Lisa – Domestic Violence Expert and Advocate

Lisa – Domestic Violence Expert and Advocate

My name is Lisa and I am the founder of Lisa’s Sanctuary – DV awareness, support and hope. I am an expert and advocate of DV and have a vision to guide people from a victim mentality to a survivor mindset.

I have refrained from referring to myself as an expert because who am I to be an expert in this field? Who am I to share my knowledge and profess to know so much?

The fact is though, I am an expert and it’s time I believed in myself and my ability to help.

I have a lived experience of DV. I once believed the only way out of my relationship was in a body bag. But here I am, 7 1/2 years later, living a life of peace and freedom, confidence and self-worth to remind you all that there is life after DV.

I am currently enrolled in a Graduate Diploma of Domestic and Family Violence Practice where I’m delving more into the theories, responses, interventions, definitions of DV and all of the associated abuse. I see myself and my abuser in these theories and definitions. Knowledge is power.

I escaped my DV relationship with my life but with no self-confidence, self-esteem or self-worth. I was in a victim mentality for some time. I continued to prove to my abuser in unhealthy ways that I was enough. But none of it was very satisfying.

Over the years, I have gained all of that and then some. I am living a life that I deserve because I am worthy of it. I truly believe that. And that’s what I want to help others do. To guide people from a victim mentality to a survivor mindset.

What can you do to reduce Domestic Violence?

What can you do to reduce Domestic Violence?

Yes I do think it’s everyone’s responsibility to help prevent and reduce Domestic and Family Violence.

How do you do that?

🔹 By educating yourself on what abusive and controlling behaviours are.

🔹 Observe your own actions and reactions to better understand your emotions and feelings. It’s ok to feel angry, frustrated, sad, upset, disappointed. Your emotions are valid because they are yours but it is never ok to bully, intimidate, provoke, lash out or degrade someone else because of the way you feel.

🔹 Learn to self regulate your emotions and come up with strategies that work for you instead of lashing out. This could be walking away, spending 5 minutes doing deep breathing, turn the music up and dance. Do anything that makes you feel good and raises your vibration because it is never ok to make someone else feel like garbage because of the way you feel.

🔹 Calling out those who display them especially if they are close friends or family members. Don’t turn a blind eye or develop selective hearing if you witness your brother or sister, cousins or best friend say something mean and derogatory. Tell them it’s not cool. Pull them up on it in a respectful and tactful way to cause them to think about their behaviour.

🔹 Post DV support numbers on your Facebook. You never know who in your friends list is experiencing DV and may hold onto that number ‘just in case’

🔹 Prevention is much easier than healing and therapy later so teach your children about resilience and self esteem and confidence for it is insecure people who degrade and bully another human being in order to make themselves feel better or more superior.

🔹 Teach your children that if they feel a tight uncomfortable feeling in their belly’s in response to something someone has said or done that it’s their body’s instinct and gut feeling. They should pay attention to that and trust it. They can say Stop, I don’t like the way that makes me feel.

🔹 If your child hears someone say Stop, I don’t like the way that makes me feel teach them that they need to respect that and stop the behaviour. They don’t get to assume how it makes someone feel or determine that person is just sensitive and over reacting. They need to stop. Period.

🔹 Offer non-judgemental support to anyone who opens up to you. You may not be a professional but you can be caring and supportive. Pass on numbers and local support services. Understand that leaving isn’t easy, in fact it is often the most dangerous time in a relationship for a victim and their children.

And always remember that you are important, you are enough and you can make a difference 💜

My Story

My Story

I was 15 when I met him. It was my first relationship. I was in a pretty bad place in my young years and it felt safe and comforting to be with someone. To begin with, there were no alarms bells. No red flags. I didn’t know any different.

Gradually the name calling stepped up. So did the mental abuse in the form of telling me no one else would ever want me, making me feel useless and worthless. Blaming me for everyone that went wrong Things were always my fault. He’d tell me he wouldn’t say the things he did if I wasn’t so stupid.

And still, I didn’t know what Domestic Violence was. The term wasn’t in the media. No one spoke of it. I actually didn’t learn what Domestic Violence was until about 11 years later. I didn’t know it was a thing, I just knew it was a horrible way to live.

By the time I understood I was living in a Domestic Violence relationship, I felt stuck. I had no self-esteem, no self-confidence and after being with him since I was 15 years old, I didn’t know any other life. I was terrified of being on my own. I was terrified of being a single Mum. And I was also terrified he’d actually kill me and my family if I ever left, like he’d threatened for so many years.

Arguments got physical sometimes, but it was the mental abuse that still haunts me. I’d will him to hit me sometimes. Because in my mind the episode would be over on the spot. The arguments and screaming and blaming and threats could go on for hours. And they never let up. I wished so many times he’d just hit me or knock me out so it was over. But instead I sat in my own home constantly in fear, constantly crying, hating life, hating myself.

Bitch, whore, slut, dumb fuck. Those words have lost their meaning to me these days. But what remains is the way I was made the feel. The eggshells I walked on. The fear of setting him off or doing something wrong. Feeling like I couldn’t do anything right or that nothing I did was good enough.

It took an allegation of cheating (he believed I cheated on him with a friend on a night we went to a social function together), a whole weekend of abuse, damage to my property and then calling me on Monday morning at work, visiting my workplace, more phone calls, threats and believing he would truly kill me this time that I let a work colleague call the police. That phone call started my leaving journey. I was bundled off to the police station to give my statement and apply for an Apprehended Violence Order in between phone calls and verbal threats to myself and my property.

He was charged with intimidation and ordered not to come anywhere near me, my house or my workplace. I was petrified to begin with. My mum and friends stayed at my house constantly because I was too scared to be there on my own in case he came over. I carried my phone to the washing line and slept with my phone in my hand. I only left the house for work and to get essentials. I looked over my shoulder constantly and I wondered if the stress, fear and angst was worth it.

It’s been 7 years now since I left and the stress, fear and angst was worth it. It’s been a tremendous journey. Not without its ups and downs, good times, bad times and downright messy times. But I’m so glad I did because this is a freedom I’ve never experienced before. And it’s a very beautiful feeling.