IT IS hoped that a powerful video exploring the experience of a woman and her children at Mary and Martha’s domestic violence refuge could be a life changing resource for a women fleeing violence.
Jenny* tells her story giving the viewer unique access to the dignified surroundings of Mary and Martha’s refuge as well as an insight into the support and programs offered to help women get back on their feet and find a new home.
May is Queensland Domestic and Family Violence Prevention month.
Mary and Martha’s in Brisbane is operated by Lutheran Community Care, a not-for-profit organisation.
Jenny’s story shows the viewer what to expect at Mary and Martha’s. She said she wanted women who feared for their safety to know a refuge was a safe and supportive place to find sanctuary.
What to expect
Mary and Martha’s manager Karyn Rosenthal said there was limited information available to women if they wanted some idea of what to expect while staying in a refuge.
“We have had lots of feedback that women did not know what to expect, whether there would be room for their children or if a refuge would provide other supports to help them on their way,” Ms Rosenthal said.
“Women have questioned ‘is it just a roof and a bed, or is there deeper support there?’ Seeing this video could be life-changing for someone.’’
Safe and secure
Jenny and her two children entered Mary and Martha’s in 2016 after contacting DV Connect, the referring service that connects women who are in a violent relationship with a refuge.
She said a few hours after contacting DV Connect she was on a bus and heading somewhere safe.
“There’s actually not a lot out there for women to know what a refuge is going to actually be like,” Jenny said.
“I had no idea, I thought it would be maybe like a backpackers or a house filled with a lot of other women. Nothing like what I saw when I got there – it was more like a sanctuary.”
Support to move forward
Jenny took advantage of the extensive support at Mary and Martha’s refuge and now lives independently and safely with her children.
“You’re learning a lot while you’re there,” she said. “Being at Mary and Martha’s gave me the support and independence to cut all ties and strings away, and to walk forward without being pulled back into unhealthy situations.”
*Not her real name.
If you require assistance, phone DV Connect 1800 811 811 or dvconnect.org