Sharing Your Story Can Help Free You From Your Past and Help Others in the Process

November 27, 2018

The following was kindly contributed by Broken to Brilliant, who will be attending the 2018 STOP Domestic Violence Conference from 3-5th December at QT, Gold Coast. 

As domestic violence survivors we knew only too well that there was limited support for our long-term recovery and that recovery is not a straightforward, linear process, it is a long and arduous journey.

Our experiences and the gap in the support systems are the reasons we founded the charity Broken to Brilliant. We aim to support the rebuilding efforts of those who have experienced domestic violence. We do not work in the crisis or the transition phases. We focus our efforts on helping with the rebuilding and recovery using personal experiences and stories to share the journey that lies ahead.

It is therapeutic for survivors of domestic violence to share their life story, in a way that does not deny the trauma, but the story formation conveys the person’s strengths, resilience, survival and the solutions they put in place for their recovery after adversity. Approaching their story in this way helps victims to see how far they have come, to restore hope and to help them move forward further in the journey.

Broken to Brilliant has combined the ‘survivors mentoring fellow survivors’ model’ and ‘story telling’ into a ‘pay it forward’ model by publishing stories of strength and success.

When we saw the impact our first award winning book, Broken to Brilliant, had on people’s lives – how the words breathed hope into people’s hearts, how it gave them a spark that jump-started a new chapter in their lives, and how the power of people’s stories created ripples of recovery and repair – we could not turn away and stop these ripples of healing. There had to be a second book.

In writing the second book, we wanted to enhance our support for the authors, we provided pre-writing communication support and held a 4-day live in writing workshop. The workshop consisted of a series of speeches from authors in the previous book, technical writing sessions, physical activity, music, creative art, a burning ceremony and ‘I am’ positive affirmation activity. There were 12 authors, one publishing consultant and two workshop coordinators and five activity providers who attended the 4-day live in workshop.

Eleven female and one male domestic violence survivors all found the workshop activities worthwhile and these led to the building of trust amongst the group. The support of other participants was authentic and extremely valued. The survivors felt loved, cherished, valued and worthy, it was essential and allowed the survivors to be heard. Overall, the writing workshop changed the author’s thinking as they felt more worthy, confident and encouraged, the workshop opened their mind to alternative self-care methods.

“I leave a different person there is no doubt about that”

“I had an overwhelming sense of belonging, which was both uncomfortable but welcomed”

The book Terror to Triumph Rebuilding Life After Domestic Violence was released on the 24th November 2018. In this book, twelve domestic violence survivors describe the terror they experienced and the additional challenges they encountered from a system that was supposed to help them.

Most importantly, they tell of the practical steps they have taken – physically, emotionally, psychologically and spiritually – to journey from darkness to light and build new lives. They tell of continued recovery, and how they have reclaimed self to reach a sense of triumph.

We salute each of our authors for their courage and dedication, and hope Terror to Triumph will bring change and possibility into your life, too.

Broken to Brilliant has secured a $16,700 Social Investment Grant from Community Sector Banking to help rebuild the lives of people who have survived domestic abuse.

The funds will support the publication of the third book in the series focusing on victims rebuilding their lives after suffering domestic abuse. It will celebrate stories of victims’ journeys, strengths and successes.

Broken to Brilliant’s 3rd book will explore how domestic abuse survivors rebuilt their lives mentally, physically, emotionally and financially – providing inspiration for other victims.

Kate Smith from Broken to Brilliant said the book will be completed, published and launched within 12 months.

It’s time to share your story. Sharing your story can help free you from your past and help others in the process.

Applications are open now and will close mid-January 2019. There are only 12 spots available so apply now.