...It should be theirs.
As a survivor of domestic violence, and as a women's health counsellor, I want you to believe this. You do not have to hide your story or suffer at home, behind closed doors. Remember, our silence perpetuates their violence.
When we carry the shame and embarrassment of our abuse we effectively re-traumatise ourselves, over and over again. We limit our potential for escape and subsequent healing.
You are not weak. You are not a burden. You are not an inconvenience. You are a human with lived experience that needs to be shared. Your strength comes from sharing your story, not from hiding it.
The Southern Highlands are incredibly lucky to have an amazing team of domestic violence trained workers fighting day in and day out to make women feel heard, supported and empowered. Many of our local workers have their own experience which they can use to help support you. Myself included.
There are a number of local community organisations who can assist with the "Where to from here?" question. These include Highlands Community Centres, Barnardos Family Referral Service, St Vincent De Paul and the YWCA.
You call also call or visit the local (female) domestic violence liaison officer at Southern Highlands Police in Moss Vale.
If you would prefer phone support you can call 1800 Respect on 1800 737 732.
This number is staffed 24/7 by qualified counsellors who can assist you before, during and after you leave.
You can speak to them anonymously if you prefer.
Sadly your story, whilst unique, is not an isolated one. Local people who have also experienced domestic violence can support, nurture and guide you through this. You just need to take the first brave step towards your new life.
- Find out more about Erica's work at www.shecounselling.com.au. She can be contacted at firstname.lastname@example.org, on 0412 707 242 or via socials @shecounselling.