A coward punch survivor is fighting to change laws against one punch attacks in Australia.
Rhyen Martin, 22, is pushing for heavier penalties after a violent attack in Brisbane late October 2015, left him to undergo life-changing surgery while his attacker faced just one-year imprisonment.
“Our system, our government, the legislation, something needs to change and right now nothing is working,” Martin said.
Three weeks ago, Martin posted an emotional video to his Facebook profile addressing the issue with the lack of justice for the victims of these attacks.
In the video, which received over 9,000 views, Martin said the current methods for solving this problem are not working and the number of victims are increasing every day.
“If I were to go out and get highly and heavily intoxicated on any substance, and then I got behind the wheel, and I hit and killed or injured someone, it is almost certain that I would be going to jail.
“It is beyond me why that, which is an accident, no one gets f**ked up, gets in a car and purposely runs someone over, it’s an accident almost always.
“Why is that almost predominantly a more severe sentence than someone who intentionally hurts someone else?”
I know I’ll probably cop some flak for this but enough is enough. I usually don’t like doing Facebook posts seriously as I feel social media isn’t a good platform for anything besides wasting time but I’ve reached a tipping point. As many of you know almost 3 years ago I was coward punched and hospitalised. I had to undergo surgery to reconstruct my face as well as rehabilitation. I still struggle daily with the repercussions of this assault. The amount of victims from this kind of attack are only increasing. The so called methods of “reducing” these disgusting cowardly acts aren’t working. I’ve seen two separate videos yesterday of people being cheap shotted/dog shotted/coward punched/ king hit. I don’t give a fuck whatever anyone wants to label it. One video was of a couple guys who seem to work at a concreting company, Joel and Ryan Wells, who assaulted a complete stranger for no reason whatsoever. The excuse given was being intoxicated on alcohol and cocaine. Another video was of a young teenager being assaulted while sitting down. He was purposely avoiding the fight. This was in a school. By fucking teenagers. Anyone who knows me knows that usually I’m a pretty happy-go-lucky guy. I love laughing and poking fun because honestly without that what else does anyone have? It’s time to truly wake up. I’m sick and tired of seeing people suffering the same injustice and nothing being done about it. The bullshit methods aren’t working. Impose mandatory sentencing for assaults like this. Make sure people understand the true consequences of their actions. If someone accidentally ran someone over in their vehicle while intoxicated they get trialed for worse and that’s actually most of the time an accident. These attacks are not. Seriously Australia it’s time to stop this. I don’t know how much more faith I can instil in a system that is clearly failing. Please. On a side note this status isn’t for popularity or sympathy. I want anyone who reads this to start actively questioning what’s being done about this. I don’t want any likes or reactions. I want awareness. I want people to stop fucking doing this to each other. Unless we as a society stand up to our government and demand that something changes nothing will. I can’t beg everyone enough to please please please stop this. This summary is for those who don’t have the time to watch the video.
Posted by Rhyen Martin on Tuesday, 31 July 2018
Martin also aims to speak to the younger generations in high schools about the impact of these incidents, hoping to spread awareness through his own story.
“I’m doing this so people stop hurting each other. It needs to stop.”
Martin’s attack took place outside of the comedy club he worked, where he recalls walking out a few patrons before being viciously punched, leaving the rest of the night hard to remember.
“I have a couple memories of the manager’s office and then the ambulance, but other than that, the rest of the night was a blur.”
He had facial reconstruction surgery that led to a mark not only on his head but his life.
“The punch was from behind and just caused a severe bruise on the base of the back of my skull and top of the neck.
“The impact of my full unconscious weight hitting the tile floor face first caved it in.
“I spent a lot of time in and out of the hospital and clinics. I had to come back to the hospital about 2 weeks later to have my surgery because they couldn’t operate until the swelling subsided.
“For about 2-3 weeks after the injury, my memory was blurry and not very clear.”
Three years since the incident, Martin continues to struggle daily with the repercussions of the assault.
“I wake up most days with headaches, I have anxiety, I struggle to go out, but I still do because that’s what my psychologist recommended, and I’ve had to undergo rehabilitation.
“It’s been a very long process to get to where I am but I am comfortable with my head now and its limitations.
“My rehabilitation was a very long and slow process. In the beginning, there was tremendous emotional and physical pain. I had to leave Brisbane and my partner at the time to go back home to Darwin and be with my family for support.
“I spent a lot of my time feeling cheated and broken. It took me a couple years to get to where I’m at currently. I still have to go through daily processes and deal with the consequences of the incident.”
Cases of these attacks are regularly appearing in headlines, more commonly now than ever.
Another one punch attack took place in Victoria on July 26 where a man was left staggering on a Frankston footpath after an unprovoked attack between four men.
Three men are shown on CCTV footage to have left the man after he lost consciousness, smiling as they walk away.
A 32- year old man was granted bail after being charged with intentionally causing injury after handing himself in to police.
According to the One Punch Can Kill campaign, there were 175 one-punch attacks in Australia from February 2005 to August 2012 with Victoria holding the title for the most attacks in the country.