With White Ribbon Day on our radar, a day designed to raise awareness around domestic violence and the culture of silence that surrounds it, the conversation on the damage it does was bound to roar louder. In a brave move, the Member for Lindsay spoke about her own experiences of domestic violence, which earned her applause from fellow MPs.
Emma Husar grew up around domestic violence, with her father being physically abusive to her mother for the first 13 years of her life.
“My father had been raised in a house where violence was the accepted norm and at a time when society said these were private matters. Whilst the blows that landed on my mother during my childhood didn’t land on me physically – they may as well have. The trauma inflicted was the same; I recall it vividly and in great detail,” the MP said.
She recalled having to regularly stay at women’s refuges, and then pubs when her father learnt the locations of the refuges.
The number of people in Australia who experience domestic and family violence is unknown, due to lack of reporting. However, the Australian Government has launched many campaigns in order to combat domestic violence.
Ms Husar then admitted that the last 16 years of her life have also been affected by domestic and family violence.
“For many years I was embarrassed and ashamed. I know that I shouldn’t be but I am.
“I hope that today I have lent my voice, my story, and my passion for advocating change to the choir of the White Ribbon movement who call on us to stand up, speak out and act,” she continued.
By speaking out about her own experiences with domestic violence, as a woman who holds such power as a Member of Parliament, Emma Husar has reignited the idea that this can happen to anyone. The damaging experiences of domestic violence sufferers continues to stick around long after it is all over. Therefore, the work of domestic violence organisations and refuges are crucial to help those suffering overcome the physical and metaphorical scars.
Emma Hussar told Fairfax after her speech that, “I had no idea when I wrote the speech that it would have the impact it has. I certainly wasn’t ready for it. It’s 24 hours later and still the swirl of nausea is quite strong.”
A key message has come from the speech given, and that is the importance domestic violence services are, including; refuges, mental health and legal services as the scars made by domestic violence are strong. However, earlier this year, some feared that the Federal Government were not giving enough funding to these services.
Rosslyn Monro, chairwoman of the National Association of Australia Community Legal Centres, explained that the more awareness that was raised around domestic and family violence, the more people reached out to these services. However, the Minister for Women Michaelia Cash said, “The government has made and will continue to make a significant financial contribution to fund effective, innovative and multifaceted policies to address domestic violence in Australia.”
If you or someone you know has experienced domestic violence, please seek help.