Sandra Sully: Domestic Violence Almost Destroyed Naomi, But She Broke Free
When we ring in the third decade of the millennium next year, Australia will have lost somewhere around 1000 women to homicidal partners.
Let that sink in for a moment.
In sickening acts of domestic violence each year, one woman is killed by a current or former partner on average every week in Australia.
Yet, as a nation, we seem to be becoming strangely desensitised to the statistics and stories we see in the news of woman after woman being killed in domestic disputes.
These horrifying, miserable stories deaden us a little more each time, leaving behind a society that is becoming increasingly numb to the evidence of one of our most violent epidemics.
Women are facing abuse in their homes, whether in the form of the better-known types of violence (like physical, sexual, verbal, and financial abuse) or the lesser-known forms of abuse -- those targeting a woman’s emotional, social or spiritual well-being.
Children are experiencing and witnessing things that most of us find difficult to even comprehend.
Almost all of us know someone with stories of domestic or family violence -- we may even have our own -- but the fear that traps people in toxic relationships also silences survivors and prevents them from speaking about their experiences and passing valuable knowledge and courage onto those still trapped.
Having reported on many of these cases over the years, this has become a cause very close to my heart, and it is heartbreaking.
We need to help women and children -- like Naomi in the featured video above -- feel they can speak about their own experiences and share their stories with those who may be inspired by someone else’s struggle and strength.
We need to provide resources for women facing domestic violence to access and take their first steps to a life free of domestic violence.
They need to know they are not alone -- there is hope and help for them.
Working with BaptistCare on the Halo Ball each year helps raise funds for the frontline support services it provides to women and children.
It’s a chance for me to give back to the community that has supported me as a journalist for so many years.
The Halo Ball has raised more than $300,000 over the past four years to directly support women and children recovering from their situations, but more support is still needed -- because unfortunately, domestic violence remains a reality.
It may be hidden out of sight, behind closed doors, but it is still present at all levels of society.
For women experiencing abuse, who are nursing breaks and bruises both physical and emotional, like Naomi -- I want you to know you are not alone.
The support services provided by BaptistCare and so many other similar organisations are available to anyone experiencing violence in a relationship.
They are a critical first step in breaking the cycle of poverty.
This vital first step in speaking up breaks the cycle of abuse and helps protect current and future generations from soul-destroying violence.
Domestic violence is isolating, but it is not an isolated issue. When we work together, we can do more to help rebuild lives -- and even save them.
We can make a real and lasting difference to the lives of people who are experiencing domestic violence by donating to charities that provide frontline support services. Your donations are 100 percent tax deductible. I urge you to give it some thought.
Doing so directly helps women and children escape dangerous situations, start afresh, and build new lives free from the tension, fear and despair of violence at home.
Rather than allowing ourselves to become numb to the issue of domestic abuse, we must shake off our paralysis, stand beside those facing it, and give them good reason to hope and fight for change in their lives -- and celebrate with them as they succeed and thrive.
I hosted the fourth annual BaptistCare Halo Ball to raise much-needed funds for women and children experiencing family and domestic violence. This year the spotlight is on frontline support services for families impacted by domestic violence, such as supported accommodation, no-interest or low-interest loans, and counselling. You can donate here.
If you or someone you know is in immediate danger, dial 000. If you need help and advice, call 1800Respect on 1800 737 732, or Lifeline on 13 11 14. A range of domestic and family violence resources based around the country can be found here.