We all have a story to tell about who we are, what we do and what we value. Here is a glimpse into mine.
If someone would have told me that one day, I would disconnect from the name I was born with, I wouldn’t have believed them.
If I had not fled with my children; we may well have been another family violence statistic. I was left with no other option than to flee and literally change our names, to try and break free and start a new life.
Leading up to this my life was a complete mess; it was spiraling out of control. I desperately wanted to escape, but I didn’t want to uproot my life in the process.
This was a very dark time, and I was frightened I would never be free from the abusive behaviors of my x, but that window of opportunity did eventually come and it gave me an opportunity to see that there was a different path I could take.
It was so scary taking those first few steps because I had no idea whether there was a safe refuge for me and my children at the end of that path.
I did take those steps filled with uncertainty. It was a long while before the path to my new life appeared to become safer and my surrounds looked more tranquil and less menacing.
During those years that I was in an abusive relationship, not only had I lost my way, but I had lost my voice.
I was too scared to speak up and speak out about what was really going on in my life.
I did my best to hide from the danger and try and avert being hurt as much as I possibly could.
Then one day when I could not manage to live hidden away in silence anymore, I found my voice and I began crying out for help.
I suffered more at first because I had dared to defy the one who had a hold on the lives of me and my children. The situation escalated.
When our survival was in jeopardy, we were lucky enough to be given an opportunity to try and break free from the cycle of abuse. Thankfully, my x was kept away by the authorities long enough for me to realize that I had a short window of time to flee with the children to somewhere we could not be found.
We left our home, our community, our relatives and our friends behind and we tried to make a fresh start.
This time of radical transition was a major upheaval for us, we were still living in a state of uncertainty, waiting and worrying that my x would track us down. We were all traumatized.
Our lives did not immediately get better the moment we packed up and left. It took time, support, and resilience for us to start our path to healing.
I didn’t turn my life around on my own, but it started with me.
Every difficult step I took started with me pushing past the horrible fear that was pressing down on me.
This involved me enlisting the help of the police, the courts, professional support services, counseling support services, charitable organisations, support groups and the children’s various schools on our journey.
Thankfully, our situation and our circumstances have gradually improved over time.
We are still healing from the life that we have left behind, but we have come a long way.
Perhaps you see some of yourself in my story. I know that my story is sadly all too common, but like mine, can have a happy ending.
I hope that my story built on the building blocks of courage and support can be a testament in itself of hope for others like me for a way forward.