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Built to serve

Updated: Jan 1, 2022

As humans, we are built to serve and help others. According to Evan Carmichael in Forbes magazine, if you are not happy you are not serving.

Broken to Brilliant has service to others as our mission – we just use different words. Our mission is:

Domestic Violence Survivors mentoring fellow survivors

who are creating a new chapter in their lives.

The meaning of the word ‘mentoring’ includes helping or serving.

Why ask survivors to serve their fellow survivors?

Research has found that long-term volunteering has positive effects and improves psychosocial well-being and physical and cognitive health. Recently a study found that short term volunteering can reduce depression (Da et al 2021).

Being of service as women survivors working together to reinforce the long journey of recovery for other survivors can be a powerful healing strategy (Gilbert 2020).

When survivors use their own lived experience in a positive way to help another survivor, this process can positively reinforce their sense of worth and bring meaning to the abuse previously experienced (Gilbert 2020). Working together results in creating a mutual, supportive, shared process of recovery and self-actualisation for survivors of domestic abuse (Evans, 2007, Gilbert 2020).

If Forbes magazine, Amen Clinics and the published journal literature don't convince you, then maybe a Buddhist monk can help. Jay Shetty, during an interview with Lewis Howes titled How to Find Your Purpose In 9 Easy Steps, discussed the importance of service and how service builds confidence.

Helping other people builds up your confidence. When you can see the impact you have on other people you are helping, you begin to feel better about yourself. Jay Shetty believes low self-esteem is a result of people not serving others.

Broken to Brilliant believes the research. We have experienced the benefits of serving other survivors firsthand in founding the Charity and running programs to serve others.

The results and words from participants say it all. One survivor wrote us a letter saying the Broken to Brilliant team were angels on earth for allowing her voice to be heard… and for the unconditional support.

Self-care strategies

In the Blogging GEMS program which includes the self-care strategies of gratitude, exercise, mindfulness yoga, service and support, we encouraged survivors to consider how they could serve others and to reflect on what they were currently doing and how it was helping them on their healing journey.

To encourage us to serve and heal, Mara Basanovic, Chief Executive Officer of Volunteering Queensland kindly gave up her time to present the importance of volunteering to the Blogging GEMS participants.

Mara shared how being of service or volunteering is a well-travelled pathway for healing, self-care, personal growth and connection. In Queensland, 3-million people volunteer and 63% volunteer to help others (Volunteering Queensland, 2021).

Grief, loss, legal and family court, housing, employment, and shared custody are some of the issues survivors need to navigate on their lifelong journey towards healing. Reaping the benefits of serving others can only come when domestic violence survivors are ready with the 'space' – mentally, psychologically, and physically. Then, they can travel another road on their healing journey.


Blogging GEMS program

This Blog is a part of the Blogging GEMS program, which supports domestic violence survivors to practise the self-care strategies of Gratitude, Exercise, Mindfulness, Support, and Service (GEMS). As they practise the strategies, they blog about can read their survivor GEMS Blogs:

Gratitude Blogs:

Exercise Blogs

Mindfulness Meditation Blogs:

Service Blogs

Support Blogs



  • Amen Clinics (2021). How Giving Back Boosts Your Brain, Mind, and Life

  • Da, J., Warner, L., Ming-Lin Chong, A., Li,T., Wolff, J., and Chou L. (2021). "Benefits of Volunteering on Psychological Well-being in Older Adulthood: Evidence from a Randomized Controlled Trial." Aging & Mental Health 25.4: 641-49. Web.

  • Elderton, A., Berry, A., & Chan, C. (2017). A Systematic Review of Posttraumatic Growth in Survivors of Interpersonal Violence in Adulthood. Trauma, Violence & Abuse, 18(2), 223-236.

  • Evans, I. (2007). Battle-scars: Long-term effects of prior domestic violence. Centre for Women’s Studies and Gender Research Monash University.

  • Flasch, P., Fall, K., Stice, B., Easley, R., Murray, C., & Crowe, A. (2020). Messages to New Survivors by Longer-Term Survivors of Intimate Partner Violence. Journal of Family Violence, 35(1), 29-41.

  • Gilbert, B. (2020). Exploring the experiences of domestic abuse survivors working in the field of domestic abuse support: Assisting recovery or re-victimisation revisited? Journal of Gender-Based Violence, 4(1), 73-87.

  • Gray, D, Stevenson, C. How can ‘we’ help? Exploring the role of shared social identity in the experiences and benefits of volunteering. J Community Appl Soc Psychol. 2020; 30: 341– 353.

  • Jenkinson, Caroline E, Andy P Dickens, Kerry Jones, Jo Thompson-Coon, Rod S Taylor, Morwenna Rogers, Clare L Bambra, Iain Lang, and Suzanne H Richards. "Is Volunteering a Public Health Intervention? A Systematic Review and Meta-analysis of the Health and Survival of Volunteers." BMC Public Health 13.1 (2013): 773. Web.

  • Melgar Alcantud, P., Campdepadrós‐Cullell, R., Fuentes‐Pumarola, C., & Mut‐Montalvà, E. (2021). 'I think I will need help': A systematic review of who facilitates the recovery from gender‐based violence and how they do so. Health Expectations: An International Journal of Public Participation in Health Care and Health Policy, 24(1), 1-7.

  • Munro-Kramer, M., Dulin, A., & Gaither, C. (2017). What survivors want: Understanding the needs of sexual assault survivors. Journal of American College Health, 65(5), 297-305.

  • Ragavan, M., Thomas, K., Medzhitova, J., Brewer, N., Goodman, L., & Bair-Merritt, M. (2019). A Systematic Review of Community-Based Research Interventions for Domestic Violence Survivors. Psychology of Violence, 9(2), 139-155.

  • Stenius, V., & Veysey, B. (2005). It’s the Little Things. Journal of Interpersonal Violence, 20(10), 1155-1174.

  • Volunteering Queensland. (2021). State of Volunteering in Queensland 2021.

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