Sur­vivor reaches out for women

Draw­ing on years of pain

The Queensland Times - - NEWS - CARLY MOR­RIS­SEY carly.mor­ris­[email protected]

HAV­ING lived a life­time of do­mes­tic and fam­ily vi­o­lence, Marissa Botes said she was no longer em­bar­rassed to tell her story.

Ms Botes de­scribed her ex­pe­ri­ence as “go­ing through hell”.

“I’m not em­bar­rassed about what I’ve been through,” Ms Botes said.

Speak­ing to the QT the pain of this year’s events were ev­i­dent as Ms Botes teared up telling us her story.

“Peo­ple need to speak out so peo­ple can reach out,” she said.

For 11 years she suf­fered do­mes­tic vi­o­lence from a con­trol­ling spouse who this year took his own life after the cou­ple sep­a­rated.

“I’ve been through a lot, mur­der, sui­cide, trauma, do­mes­tic vi­o­lence,” she said. “I’m on this side, through my ex­pe­ri­ences in life, I be­lieve I can help oth­ers.”

She has now co-founded a com­pany called Woman Em­pow­er­ing Woman with her best friend, and is cre­at­ing a web­site that brings to­gether all the sup­port avail­able for peo­ple go­ing through do­mes­tic and fam­ily vi­o­lence.

“I had no idea what help is out there. It brings all the in­for­ma­tion to­gether in one place,” Ms Botes said.

The com­pany will sup­port Brave­hearts and Life­line.

Ms Botes said her part­ner had men­tal health is­sues and she thought his con­trol­ling be­hav­iour was nor­mal.

“You don’t know when you’re in it. I got out, but he had is­sues,” she said.

He wouldn’t let her phone fam­ily or friends and would ex­plode

at the small­est of things. Once she fi­nally left their Spring­field home with her eight-year-old daugh­ter they had to go into hid­ing.

“It was the hard­est thing,” Ms Botes said.

But she knew she had to do it for her daugh­ter.

A friend took her in and with the sup­port of DVAC she re­ceived ham­pers of food, cos­met­ics and even toys for her daugh­ter.

Ms Botes said the big­gest change she no­ticed was in her daugh­ter.

“She’s do­ing well, she’s strong, like a dif­fer­ent child.”

While her part­ner wasn’t phys­i­cally vi­o­lent he of­ten

scared her.

“If I can save one more per­son’s life, it’s worth it,” Ms Botes said.

“I know how it feels and I want to make it bet­ter for other peo­ple.”

Photo: Carly Mor­ris­sey

SUP­PORT: Marissa Botes is help­ing women who have suf­fered do­mes­tic vi­o­lence.

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