she believes in.

When Actors Hub director Amanda Crewes found her 2017 graduating class was predominantly male she had an idea for a show.

She was inspired by Danny Green’s Coward’s Punch Campaign and decided to put her actors to the test. Her actors were aged from 24-34 and were role models in their families and communities.

The play is set in a boxing ring, with the audience sitting ringside and it touches on the many factors that lead up to the event. It’s made up of real interviews. The actors had to go out and talk to these people affected by this tragic crime.

Crewes said: “There are three lies young men are told; one, in order to be masculine you have to be a great athlete; second, masculinity is all about sexual conquest; and lastly your self worth is equal to your net worth.

“Then men walk out in society modelling these beliefs without knowing how destructive this is, not only for others around them but for themselves. Constantly questioning their worth and how manly they are.

“There’s a scene in the play where they list headlines from all over the world where people have died from one punch attacks and it has incredible lines like “Australia is an alcoholic …”.

Crewes went on to explain that theatre attracts audiences of all ages and can draw awareness to issues of male toxicity, the legal and ethical questions around one punch attacks, rehabilitation and the added pleasures of being a man in Australian society.

She said a number of young men walked out emotional and crying.

“Were talking to the parents of tomorrow and asking for a cultural change.”

The play finishes with a projection of violent images on the floor of the stage. Crewes said: “The audience didn’t leave for a while after and sat in their reflective silence. Staring at the montage of clips.”

The ‘One Punch’ play is showing at Showcase WA in may and Crewes hopes to take it to the Sydney and Melbourne fringe festivals and possibly on to New Zealand.


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