DVRCV Main Menu

Liz's Story

Liz's Story

Liz's Story

There was heaps of trouble in my family, I’m the third youngest there are 20 kids. My mum has been married five times and my dad, well as far as I know, about five times. The combination of those families makes 20 children. Out of my mum and dad together I only have one real full blood sister, which is just unbelievable. So I have learnt as I got older, I didn’t know to start with, but there is a psychiatric background in the family so that took a while to find out. It has been a long journey and not an easy one.


Abuse in my marriage

From a very young child and all through my life I have suffered from depression and I didn’t really understand what it was. During my marriage I suffered what I would describe as about four breakdowns and I got no help from my husband. The most severe depression, as I can understand it now, was when I lost my daughter (a miscarriage at between 26 & 28 weeks), the pregnancy between my two children. It was a loss, a death and a grief and I suppose I would have felt better if I was able to bury her but I wasn’t able to. It was pretty horrific for me so I threw myself into my first child. All I could deal with was cleaning the house. I had a second child and shortly after that I was diagnosed with cancer. I had to have a partial hysterectomy; the doctors left my ovaries intact. I had no support. No support from my husband and no support from my family. I’m one of 20 siblings.

Not long after the first cancer operation I came to Australia with my husband and two children. I began experiencing discomfort and pain when I tried to have sex with my husband – he didn’t understand – I went to see a specialist who operated and found cysts wrapped around my ovaries and bowel. I should have had six weeks off work to recover but with two and a half thousand dollars worth of medical bills I needed to get straight back to work. I worked as a cleaner in a motel. One day I collapsed in one of the rooms because I returned to work too early. The girls covered for me which was really good. I didn’t have the time to heal which was really bad but hey that’s what women do, we sacrifice our health to maintain our households. I had to go back for my six week check up and my husband wanted to come with me, I didn’t really understand why he wanted to come with me, I was quite happy to go on my own. Well, we weren’t in the doctor’s office very long when my husband said he wanted to know when we could have sex. I could have died I was so embarrassed. I was so proud of my doctor’s response though. He said, “Your wife has been through major surgery. She may not be ready for sex for months – it hurts.” When women experience surgically induced menopause they need to go onto hormone replacement medication – it’s terrible, you get depressed and put on weight.

My husband was not interested in my health and wellbeing, he was not interested in me getting better, he was only focused on sex. As a woman I thought I had to have sex with him but it hurt, it felt like my insides were ripping apart. I stayed on the hormone replacement therapy for ten years then gave it away. I thought ten years was long enough it made me feel depressed and stack on the weight. I started to look at alternative therapies.

All throughout this time my husband’s only focus was on sex and this was a big issue for me. I would do anything to avoid going to bed. I would bake all night, clean the house, do my jigsaw puzzles, anything to avoid bed because my husband disrespected me. I would be asleep and he would just jump on top of me. At times during foreplay he would just stop and start masturbating himself. I would be heaving inside I was so disgusted. I could never have talked to him about how I felt, he would just start abusing me; he would just put me down. Back then I was very quiet I wouldn’t have said boo to a goose; I was his puppet.


‘Our relationship should never have started…’

I met my husband when I was very young. Our relationship should have never started and I guess I have always felt guilty about it. I was eighteen and had a full time job. I got some time off work and was holidaying with friends. We were traveling near where my foster parents lived so I decided to get dropped off for the day while my friends went off and did their own thing. My foster sister was also visiting our foster parents with her boyfriend. She was pregnant. At the end of the day my friends returned to pick me up and they were drunk. I said no way would I get in the car with them. I would rather hitchhike. My foster parents asked me to stay the night. Overnight my foster sister got sick with the flu, she needed to stay in bed so my foster parents arranged for her boyfriend to give me a lift home. My foster sister, her boyfriend and I started spending time with each other on weekends. I would go over to their place and help out with the housework – my foster sister wasn’t the tidiest of people.

There was this one time when I was moving house and they were helping. Well, my foster sister wasn’t able to do very much because she had recently had the baby. Her and her boyfriend had this huge fight and he stormed off. Next thing I know is my foster sister is locked in the bathroom and I’m looking after the baby. I was young and naïve. I started thinking she’s taking too long in the bathroom so I start banging on the door calling her. When she didn’t answer I just opened the bathroom door. She was lying with her head under water I screamed and rushed to pull the plug out. She went into the lounge room, got out the yellow pages and began calling numbers. I didn’t know what she was doing. She had been off her medication for a couple of days, she rang an ambulance, she knew she needed help.

Her boyfriend returned demanding to know where she and his baby had gone. He took off after her. Later that night he rang me and said that he and my foster sister’s doctors were going to have her committed the next morning. He sounded so very sad and the way he was talking he sounded suicidal. I picked up on it straight away. I said ‘Don’t be stupid you have a baby, a partner.’ He said ‘No, I have had enough.’ He made me feel so guilty. He made me feel he was the one who needed all the support. I didn’t understand what he had done until years later. He made me feel he was the most needy but hey he wasn’t the one locked up in hospital, my foster sister was, he wasn’t a baby, his daughter was, he was the adult. Anyway I said I would jump into a taxi and come over and stay the night in his spare bedroom. We sat up talking for a long time then I thought I had better go to bed because I had work the next day.

I went to bed then I heard something, he was in my room, getting into my bed. I said ‘What do you think you are you doing?’ I can’t remember what he said but my head was spinning and I just kept saying ‘What do you think you are you doing?’ ‘What about my foster sister?’ He said she doesn’t matter. How do I explain what happened? I felt powerless, I felt an idiot to have put myself in this position.

This is how our relationship began. Now how can anything that starts like that work? How is that meant to be healthy? He was thirteen years older than me, he knew what he was doing. I felt so much guilt, so much guilt, what about my foster sister? My foster sister’s boyfriend; the father of her child became my husband. After I had had our two children there was a court case over his daughter with my foster sister. He would not testify at the court and I found out that it was because he had a criminal record. He had previously been convicted as a paedophile. I had no idea about his past. I mean I was very angry and terrified for my own kids. I rang a friend who was a prison officer, I needed to know whether or not it was true and yes my husband had spent eighteen months in jail for having sex with a fifteen year old girl.

I also found out that my husband had been having with sex with my foster sister at different times throughout our relationship. I felt a connection with his family and I did feel welcomed and the fact that they believed in this life ever after was an attractive idea to me.


How I coped with the abuse

I coped with the abuse by avoiding the relationship. I would stay up all night. He was mentally abusive not often physically abusive. He once tried to drag me through the car door window with my daughter in the car. When the kids were little I always had a hot meal ready in the middle of the day for him to come home to at lunchtime. If I got caught down the street he would go off his rocker, be yelling, demanding to know where I was.


What changed for me….

What changed for me in our relationship was I found myself. I gained my independence. I wanted to learn to drive. My husband wouldn’t allow me to take driving lessons. He gave me lessons, which was a bad idea. But I was determined and anyway I got my license. I wanted to be able to drive myself places. I didn’t want to have to rely on my husband. I was working at the time. I started out with casual job at a supermarket, then I went part time, moved to permanent then got a supervisor’s job. I thought this is great I can go to work, come home, I can meet people socially and I can have a life for me. Then slowly but surely I began to meet the girls for a cuppa before work. I was really organised with my kids in the mornings. They had their routine going; they were fine. I think I just got to a stage when I couldn’t take it anymore. Sometimes I would go to the pokies after work and I would be saying all the time I have to go, I have to go, he will be up here any minute. I suppose in the relationship, even though I was developing some independence, he was still trying to squash me, control me. Life has to be more then just going to work; coming home and getting up and doing it all over again. You have to have some friends.


Leaving my husband and going to a refuge

The week I left him, my head was just building up. My sister came to visit with a friend, they wanted go to the park. I said ‘You go on, I’ll meet you there in my car’. I went to the park I was just sitting there thinking: ‘No, our lives can’t be like this forever. It’s too much for me. He’s controlling and intimidating and if I don’t do something I won’t live much longer, I won’t live under this pressure’. At the park I was looking really down and my sister said, ‘You have to do something. You can’t stay like this’ and I knew I couldn’t continue to live like this. I went back home and rang a couple of places. They gave me information and said ‘When you are ready.’ I said ‘I’m ready right now. If I don’t do it now I will never do it.’ I rang my mother and she told me that my husband had molested one of my sisters years earlier. That gave me more ammunition to leave that day. I said to my sister ‘Quick grab everything you can, we need to pack the car. I’m going.’ My sister had been telling me forever to leave. She was my sister with the perfect life. She had the husband, the kids, house, dog, cat, the rose-coloured life. She just hated the way my husband treated me, how he would speak to me. We would be visiting and my husband would just get up and say ‘We’re going now.’ If there is one thing I’m proud of in my life it’s that I have had my children to the same man, so they are full siblings. That day we went to a safe place.

My husband was to pick the kids up from school. I went to the school and spoke to the headmaster. When the kids came out I said nothing, I couldn’t or else I would have broken down, I had to be strong but they knew something was up, they just knew. I know they knew. The car was all packed up, they just knew. We needed to drive to a meeting spot then on to the safe place. My sister turned up she asked if I had told the kids I said I can’t. She called the kids and starting talking to them. It was just so difficult to listen to, my daughter just screamed. My whole body started shaking; looking into their eyes was the hardest thing. We stayed with a couple of nuns for two nights then on to refuge.

Refuge was not where the kids wanted to be. It’s not what they wanted. At that time they had a 24 hour worker at the refuge which was a great help with the kids. I was very worried about the kids but they were having supervised telephone contact with their father.

From there we went somewhere, I don’t remember where, they wanted the kids to go to school but they wanted them to go to school with different names. They wouldn’t do it. I said ‘They will just run away.’ So I thought – What do we do now? Where do we go from here? We don’t have any good options. So I rang the kids’ father and said ‘Move out of that home and I will bring the children back. On the condition you move out, I’m sorry but it’s not your home, it’s where the children need to be to go to school. I will give you time to think about it but if you agree I will bring the children home’. He moved out to a friend from work.

As soon as I got back with the children I started to organise the house the way I wanted it, unpacking things. He just kept turning up. He still thought he could please himself and do what he wanted to. Every couple of weeks I would come across his things. I just needed his things out, gone. So I thought enough, I rang him and said come and get your things or I will put them out onto the nature strip. During this time I was in contact with a family violence service.

Me and the kids were forced to move out of the house and into accommodation over a shop. We had to move. My ex and I both had a car each. I had been giving him the money to pay for my car but I started getting letters from a debt collector. I went to the Real Estate Agent and said ‘I’m paying $165 a week rent. I can only afford to pay $135.’ I was later referred to a Financial Counsellor. That was horrible. I needed to file for bankruptcy which was just terrible. The Financial Counsellor said I could only afford $100 a week on rent. I said ‘What! You want me to go live in a caravan with my kids? Nuh I won’t do that. I would rather go get a tent and live by the river.’ I couldn’t stay in a caravan with my kids, nuh that’s too cramped. I couldn’t stand it either. It would have been claustrophobic for me.

I found a three bedroom place above a shop for $113.00. The only problem was we had a cat. We lived there for quite a while. It was a new start for us and I started working again.

That was the start of the journey. When we came back from the refuge that was when the counselling started. But really I was doing too much. The kids were having one-on-one counselling, I was doing one-on-one counselling, then the three of us were having counselling together as a family unit and then I was doing CASA (Centre Against Sexual Assault) counselling as well. It got too much. Looking back the only thing I did wrong was I thought when we moved to the property over the shop I could cope with him (my ex), that I was strong enough now, everything’s OK, but it wasn’t OK. Hindsight is a great thing but I now think mediation should have been brought into it, to sort out a few things with the kids.

My son was very difficult. In the end my son went and lived with his father and although I was upset at first I must admit it was a bit of a relief. There was extreme rivalry between my son and daughter. People would say I don’t know how you do it. But hey I loved him, he’s my son. He had problems but some of those problems were from the marriage. You just extremely do your best. What started to happen was he would say I’m going to visit my dad, he would wear me down, I would get sick of the emotional blackmail and I would say just go and ring him. My son then started demanding he live with his dad so he could have a dog. We couldn’t have a dog because we lived over a health food shop it was against the law, it was against regulations. We had got away with having our cat with us but there was no way we could have a dog. Our living together just unravelled over a period of time and slowly but surely my son ended up living with his father.

I got extremely sick, my uncle had just died and I needed to go home. I gathered money together for the airfare. What a disaster. When I got off the plane I really wasn’t feeling the greatest I had lost quite a bit of weight also I had pain in my neck so much bloody pain in my neck. I went to my mother’s who took me to my sister’s about an hour away. My sister went out so I went around to my foster brother’s and said that I really needed to go the doctors for painkillers for my neck (I should have had the medication on me. I should have brought it with me from Australia but I had to leave in such a rush I didn’t have time). The doctor tried to give me the wrong medication – I just went right off, I wasn’t impressed.

Anyway my foster brother took me back to my sister’s where they got me to see a nurse. I was in a lot of pain and sleep deprived. I was standing in my sister’s backyard, I was in terrible pain and the nurse came out and asked me a few questions and I just answered the wrong question: the nurse asked ‘Do you feel suicidal?’ and I answered ‘Yeah’. Next thing I see the police. I thought OK I’ll be all right as long as they don’t handcuff me, I couldn’t cope with that. They took me to a mental health hospital. A team of people were waiting at the door for my arrival. The psychiatrist went to shake my hand but I wasn’t going to shake his hand, I hadn’t asked to be there.

That’s when it all started in there. I just needed the right medication for my neck to stop the pain and I would have been all right. Instead the worst happens, I get in there and they start treating me with all these heavy drugs. I said ‘Hang on – I’m meant to be going to a funeral today, I’m meant to be going to a funeral.’ The staff’s response was “no, you are not going, the doctor said you can’t go”. I got thrown into a cell with a bed and told to make my bed. I could only crawl; my joints had frozen stiff with the drugs they had given me, horrendous drugs. I had to face a room full of doctors who said I was to stay in hospital for six weeks. I thought ‘no way’. I got access to a phone in a small room I placed a chair up against the door so no one could come in and started ringing lawyers until I got a pro bono lawyer who got me out the next day. I had an open return ticket to Australia so I just left. But that was a really bad time.


New relationships and family difficulties

I got into smoking a lot of dope with a boyfriend and became quite unwell. My boyfriend kicked me and my daughter out of our home and we became virtually homeless. I went to stay at my sister’s for a short time. I wanted to home detox but she wouldn’t have a bar of it. She didn’t think it was appropriate because she had children living at home. So I went to hospital for a couple of weeks and my daughter went to stay with her father. That year I ended up going back to a mental health service. I was feeling so mixed up and I never got the help that I needed. I turned up and they said that I didn’t have an appointment. But I did. It was really hard for me to come out and do it (go back to the service) and they turned around and stuffed up the appointment. I lost it, I just walked out I was so angry, it was their mistake. I never went back because they let me down. I never got the right help that I needed. I was counting on them to get some sort of help for myself and my daughter and that just never happened.

I started a relationship with a man who had bipolar disorder and that was disastrous. We went away together and he got really, really sick. He needed help and I couldn’t help him and the police were involved. The police found live ammunition in the van we were travelling around in. I came back to Melbourne and took out an intervention order against him so he could never ever come near me again. I have an indefinite order against him which is good.

When I came back to Melbourne I stayed with a girlfriend but that ended in a serious argument where I hit her. I shouldn’t have but I did – it happened. While living there my daughter rang to tell me that my sister had committed suicide. I got money together for the airfare. I just had to go. My sister and I had a spiritual connection; we lost babies around the same time; we shared experiences. She had had a rough time of it. From the airport I rang my mum. She said “Where are you?” and I said “Here at the airport”. She just hung up on me. I just circled around and around the airport. I had no money and didn’t know what I would do. A policewoman asked if I was all right, then airport security. When I told them my circumstances they found me crisis accommodation. To think none of my family was there to help me.

I went to the funeral, it was only small, I had to go for my sister and for my own sake. The family even had a viewing of the body before the funeral and didn’t invite me. I went to the gathering after the church, my sister from Melbourne was there but we didn’t speak.

When I returned to Australia I went into a women’s refuge in Melbourne. After this I thought about my relationship with my mother. The hurt, the pain, the physical, the mental was too much. It’s just too hard, I don’t and I won’t put myself through it anymore. I have cut off from her. I had to. Every time I rang Mum there was something negative, every time, nothing positive. I thought I’m over this; I have to stop it; she’s just going to keep doing this. She’s not helping me and I’m not helping her.


Where I got my first real help…

From the refuge, I was referred to Hanover Women’s Service. This is where I got my first real help. You have to be interviewed to be accepted into the Hanover program. From that first visit I just had this feeling that I was where I belonged. Two women interviewed me that day. They spoke to me as a person; they said I could say as little or as much about my story as I wanted. They said all the women that stayed with them have a story.

I was asked if I could share in a communal living situation. I met some beautiful people there, outstanding workers that really believed in me. I had a worker that thought I was quite creative and encouraged my creative side. I was very comfortable at Hanover; the workers there treat you as an individual. There is this feeling of acceptance. There is a strong sense of being in a women’s space. I think that was the difference for me. As a foster child I had had male workers – I had no choice. I really appreciated the opportunity to connect as a woman. We celebrated International Women’s Day; I had never experienced that before.

The workers showed me I could have new aspirations; there was the possibility of new opportunities. The workers made me feel good; whole as a person. They were the people that got me the help that I needed, the help that was missing all those years earlier. It had taken five years but eventually I got the help I needed. It was while I was at Hanover that I had to go to court as a witness in a criminal matter. Hanover supported me through it, without them I would have never made it – I was a cot case as it was. They supported me to apply for crimes compensation.

While at Hanover I had another breakdown. I had been under a psychiatrist for about four years but during my time at Hanover I was in and out of the Alfred Hospital psychiatric ward. One of the workers at Hanover suggested I use my compensation money to see a private counsellor and recommended this woman. I started seeing her, she is a psychologist and thank God for her. She was a lifesaver. I feel I was destined to meet her. I learnt so much about ME working with her. I had started cutting myself. I first cut myself when I was 15 but stopped for years. I started again during this period of time. I was finally getting really good help, it took such a long time but finally. The assistance from Hanover and my psychologist let me feel a lot of the built up pain I had felt over my life, as a consequence I started to cut myself. I really think it was a combination of a lot of things that have happened, that I had got to a place in my life where for the first time I was getting the right help and everything was starting to undo inside of me. I was able to be free to let stuff out and my psychologist was able to guide me through that. Telling me it’s normal, it’s OK. You’re OK. There were times when I wasn’t OK but she (my psychologist) was there for that too. She really gave me 100% of her time. Even when I was in hospital she would visit me.

All of this has affected me but it has also affected my children, they haven’t known how to deal with it. Their father came to visit me in hospital, I was OK about that – I was on happy medication so it didn’t matter. I was so heavily drugged. I don’t know what medication they had me on but hey I’d be eating my dinner and my head would end up in my food, it was horrible.

I moved from Hanover to transitional housing but because of a number of issues I wasn’t coping and returned to Hanover. I then received confirmation that I had my Ministry of Housing property.

At first I didn’t want to leave Hanover. I was known as ‘Mum’ by a number of the women that lived there. I would cook roasts, talk and listen to the women. I met many women there that touched me on a spiritual level. Real people, with real problems, it was wonderful to see women blossom while living at Hanover. I can still ring Hanover today, years later. There should be more services like Hanover where women can feel 100% connected. Services with experienced workers who know the system and say things the way they are.

At my Ministry property I had two good neighbours, one beautiful neighbour on the other side, I felt safe. I felt happy. I was near the shops; the beach was not too far. I was really fortunate and spoilt, I felt. I loved that little place. I was there six years. The longest I’ve lived in one place, ever.


I got back with my ex-husband…

Then things started unravelling. I was accepted into a mental health program – I lived in for six months – that’s where I went through the process of learning skills to help me not cut myself. I learnt strategies for self talking, boosting myself, bringing myself to a place that’s comfortable. This is what they taught me but living in a place like that for six months is pretty hard.

While I learnt many things a number of the program’s practices I don’t understand or agree with. Sometime after I left the program I wrote to them raising my concerns about what I had seen and my care while I was there.

Somehow, I don’t know how it happened but it did happen, I got back with my ex-husband during my stay at this residential program. My ex-husband knew that I was on heavy, heavy medication. He would pick me up and take me home for weekend leave.

One time when I signed myself out I remember thinking ‘Nothing is going to wake me tonight’ – not true – I woke up and he was in my back passage. I was just really upset about that – it was sex without consent (I’m so happy I included this in my report that went to the residential program managers). But can you believe it I forgave him for that. Then he did it again, he raped me.

That started a battle with my children. My children didn’t want to believe their father could do that. They thought I was lying. Why would I go to the hospital and let them examine me? Why would I go to CASA (Centre Against Sexual Assault)?

I received a compensation payment for what he did to me. I used that money to continue to see my psychologist. It was such a relief to be able to afford to continue private counselling – my psychologist was my lifeline. I know my psychiatrist played his role because I needed medication but now I would always prefer a psychologist over a psychiatrist.


My last partner…and moving in and out of refuges

My last partner was an alcoholic. I didn’t want to believe it but he was an alcoholic. He also had mental health issues. He was a pathological liar. I met him while I was volunteering at an opportunity shop. He seemed nice so I invited him home for a coffee. He arrived with a ‘six pack’ under his arm. After visiting me a couple of times he just moved in. He was violent. He used all my money on booze and gambling. He threatened me with a gun but the last straw was when he held me by my throat. I left my property with my cat and went to stay with a friend. I got a two year full Intervention Order against him.

I went to Queensland for a break from Melbourne. While there I got sick and ended up in hospital. My mental health caseworker, in Melbourne, was worried about me because I hadn’t let her know I was going away.

When I returned to Melbourne I needed refuge because it wasn’t safe to return home. I stayed in a motel for three days, returned home for a day then he turned up. I then went to a safe house for two weeks, returned home and he turned up again.

The police and CAT (Crisis Assessment Team) were involved this time. I then went to a motel for five days. From there I was organised to go to a rural refuge. I was evicted from that refuge for breaching policy. One thing was I rang the refuge workers to tell them I wanted to ring the police to make a Child Protection notification against another woman in refuge that was not feeding her two small children. Also my beautiful neighbour rang me to say that my ex-boyfriend had turned up again. I rang the police, local to the refuge, to inform them that he had breached his order and asked them to come and speak with me at the refuge – no one else was there at the time. This was against refuge policy.

I was just devastated when they told me I had to leave. I just went into my bedroom and cried and cried. They rang my mental health worker but I couldn’t speak to her. I was just overcome with grief. I accept that I did the wrong thing but it was not malicious. I didn’t mean to do the wrong thing. I think the refuge workers should have given me the benefit of doubt. They knew what I was like. I had been very helpful in the refuge, cooking for everyone, making muffins, doing a lot of the household cleaning.

They couldn’t just kick me out with nowhere to go, for which I’m grateful, because of their duty of care. I was moved to another motel, oh God, motels! Then I went by taxi to a safe place, then on to a metro refuge. I cried all the way to Melbourne I was so upset.

I did ring the number on the green complaints card to make a complaint about being evicted but no one returned my call. While in the metro refuge a woman came to stay who had also been kicked out of the same rural refuge. I felt that it wasn’t just me that the problem was the workers – particularly one worker. The metro refuge encouraged me to try again to make a complaint. I rang the number on the green card again but no one ever got back to me. So I just gave up.

I can’t remember all the moves but I have moved 20 times since fleeing my last domestic violent relationship. I didn’t realise how much of an impact all these moves have had on me until now. I have lost many of my treasured possessions, I have lost the home I loved, my beautiful neighbour – it’s all about letting go.

I just figure at this stage in my life I’m not meant to be in a relationship with men. I don’t want it. I look back on all the trouble and it’s always been I think with my heart and not my head and it’s good to think with your head and not your heart. Now I realise where all my weakness are. I really like not being told what to do.

Things are slowly coming together for me now. I’m starting a gym program – I really believe a health body and mind is what I need to concentrate on. I don’t have a lot of contact with my son now and I used to worry a lot about that, worry myself sick but I have come to accept that one day he will understand why I had to make the decisions I have.

My kids are my weakest point. I haven’t had Christmas with them since 1997.


My advice

I would have a lot to say to other women:

  • Communication is so important. Find someone to talk to. Take that time. It’s important for you to be honest and speak the truth no matter how painful it may be for you. If you are not happy with what you hear from a counsellor go get a 2nd or 3rd opinion.
  • Women need to be comfortable and safe. Look in your local area, a good start is the Community Centre. Look for a DV service with a women’s group.
  • Honour yourself because you have been hammered by the domestic violence.
  • It was important for me to find the woman’s side of me. I think that it is important for all women to develop and trust their women’s intuition.
  • Recovery from abuse is a journey that’s never over.
  • You need to put new positive stuff in your head because the abuse is so negative you need to get good stuff in your life.
  • You will benefit from support if you open up. Finding the right support is critical for your health and wellbeing.
  • It’s all about learning and growing and sharing with other women. Listening and hearing women not talking over them.
  • It’s important to be listened to.
  • If you are in danger call 000 or contact the police in your state or territory.
  • For confidential crisis support in Victoria, information and accommodation please call the safe steps 24/7 family violence response line on 1800 015 188. If it is unsafe to call, email
  • For confidential phone help and referral in Australia, please contact 1800 RESPECT on 1800 737 732, the National Sexual Assault, Family and Domestic Violence Counselling Line.
  • For free information, support, and referrals for all lesbian, gay, bisexual, trans and gender diverse, intersex, asexual and queer Victorians and their friends and family call Rainbow Door on 1800 729 367 or text 0480 017 246 or email
  • For support for men, call Men's Referral Service on 1300 766 491.