Trigger Warning: This article describes a specific person’s experiences with DFV. This may be triggering to readers with similar experiences.
Sometimes the man you love turns out to be someone you don't even know. You build a life, have children and then the controlling starts. The emotional abuse and the financial abuse, deciding who you can see and what you can wear. Sometimes there's drugs. He stops you from working and gives you no money. You lose contact with your friends and family. Then the physical violence starts, the sexual violence.
At some point, where you can't take it anymore, you call the Police. They place an Apprehended Violence Order on him. He breaches it more than once and gets a stint in gaol. After he's out, he does it all over again. He can't help himself and is back inside. He'll be out again soon and when that happens, You need to be gone.
This is my life. This is what happened to me. I didn't know what to do and for six months, I called every organisation I could think of but strangely, nobody was willing to offer any real help. Why, what did I do wrong? What is it about my situation that makes me ineligible for assistance? This question plagues me.
I'm desperate. I need to leave before he gets out of prison. I need to be gone.
Then, someone told me about Safe Haven Community. I called them, they listened, asked a lot of questions, assessing my situation in detail. And then the kind calming voice says, "Yes, we can can help you. We can get you out"
"But I'm trying to move from another state. I have the resources to travel but nowhere to go"
"We can help with accommodation", says the Safe Haven operator. "Keep you safe, keep you from being found. It's temporary, but it will be enough to get you on your feet. Help you make a new start".
Initially I found it this hard to believe, but then two weeks later, 'bingo!', here I am in another state, in Queensland safe and sound, supported by someone to counsel and guide me. Help me navigate the support network of Domestic Violence providers who WILL help me.
It's been a long time since I have felt this happy. I have a spring in my step. I am in a secure place, I have stopped crying, my anxiety levels are down, my kids are laughing and playing. I've had the best night's sleep in years.
Here's to the beginning of my new life thanks to Safe Haven Community. I'm told they've done this with no help from government. They do this with only the support and generosity of the community. I think they are special. They are a special breed.
If you are experiencing abuse or violence it is not your fault. There are support services that can help you. If you are in immediate danger of physical violence, CALL 000. For 24/7 domestic violence counselling call the National Sexual Assault, Family Violence Counselling line at 1800 RESPECT that's 1800 737 732.
The most important thing you can give a woman escaping domestic abuse, is a roof over her head. If you'd like to help Safe Haven Community you can easily get involved by:
Becoming a regular donor to Fiver 4 A Survivor
Get behind Our Bridge to Brisbane Fund Raiser
Donate to our Safe House Project.
Contact Safe Haven with any other questions you might have.