Almost a year after fleeing a life of violence and fear, Alaya* sits in her garden, watching her children play, and reflects on the dark years that preceded this moment of peace.
“The first time my husband hit me, I went to my family. My dad told me to leave. He said if a man hits you once and gets away with it, he’ll do it again. I didn’t listen, and now, I have only scars and trauma to show for forgiving Jonathan the first, second, third time…”

When she looks back, she feels a mixture of relief, guilt, and shame. “Things were okay between Jonathan and me for the first few years. Then, when he lost his job, he changed.
Suddenly, his anger was much worse. His resentment when I left for the office in the morning became so bad that I would leave as early as possible so that he was still sleeping. Things became a lot worse when I fell pregnant.

He would push me, and say I was selfish for falling pregnant when things were already hard financially. He said if I lost the baby, it would be better for all of us, because ‘it probably isn’t even his.’ And then followed the sexual aggression.”

It was while she was at work, having a conversation with a colleague, that Alaya finally made the decision to leave. Her colleague mentioned a falling out she’d had with her partner, and that he stormed off in anger. While she offered sympathy and support, internally, Alaya was envious.

“The idea of a fight ending in anything other than bruises and sexual violence sounded like a dream marriage to me.”

That day, Alaya went online and looked for support for people experiencing domestic and family violence. She had very little money, no freedom of movement other than to and from her office, and she was afraid of losing her children. But she was more afraid of staying. More afraid of the violence going beyond even Jonathan’s control and costing her life.

She finally fled in the dark of night, with nothing but her children and some clothes for them. After ten years of marriage, Alaya started her journey towards freedom and healing. “I called the Centacare office closest to me, and they helped me work out a plan for leaving. They gave me a mobile phone to use when I was at work during the day, which I used for setting up a bank account Jonathan wouldn’t know about. I could call my family for the first time in months, and have an unsupervised conversation. There was a lot of crying – a lot, a lot!”

Through Centacare’s help, and that of her family, Alaya found a safe place for her and her children to live. She spoke to police about a Domestic Violence Order to be served on the day she planned to flee. She endured. And she lives to share her story with others looking for support through their own trauma.

When you support Centacare with your tax-deductible gift, you make it possible for us to help women like Alaya. You give children impacted by family violence an opportunity to grow up in safety. With support like yours, we can provide them with a safe-phone, short-term crisis accommodation, and the counselling they will need to recover from their trauma. We can support them by working with the Queensland Police Service and Child Safety, to give them the best possible chance of a safe and secure future.

Your support recognises that it is vital to breaking the cycle of violence in our communities.

If you are able to help local families in vulnerable circumstances, please consider making a tax-deductible donation to Centacare today. Your gift today can be the answer to a call for help.

*To protect their privacy, we do not use the real names and images of Centacare clients. Please know their stories are very real, as is the impact you have in their lives.

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