ARARAT domestic violence survivor Danielle Jenkins has shared her personal experience at an awareness event this week.
Ms Jenkins met her perpetrator when she was 22.
Ms Jenkins recounted her experience as a survivor of domestic violence, detailing the physical, economic and psychological abuse she endured as well as the control her perpetrator exercised.
“It was safer to stay (with the perpetrator). Leaving is the most dangerous step,” she said.
Ms Jenkins was the first speaker at the Grampians Pyrenees Leading Change Dinner on Wednesday.
The dinner, led by Women’s Health Grampians, was aimed at business and community leaders and discussed how they could prevent violence against women in their workplaces and lead community change.
Statistics show that women are at least three times more likely than men to experience violence from an intimate partner.
“Everyone can make an effort to improve gender equality and to change generations to come,” she said.
“Speaking about my experience is part of my journey and healing process. It’s a piece of my legacy.”
Ms Jenkins said she felt there was no-one she could turn to while experiencing domestic violence.
2015 Australian of the Year Rosie Batty also spoke about her experience of domestic violence. Her son Luke Batty was killed by his father at a cricket ground in 2014.
She said there were significant barriers to leaving an abusive relationship – including fear of death, homelessness and other factors.
Australian Institute of Criminology data from 2017 says that on average, one woman a week is murdered by her current or former partner.
“Domestic violence is a problem everywhere. It has always existed,” Ms Batty said.
Ms Batty said challenges rural communities faced around domestic violence included people being known to each other and isolation.
In 2015 domestic violence incidents reported to the police from the Grampians accounted for five per cent of the state’s total, Crime Statistics Agency Victoria data says.
Ms Batty said her proudest moment since 2014 was becoming Australian of the Year in 2015.
“But it was conflicting. I would much rather Luke be here then to have won those awards,” she said.
- If you, or someone you know, needs help access national sexual assault, domestic and family violence counselling via 1800RESPECT or phone Grampians Community Health on 5358 7400.