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A voice for survivors

A qualified holistic counsellor, wife and mother, Azelene knew education and awareness were a critically important part of the solution to end domestic violence when she put up her hand to be part of the Voices for Change program.

She had already published a book about her own personal experiences after leaving an unhealthy relationship and she ran a healthy relationships school and community-based program. Women and teens regularly approached her to disclose their own experience of family or intimate partner violence and she was keen to encourage others to come forward against domestic and family violence.

Voices for Change was another way she could provide a voice for those unable to speak up. She knew first-hand what it felt like to keep quiet about what was going on in an abusive relationship. She mastered pretending to be ok for three and a half years as a teenager, with fear, guilt and shame keeping her from talking to anyone about her relationship. Today, as a mother of a 12-year-old, she is fully aware that she’d got caught up in an unhealthy relationship when she was only four years older than her daughter. Knowing this, it became a priority for Azelene to advocate and speak up for those who were still silent.

As a Voices for Change advocate, she was able to extend her voice gained self-worth, self-love and finally healing after many years of resistance towards her own happiness.

“It was extremely powerful listening to other women’s stories too,” Azelene said. “We cried together and laughed together. I made life-long friends through the process and realised I was not a failure, victim or less worthy of my own life than anyone else.”

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