I don’t have a personal DV story but what I can say is that I know and understand what living in fear means.
Seven years ago I moved to Australia from South Africa seeking a life where I no longer had to live in fear!
About two years before immigrating, leaving family, friends and the place I called home, I was assaulted by eight men. I was on my way to see a patient and never did I imagine I would become a victim that day.
Following this horrendous experience, I vowed I would never be a victim to such behaviour and promptly started making plans to immigrate.
Eight months on, I was in court testifying as a state witness, and three days in I was boarding a plane to Australia – the land of plenty, the Utopia of all places! I could not wait to live without fear!
I am a Clinical Nurse currently working in the Alcohol, Drugs and Mental Health sector, my primary role is assessment and case management, providing a safe, supportive and non-judgemental environment assisting people who are psychosocially vulnerable and dependant on substances.
I had secured a job with Queensland Health working in the women’s prison system and immediately realised that as much as I escaped violence in South Africa, which happened in public places, I was extremely shocked to learn how many of the women in the prison system were seeking refuge from violence happening within their home – a place that I associate with safety, warmth and love. These women were committing crimes to escape.
My primary goal is to ensure everyone is able to live without fear and help survivors reclaim their dignity. Change society’s view and perception of violence and understand that we need to focus on the behaviours, and not define people as victims. Highlight the perpetrators, hold them accountable and ensure that we lower the tolerance of violence towards anyone without prejudice
Friends with Dignity provides assistance to men, women and children as we understand that it does not discriminate, and affects everyone in the Community in some way, shape or form.
I am inspired by my family, my fellow directors, board members and most of all the amazing volunteers and members of the Community who are actively #SteppingUp to make a difference. The difference we make daily is truly overwhelming and heartwarming. People want to make changes, and to witness this social movement through the work we do is inspiring.
I fortunately have never been directly affected by DV but I am exposed to its effects on a daily basis, and if there is something I can do and a way I can do it, then I have a duty of care to my fellow Australians to do it.
Friends with Dignity are committed to help create a strong, sustainable and socially inclusive attitude and practical service to support anyone affected by Domestic/Family violence and abuse.
There are so many forms of violence, and as much as I’m helping men, women and children affected by Domestic and Family Violence as that is what I saw as prevalent here in Australia, I will stand against any form of violence toward anyone!
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Thankyou. YMag Team