Q&A With Conference Ambassador Simone O’Brien
Simone O’Brien is a domestic violence survivor, speaker, strong advocate for women against violence, at 44 years old she, is a mother of three beautiful children.
Her journey started in 2012, when she suffered a horrific attack at the hands of a perpetrator who would not take “no” for an answer. It started with emotional and psychological abuse and ended up with her being beaten with a baseball bat to within inches of her life.
Find out more about Simone in our exclusive ambassador Q&A.
Q: Why did you decided to become a STOP DV Conference Ambassador?
A: To tell Australia how it is in the domestic violence space. Being a survivor, we all need to work together and make a change for our generations coming through now. Now knowing/realising I have a story to tell, I want to be a part of change and not sweep it under the carpet. I was 37, and that’s when I found out what domestic violence was, so from experience, we need to talk to our younger generation now.
Q: Do you have lived experience with DV?
A: Yes, I do have lived experience
Q: How did you manage to leave the relationship?
A: I ended the relationship by a text message during the day and wasn’t expecting to see him again, net alone that same day/night, to when he came to my home and was questioning myself in front of my children, and because I said “let’s just be friends”, he beat myself to inches of my life.
Q: Did you feel that the services available are able to provide enough support for those in need?
A: Absolutely. I’m finding out now more than ever. At the time I was assaulted, I will admit as I was in hospital for a very long time, I didn’t realize it as my brain was still mush from the attack, but everyone was helping myself and setting up what I needed to have done moving forward for when I did leave hospital. But now, I’m an ambassador for several charities/campaigns and do a lot of travelling around Australia, I definitely realize what the support and services is like all around Australia and the hard work they do behind the scenes for survivors.
Q: How did the experience impact you?
A: It was fantastic knowing that people were there for me and wanted to help myself and my children. I didn’t feel alone and I could express what I needed for myself and my children. I was really lacking in confidence and just being someone by my side was fantastic.
Q: What do you do to help the community prevent and recover from domestic and family violence?
A: Now I travel to all areas of Australia, presenting my situation/story to corporates, services, all school age children from prep to year 12, universities, work places, sporting groups of all different codes and levels, etc. I engage the audience in my story, how my life changed in 10 minutes, then how to look out for Red Flags and be consistent on looking out for each other. Survivors whom connect with myself personally, I make them love themselves and look at the positives in life.
Q: What things can everyone do to help prevent domestic and family violence?
A: Look out for the red flags, even if you think they are small, like mine were, we need to act asap. Keep asking questions/checking, if a student/staff member etc, is acting strange or not themselves. Ask if they ok, not just once or twice, but 5 or 6 times, as they will eventually snap and say something.