Program gives domestic violence victims new life
MEGAN* had almost forgotten what it was like to believe in herself.
Losing confidence and constantly being shrouded in self-doubt were two of the main side effects of being in an abusive relationship.
But in the last two months since she left her abusive boyfriend and the father of her child she has been making steps to build up her confidence.
Roma's very own Rise Up Be Yourself (RUBY) program has helped her and other women talk about abusive relationships.
"I potentially should have seen it from the start, but things were awesome for a while but it was little comments he made that chipped away at my self-confidence over time," Megan said.
"I noticed I stopped going dancing, I stopped going out and I constantly doubted everything I did."
But it was when the emotional abuse turned physical she knew it couldn't last.
"It came down to when my daughter was born that I realised how wrong it was," Megan said.
"It was normal in a way, I never saw my mum treated the best so I didn't think much of it."
Megan said she hoped other women who are still in or have been in abusive relationships could find the strength to speak to someone.
"It is the best thing I have ever done," she said.
"I questioned myself so much when I started, it doesn't mean you don't love them.
"But if they really love you they will want to fix themselves or their anger problems and won't want to hurt you any more.
"I didn't realise some of the stuff he was doing at first was considered abuse, like threatening self harm if I left."
Now attending RUBY sessions weekly, Megan said she was on a path to being a confident woman once again.
"It is amazing to have women around you telling you that you can do stuff, after being told you can't for so long," she said.
If you are in an abusive relationship and want to get involved with RUBY you can phone Roma police and talk to Rochelle on 46229333.
You can also call the Domestic Violence Hotline on 1800 811 811 or Centacare Roma on 1300 477 433.
*Megan's name was changed to preserve her anonymity.
HOW PERPETRATORS OF DOMESTIC VIOLENCE CAN TAKE THE FIRST STEP
By Tom Gillespie
CASE worker Tamikah Kuhn wishes there was an easy answer for why men become perpetrators of domestic violence.
But the DV practitioner at Centacare Roma, who has worked with perpetrators in her job, has found some common traits with many of them.
She said men list rage issues, substance abuse and the normalcy of violence in the home for their abusive behaviour.
"They mostly based it on their anger and their inability to control it, but these are often used to excuse their behaviour," Ms Kuhn said.
"There's also the intergenerational risk factors because they've grown up witnessing abuse in a family environment and that has been a part of their life.
"It's a vicious cycle as in some cases they've grown up witnessing and learning those behaviours."
But Ms Kuhn said there was still hope for perpetrators if they were willing to acknowledge their behaviour.
"I don't think there is hope for (behaviour change) without getting support from services, but if they are willing to engage and make themselves accountable and responsible, then (they) definitely can," she said.
"There's definitely not blame - it's about bringing it out and getting them to acknowledge what they've done.
"Our role is to seek out the underlying reasons for their need to control and have power over someone."
Ms Kuhn said she also worked with children as an early intervention and prevention strategy, especially youths who are considered at-risk.
IF YOU think you or someone you know might be a perpetrator of domestic or family violence, phone 1300477433 for services in Roma.