Updated: Jan 18
“Why waste one more day being trapped and having no self-confidence and giving your days up to your perpetrator to have you stuck?”
This is the advice from course champion and domestic violence survivor, Julie, who now helps other survivors with the aid of Broken to Brilliant’s innovative free online course, Steps to Rebuild Your Life.
“I’m doing this because if I hadn’t - enrolled in this online program and used the tools, I wouldn’t be where I am now,” says Julie.
The charity Broken to Brilliant has so far empowered 170 domestic violence survivors over the past four years to create new chapters in their lives with course topics that cover fun, friends, fitness, food, finance and your future.
“I’m there to help inspire, empower and give the person who enrols motivation and desire to do the online program and realise the benefits, even though at that time of enrolment they may not be in a good place,” says Julie.
“My job is to walk along beside them as they do it.
“You can only do that through lived experience, because unless you’ve actually lived domestic violence in your life, you’re not going to know what they’ve endured.”
It’s currently completely free to do the course, thanks to a grant provided by The Lord Mayor’s Charitable Trust in Brisbane.
After enrolment, participants are receive a Broken to Brilliant book featuring stories and strategies from fellow survivors; a budget book and regular support from Julie. Participants can do the online course, which consists of short, easy to understand presentations and worksheets, at their own pace.
Julie explains that domestic violence survivors have to deal with a lot of uncertainty and often their control is taken away. However, doing this course helps them to relearn areas of their life that have been controlled. It gives back their self-determination and decision making in their lives.
“Doing this program, you have control over one thing in your life and that in itself is empowering,” says Julie.
“As a survivor, to help build your self-esteem and self-confidence, you need little wins. Those wins lead to bigger wins where you start taking back control of your life.”
The charity’s Co-director, Andrea Miller, says the simple, user-friendly course was deliberately created from a trauma-informed perspective, as recovering from abuse can affect a survivor’s ability to take in new information.
“These are foundation steps to start on their path to look at what they can do for a balanced life. If they can take one thing away from each step, then that’s good.”
Andrea also says it is important they we don’t tell participants what to do because they may already have been controlled by their abusers.
“We just offer suggestions. That’s why the steps are called, ‘Fun YOUR way’ and ‘Fitness YOUR way,’” says Andrea.
Julie adds, that even though leaving the domestic violence relationship is a journey and can be a very long road, she is there to reassure them they’re never alone.
“We’re there for you because we get it!”
For anyone who is wondering whether the course is for them, Julie has this final piece of advice: “Why not grab a hold of these resources and these tools? Gain confidence and gain your life back. Don’t waste another day and allow the perpetrator to take one more day from you.”
Broken to Brilliant is an Australian registered charity, founded and led by domestic violence survivors. We are very grateful for The Lord Mayor’s Charitable Trust in Brisbane as they have generously provided funding to continue the Steps to Rebuild Your life project in 2020-21.
Written by Shoshanna Rose, DV Survivor and Broken to Brilliant Author