If like us you’re more familiar with fashion blogger Nadia Bartel than her AFL playing husband, Jimmy, you can be forgiven for being so distracted by her dazzling J’Aton Courute jumpsuit that you didn’t notice his seriously bushy beard on the red carpet at this week's Brownlow Medal.
However once you see it, you can’t unsee it. As far as beards go it’s pretty epic – you almost can't see his bow tie under it.
But it turns out it’s not just a vanity thing, or perhaps a superstitious footy thing, but rather it has a much more incredible meaning behind it.
The 32-year-old Geelong player hasn’t shaved since before the beginning of the AFL season in March in the hopes of raising awareness around Domestic Violence.
"I am going to be clean-shaven, with a fresh haircut, before Round 1, and then I won’t be shaving until after the Grand Final... if I can get kids asking their father why I have a big dirty beard and long ratty hair, I will be achieving something. I would love it if a father has to explain to his son or daughter that I’m doing it to raise awareness around domestic violence, and to also explain the issues surrounding domestic violence, and to have an important conversation around it."
Earlier this year, Jimmy bravely revealed his own experiences as a child, living with an abusive father.
“I remember where I was, how the house was set up, where I was standing,” he told The Herald Sun.
“I remember Mum being on the floor in the hallway; he had repeatedly hit her, and she was trying to crawl away from him. I remember Olivia (his eldest sister) trying to push him away from Mum, and he physically threw her against the wall, like a rag doll, which is hard to comprehend.”
"He hit her a lot. Never when she was looking though, that was the key. He would always make sure she had turned away, and then he’d belt her."
Despite attempting to leave multiple times, Jimmy says his mother always ended up getting dragged back into the cycle of abuse.
"One of the difficult things for many women is trying to leave when you’re stuck financially," he continued.
"Emotionally, your self-worth is taken away from you, so it is hard to get the confidence to take that leap."
After bravely sharing his story, the father-of-one decided he was in a position to be able to make a difference, and wanted to do more and started the ‘Face Up To DV’ campaign.
At this week’s Brownlow Awards, Jimmy was awarded the Jim Stynes Community Leadership Award and $40,000 donation for his campaign.
All the proceeds raised from the campaign go to the Luke Batty Foundation and Bethany, a Geelong-based female support group. Click here to donate to the campaign.
If you or someone you know is experiencing domestic violence, contact 1800 Respect (1800 737 732)