Domestic Violence Survivor, Broken to Brilliant Author, Speaker and Advocate Nina was invited to speak on Noosa’s International Women’s Day 2020, held at Noosa Reef Hotel, hosted by Ruby Noosa. The event raised funds for Domestic Violence Community Housing.
Nina joined an impressive line of empowering speakers:
Josanne Falla, Company Director Laguna Signs Noosa
Mia Munro, Amazon bestseller and book author of The Human Reinvention Formula
Clare Stewart, Director of "Dear Molly”
Sandy Bolton, MP, Independent Member of Noosa
Alison Foley, Director of ‘Ten Little pieces’, Environmentalist, Australia Day
Award winner 2020 for Environment & Sustainability
Kelly Carthy, Entrepreneur, writer and leader strategist.
Through a powerful, inspiring speech which received huge applause, Nina introduced the audience to Domestic Violence, her story, how Broken to Brilliant has helped her and about her desire to help others through the web of abuse and a call your help to make a difference.
Read an extract of her powerful speech below.
"Hi! My name is Domestic Violence.
You don’t know me, but I live right next door. I am the billboard and the happy smiles that greet you in the driveway each day. I’m the broken souls and the empty lunchboxes that move from the warmth of your smile to the coldness of reality.
You might recognise me if I showed myself in bruises and broken bones, but most times I don’t. A hint of fear behind a smile and an “I’m ok” as we work busily on the perfection of our billboard. I’m more commonly referred to as ‘known to the victim’.
Interestingly I will pop up in the most unexpected places. Your neighbour or maybe a friend. Even a family member. I’m that ‘nice’ person who is the shining light at a BBQ. I’m the one that does everything for everyone else. I’m the one with a smile and an arm out for those that need it. Confusingly I’m also the one that inflicts fear and pain behind closed doors. And you wonder why they have nowhere to turn?
Guess I’ll be around for a while seeing as there is no apparent need for me to go. I guess that I’m a part of society now. A fixture. An unspoken acceptable.
Either way – allow me to introduce myself. My name is domestic violence and I belong to everyone.
The sad reality is that most people, understandably, don’t identify with the psyche behind domestic and family abuse. How can a seemingly intelligent and strong person end up in such an abusive space, and why don't they leave? I can only speak for myself. The abuse was a prominent factor in my life, as was low self-esteem and the innate need to 'please people' and 'be liked'. My love for this person and my need to feel valid, mixed with his never-ending promise to change wound itself so tightly around my insecurities that the 'abuse' only seemed natural to me. I didn't question the belief that I deserved it – after all, I was ugly and stupid.
Even though I have been in a loving, supportive relationship for over 10 years, I believe my biggest breakthrough came from my association with the Domestic Violence support group Broken to Brilliant. Being given the opportunity to write my truth down in such a safe space with the support of the group and my fellow authors was nothing short of life changing. I have spent over 40 years living with the terror of not being believed. When my chapter, my truth, was published people who were the adults in my childhood came forward and validated the abuse in my early years and apologised for not doing more to stop it. Instead of feeling anger over this it was like a space cleared inside me giving me a sense of peace and allowing my attention to turn toward a more positive outlook. Friends came forward in awkward embarrassment looking to absolve themselves of guilt they felt over not knowing, of not doing something. There was never anything to forgive because I only let them see what I wanted them to see – the happy family. The alternative was too terrifying, as leaving was simply not possible.
As a survivor, my desire now is to help others through the tangled web of abuse. I want to empower those who chose to leave and let those that are not ready know that I am here for them when they are. There needs to be understanding around why this happens, how it can be prevented and what steps need to be taken to assist not only the victims but also the perpetrators so that we can move together from Shattered to Shining.
If I could ask one thing of you all, it would be this. Look beyond the horror of the violence and see the souls caught up in the whirlwind. Take the outrage and the disbelief and turn the focus on to the healing and rebuilding. Don’t judge, or assume, or think that it has nothing to do with you. Be the strength and the love and the shoulder that wasn’t there for me. As a society, we need to remember that family and domestic violence belongs to us all, and together we can make a difference".