Respect Is... by VSAC member Yara

Victim Survivors' Advisory Council member Yara* has written a poem about what respect is for her as part of the 16 Days of Activism Against Gender-Based Violence and International Day of People with a Disability.

Monday, 30 November 2020 at 10:52 pm

Yara* lives with multiple disabilities and chronic illnesses and is a victim survivor of family violence, childhood abuse, and institutionalised abuse. She became the Disability Representative on Victoria's Victim Survivors' Advisory Council in January 2020. The video below is an adaptation of the spoken word piece.

Respect Is...

Respect is patience, empathy, kindness, being loving and gentle.

Respect is respecting and loving yourself first, nurturing yourself.  

Respect is living free from violence, abuse, discrimination and phobias. 

Respect is acknowledging you were born from a woman, you came from a woman and there wouldn’t be any future without women. 

Respect is not putting disabled women down, just for being who we are. 

Respect is loving and embracing all diversities, all races, all cultures, all genders, all sexualities, all abilities and peoples from all walks of life.

Respect is feeling safe in your body mind and spirit. 

Respect is knowing you can say how you feel without being put down or having your feelings dismissed or ignored.

Respect is feeling like you can speak your mind, and say anything you want, without being judged or put down for it.

Respect is being able to easily say no to anything you’re not comfortable with. 

Respect is having disagreements but being able to talk through them, working out solutions together, negotiating and meeting each other half-way.

Respect is knowing when you need space to nurture yourself and your relationships.

Respect is making equal sacrifices for the good of your family’s and relationships.

Respect is doing anything for the person you love but knowing your own boundaries.

Respect is sticking by the ones you love in the hardest of times, whilst drawing the line on having no tolerance for and making no excuses for abuse.

Respect is being loved for your good, your bad and your ugly, and having the patience to work through your own and your partner's issues.

Respect is learning from mistakes and feeling safe to make more mistakes.

Respect is knowing you can count on them to do right by you, knowing they have your back.

Respect is not having any negative feelings in your gut and trusting your gut instinct and your heart. 

Respect is healing your trauma as much as possible so that it doesn’t impact your partner, your children and the next generations. 

Respect is not making excuses for when you are in the wrong.

Respect is learning from your mistakes and seeking help if you can’t change.

Respect is having the humility to say sorry, right your wrongs, learn from your mistakes and change your behaviours.

Respect is treating all women and peoples how you would like to be treated yourself, and equal respect to how you would treat your own daughter.

Respect is doing our best to change the housing and homelessness system so that no one escaping family violence is forced into homelessness.    

Respect is intervening in family violence when it’s safe to do so.

Respect is being an ally and a friend to all victim survivors of family violence. 

Respect is educating children and young people that abuse and violence is never acceptable, normal or OK. 

Respect is acknowledging and remembering everyone who has died from family violence.

Respect now, respect for the future, respect always.

Respect, before it’s too late…


*not her real name