Tuesday, April 29, 2014

Speech by Toni Gorman - Domestic Violence

This Moving and shocking speech by Toni Gorman was presented at Helensvale Daybreak Toastmasters on Wednesday 9th April, 2014.


Did you know that in Australia, 52 females each year die at the hands of their partners?  (White Ribbon Australia, 2014; Sydney Morning Herald, 2014)

Did you know that Domestic Violence is not limited to females? Males too, can become victims. (Dept of Family & Community Affairs, 2014)

Did you know that one in three women over the age of 15 years report physical or sexual abuse at some stage in their lives? (Australian Human Rights Commission survey, 2008; Dept of Family, & Community Affairs, 2014; Bureau of statistics, 2005)

One in three - that is huge! That could be your daughter; your sister; your niece; it could be you; or your very dear friend!

At the very core of Domestic Violence is power play and control.
The perpetrator begins by slowly cutting off your social circle, one by one. They control who you have in your life. They prey on the fact that you will be too scared to tell anyone what is happening. And you are too scared. You think that if you tell, they will find out, and the abuse will only intensify. You long for a peaceful existence. You will do anything to keep them happy, and on an even keel so that you too, can be happy. (Domestic Abuse Intervention Program, 2014)

Professionals will tell us that Domestic Violence is a vicious cycle. 
The abuse begins with an ACT of abuse. You are shocked! You can’t believe this is happening. You are hurt, and very, very sad. Then comes the APOLOGY. They are so, so sorry that you made them do it. You feel you should have known better than to say, or do what you did. You feel you should have done more to prevent their outburst. So you begin to walk on egg shells and the perpetrator makes amends. He says he loves you. You want so much for things to be right. And things become calm for a while.

Then, you LET YOUR GUARD DOWN. And guess what. It happens AGAIN….and AGAIN…and AGAIN. And every time you complete this cycle, you lose a little bit more of yourself. (Healthy Place, 2014)

Rachael Taylor recently spoke about her ordeal with Matthew Newton, some three and a half years ago. She spoke about feeling isolated, and how her self-worth slowly diminished until she became just a quarter of the person she once was. She spoke about having lost her voice, and the shame that she felt. (White Ribbon Australia, 2014; Australian Women’s Weekly, March 2014 edition)

We are told that we must break the cycle of abuse.
We are told that the longer we stay, the more the abuse intensifies, and the harder it becomes for us to leave. But for many, the very act of breaking free has had chilling consequences…

Lisa Harnum recently tried to break free from her toxic relationship with fiancé Simon Gittaney. The chilling consequence for her was that she lost her life as she was thrown over the balcony of a Hotel apartment. (News Corp Australia, 2014)

Rosie Batty is another victim who tried to break free. While she managed to escape, Rose paid the ultimate price. The chilling consequence for her was that she lost her eleven year old boy. Her only child! You see, when her perpetrator finally accepted that he could no longer control Rosie, he turned to the only precious thing she had left. He killed their son. Her son. Her innocent little boy!

Over the years, there has been much said about Domestic Violence. Yet, for all the education that is out there, chilling stories like these still seem to make headlines. I think it’s because, if you don’t break free early, it becomes so, so hard to break free. And it also becomes just as hard to stay free. It takes a conscious effort each and every day to remain strong, and to not let your guard down.

I have a vision that in generations to come, there will be no Domestic Violence.
It simply will not exist. Yes, I can see you all shaking your heads saying “that will never happen”. I know…I know….

But by gee, wouldn’t that be a great goal to work towards?

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