Being tormented behind closed doors and have it disguised as ‘love’ is inhumane, I know this because I have lived it. So, I ask you to be courageous and add your own voice to ending family violence, as your voice will constitute change, you can be an active part of the solution. Violence is a choice and is never acceptable, regardless of which walk of life you are from, these facts are universally correct.
I choose to stand against family violence as it is a human rights violation that has no place in our society. A crime committed every day, every hour, every minute, and every second. Everyone should be afforded the right to feel safe and respected in their own home, workplace, community and in wider society. I once sadly endured a life that no one should ever have to live for multiple years. They say everyone has a challenging chapter in their life story that they do not wish to read out loud, however for me, it was important to share my most challenging chapter out loud – because I knew that it would constitute change.
I am proud to take a stand, challenge and contribute to re-designing a system, one that is reliable and consistent. I made the choice to speak out to empower others to live the lives they had imagined but just never thought would be possible. I am committed to holding all Australian’s to account and be a catalyst for change. This issue must continue to be everybody’s business, as harm to another human being is not a private matter. I made a choice to turn my pain into power- power to evoke change and engage the leaders of our country to understand a problem sweeping the nation. We can no longer fail to protect the vulnerable, leaving them unseen and unheard, as though they are nothing at all.
Change starts with every individual recognising that obligation sits with all of us and the responsibility is on each of us to play a greater role in creating the necessary change. As a collective, we need to use all our voices to call out unacceptable behaviours, challenge our current culture and community attitudes through appropriate, respectful language and role modelling and view each other as equals. We must make people stop and think about the impact their words and actions have and create platforms to promote the prevalence, raise awareness, educate and contribute to prevention.
Both my academic background and my story are powerful ways that I can elicit major change. I faced many unrelenting obstacles and some unimaginable times, but I believed in my strength to navigate my way through. My contribution leading to creating legislative and mandated reform, successfully highlighting the gaps and failures within the system and represented the voiceless victims. We are now embracing a new way forward to ensure victims’ rights and wellbeing are paramount, perpetrators are held to account, justice is provided and that we are placing victims and children’s voices at the centre of all reform.
Things will change if our leaders continue to provide a platform for family violence to be spoken about openly, leaders must listen to learn and lead in a manner that inspires our nation to think and feel in a different way than ever before, accomplishing a sense of responsibility for all. We must continue to connect to the issue in ways that hold meaning and expose the complexities surrounding it.
Understanding the real experience and that these experiences are people’s lives, not just statistics and to gain greater awareness of how family violence affects victims, survivors and their family/friends and the damage that is forever lasting. We must continue to have the ‘uncomfortable’ conversation and pose the realities of what is happening behind closed doors. We can anticipate change if we continue to challenge perspectives and normalise the conversation. This can only be resolved with the full participation in prevention and education of women, men and our younger generations, it will take a whole of community approach.
I want to see change because to put it simply- we are better than this and because I know how it feels to fear for my life. Every individual deserves to thrive in an inclusive culture, where relationships are not defined by gender roles, people are able and encouraged to be their authentic self, individuals are respected and feel safe in their own home, workplace and community. We are surrounded by many good, genuine people, and I know that we are capable with our passion and commitment to seek improvements and ensure meaningful outcomes are now actioned and delivered.