Q&A with Kylie Hottes, STOP Domestic Violence Conference Ambassador
Kylie is our STOP Domestic Violence Conference Ambassador and a survivor of significant domestic violence in both her childhood and adult life, resulting in a diagnosis of Complex Post Traumatic Stress Disorder. Kylie began her work in domestic violence after losing her beloved dog to a perpetrator.
Find out more about Kylie in her exclusive Q&A with the STOP Domestic Violence Conference.
Why did you decide to become a STOP DV Conference Ambassador?
I decided to become an ambassador as I have a page related to domestic violence with a very large following that I thought would be a valuable tool and platform in order to raise awareness and educate about domestic violence.
Do you have lived experience with DV?
The significant abuse I experienced in my childhood left me vulnerable to further relational abuse by significant others, friends and family.
If you have lived experience with DV how did you manage to leave the relationship?
The most damaging final abusive relationship was with a partner in the UK. I fled the UK back to Australia with only hand luggage, leaving everything behind. Unfortunately, I came into the hands of my large family. Out of the frying pan into the fire. At the time I knew nothing about psychological and emotional abuse and did not realise that I had been subjected to that kind of abuse until I received therapy. I no longer have contact with any members of my family.
Did you feel that the services available are able to provide enough support for those in need?
They try very hard, but absolutely not. It’s partly because it is such a big problem in this country and the services are limited, more so for people who aren’t near a big city. I struggled to get help from police and therapists, who try to diagnose you, rather than treating the trauma. I went from pillar to post trying to get support, as I had no family support. I even had to involve police in the UK. My ex abuser even googled where I worked and starting stalking me and harassing me via email. I ended up in hospital and was suicidal for many years after. One of the breakthroughs was being appointed a social worker for my case. That was probably the most helpful. I understand that things have improved since then, but more still needs to be done. I could not go to a shelter for example, because I had a pet, and I found it hard to rent property because of my pet as well. The leaving safely FACS scheme is VERY good, if you can get accepted on it.
What else do you think could be done to ensure those impacted by domestic or family violence are better supported?
More financial initiatives that help people leave. More services for pets, although I’m aware the RSPCA now have a foster program. More education. Zero tolerance from police. More shelters. There is so much to do. Stamp out DV in the first place.
How did the experience impact you?
It destroyed my life. I ended up diagnosed with Complex Post Traumatic Stress Disorder and could not work for some time. I lost everything I ever worked for to DV, including a dog and a cat that were killed. I believe that it also contributed to my breast cancer. It destroys trust and I doubt I will ever risk another relationship in my life.
What do you do to help the community prevent and recover from domestic violence?
I educate people on the tactics and ways people psychologically and emotionally abuse through my Facebook Community Page, The Naked Narcissists. I also contributed at my workplace by being on the working party to develop a Family Domestic Violence Policy. I have piloted a study on behalf of Dr Lydia Tong at Sydney University on the link between pets and DV. I’m am currently considering writing a book.
What things can everyone do to help prevent domestic and family violence?
Support and believe survivors in any way possible. Workshops for survivors. Education in schools for tweens and teens. Help for perpetrators to change. Calling out friends or family on their abuse.
Kylie has been advocating and educating survivors of domestic violence, with a focus on psychological and emotional abuse, since 2012 through her Facebook community page on the topic which has a following of over 70,000 people and continues to grow through increased awareness about these forms of violence, and more survivors are coming forward to break their silence and help others to heal.
Kylie’s mission has been to raise awareness with a focus on pets in the home who have been subjected to violence. In this regard, Kylie piloted a study on behalf of Dr Lydia Tong from Sydney University on the link between pets and domestic violence. The study looked at the link between injuries vets see on pets that may indicate domestic violence is going on in the home. Pets are also a reason why many people don’t leave their abusers and are used as a means of power and control over victims of domestic violence, in a similar way as children.