Last week I attended my first Business Chicks breakfast. Business chicks is an opportunity for likeminded women to gather together as a community for networking and a little fun. This particular breakfast was scheduled to have Rosie Batty as the guest speaker. I have been thinking of attending a business chicks event for a long time and knew this was the one not to miss. I wanted to hear for myself, how someone can be so strong. Having a son the same age as Luke, I felt I needed to understand it was possible to be strong if something dreadful happened, and I wanted to know how I can help. I certainly found the answers to my questions, but I also found so much more.
I have actually lived through a few abusive relationships myself. I spent many years being grateful for the opportunity to get out of a physically abusive one so quickly, I had only been caught in his web for 12 months before he disappeared (just never came home one day, to be found shacked up with another girl), so I had always felt I had a reasonable idea of why people cannot just walk away from these issues. Hearing Rosie Batty speak even challenged my ideas on these issues though.
“Violence is always a choice” -Rosie Batty
The first one and the biggest one of the day for me was an answer to a question I hear all too often, “Why don’t they just leave”? There are many reasons one might not leave a perpetrator, fear of the violence escalating, financial inability, no support, nowhere to go are just a few of them. But then Rosie asked one simple question and it totally challenged even the way I thought, “Why do we make the victim leave the situation, why don’t we make the perpetrator leave instead”?
This is a great time to point out that physical abuse is only one form of abuse, mental, financial, sexual, and elder abuse are a few more. In any and all of these situations, why must the victim be the one to leave the stability of a home. Why must the victim be the one to face even more instability, when life is already so terrifyingly unstable.
Abuse is all about control, when people finally have an opportunity to take some control back, and do something brave like seek help, or put a protection order in place, very often that perpetrator will ramp up their abuse in an attempt to further control the person or the situation.
It is time as a community that we have conversations around what we see, support others and never to stand in judgement. It is impossible to understand what someone is going through when looking through the safe glasses of sideline judgement.
Most importantly I came away with some amazing tools that Rosie shared with us, and I wanted to share these with you. 1800 Respect is a website and phone number that provides counseling services and support for those suffering from abuse and for friends and family who are concerned about abuse in the relationship of someone close. Our Watch is a fantastic resource for changing the attitude towards violence against women and their children, this website also has a link for a space for teens called The Line. A brilliant website helping to navigate consent, presented in a teen friendly way. Finally although not at all limited to these few, I Matter, an awesome app aimed at helping young women recognise the signs of abusive behaviour.
“Violence in all its forms is abhorrent” – Rosie Batty
A very different post from me, but one in which was a timely and important reminder for myself that I felt necessary to share.
Linking up with Essentially Jess For #IBOT