Survivor reaches out for women
Drawing on years of pain
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
“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.”
SUPPORT: Marissa Botes is helping women who have suffered domestic violence.