If you’re experiencing domestic violence, use this information to make a plan that works for you.
Surviving and thriving – life after domestic violence
Tessa Jetson will never forget the day – in 1993 – when she turned to Emerge for support after fleeing from an abusive partner. Read our interview with Tessa here.
What was your situation when you contacted Emerge for help?
In 1993, my partner of 7 years started taking drugs and became psychotic and violent. After three years of going backwards and forwards to my mother’s house, I finally moved out. My partner stalked me and I ended up sleeping in one bedroom with my kids – aged one, three and five – and a knife by my bed.
What was your experience with Emerge?
I was at peace and felt safe for the first time in three years. I was thrilled that my children were out of a dangerous environment.
How long did Emerge support you?
Over a 12-month period Emerge assisted me with finding emergency accommodation, with counselling and taking out an Intervention Order against my partner. They looked after me until my Housing Commission house came through and made my transition easy.
How did you start to turn your life around?
Before I left my partner, I had been a model and aerobics instructor. So during my time in safe accommodation, I started writing a list of the goals I wanted to achieve and I read lots of motivational books such as Dale Carnegie’s Think and Grow Rich. I was adamant I was going to be successful. I felt so blessed to have the chance to re-start my life. I got back into part-time acting, modelling and started my own band.
What has been your career trajectory?
I’ve had many different careers. I got a job as a youth worker at a detention centre after playing a gig in a jail. I’ve been a venue and entertainment manager and I also started my own business as a mortgage broker.
How did you become a motivational speaker and trainer?
Three years ago I combined my speaking, performing, training and entertaining skills to help empower women. My message to them is that you can move forward. I don’t know one person who hasn’t had a hard time. It’s what you do with it.
What’s your advice to women experiencing domestic violence?
We need to take our children and ourselves out of that environment. They deserve a safe and loving home. We have to make that happen. I am proud of who I am and that I left. I stopped the pattern in my family.
What in your opinion are the barriers to eliminating domestic violence?
It’s only recently that people have been speaking out; for a long time shame prevented people talking about it. I also believe the reason many women stay is that they have no money and lack confidence.
What are some of your current projects?
I direct 10 per cent of the income from my speaking events, book and engagements to my foundation. With the money raised, I am running free life skills programs for women teaching them financial, administration, job-seeking and business skills. If I can go from being broke, depressed and anxious to who I am today, so can every woman.
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