I started at Bonnie Support Services as a Family Worker a few weeks ago so I’m new to this organisation. I’m not new to this work though.
I have worked as a social worker with families in a range of services including Family and Community Services, Benevolent Society and Marist 180. I have worked with families from all walks of life and have learnt so many things from the time I have spent with them.
In my work with women and children experiencing domestic violence, there are three outstanding truths I have learnt:
Firstly, there is fear in staying in the current situation and there is also fear in leaving the situation. The burning question is always ‘Should I stay or should I go?’ To choose to leave means the fear of leaving has become less than the fear of staying. It is so scary to think about leaving to begin the process of building a new life from scratch, outside of all the controlled space you have been living in.
Secondly, taking back control of your life means choices and opportunities. Initially, this can be overwhelming: for the first time, in a long time, you can make choices and decisions for yourself and your children.
The freedom to make your own choices, the process of understanding that choices are not set in concrete and can be changed as you grow – are all part of the process of healing.
As you make these choices and take up opportunities, including creating your own home, taking financial control, creating new friendships and support networks, maybe studying and/or working, you gain your independence and heal from the past.
Thirdly, women and children can, and do, heal. Women and kids can leave the past in the past through enabling their power to choose, responding to change and creating a safe, secure and stable lifestyle. It can be hard to imagine but I’ve seen it time and time again and I know it to be true.
And finally, what I have used to encourage women I have worked with and what I use in my own life is this quote from Amelia Earhart:
“The most difficult thing is the decision to act, the rest is merely tenacity. The fears are paper tigers. You can do anything you decide to do. You can act to control your life; and the procedure, the process is its own reward.”
Life is a learning journey – come live!
Written by Marina