The stories you're about to read have been written by women who have worked with Beryl, either as a client or as a worker. They have given permission for their story to be published here in the hopes that they may help other women and their children who need support, and to help all other gain a better understanding of domestic violence, and what kind of support helps the most.
From a previous Beryl family member
Today may be your first day at Beryl,
everything is strange to you
and you will have many mixed emotions
you have already made the biggest step,
what brought you to Beryl.
Your first few days will be demanding,
you will be discussing your life,
things you may never have told a soul,
be honest, open and trust in Beryl.
You may be overwhelmed at the paperwork
and may feel things are going to fast,
follow Beryl's direction, they have your best interests at heart.
Follow their advice on legal issues, you may not have been in this situation before, Beryl have.
They will only advise you to do things for the best of your family.
Your family, which includes you and your child or children.
Although you have been through so much and feel numb and scared remember your little souls that now only have you. Pull yourself together and try to be the best mother you can be. Do things you may never have done with your children before. Watch them play, draw with them, read to them, hug and kiss them all day long.
Comfort them and console them, build their esteem
in doing this you will also build and grow.
You will notice within a short time how happy your children are, you will see, you can do it, you can be the sole parent, you can be a family.
Start thinking about your future, what you might like to do, you are a strong woman to get this far, who knows what you could do in the future.
Look for help for yourself, counseling, women's groups, or maybe your local church.
Build a new base for yourself; you can add your old friends later.
The less you live in your old life the better your new life will be. Keep focussed, let your past go, learn to forgive, not forget.
After a couple of months, your legal issues may have been dealt with, children will be settled, and then you will be waiting, waiting for your next step.
This can be a difficult time as you have less to do, more time to think.
Keep strong, be involved in the Beryl activities and enjoy them.
At this time, start preparing for your move, either by saving what you can, or purchasing little things to build up your new home.
Take up a hobby, study, read, join a gym, dance classes, do something you always wanted to do.
You and only you own your life now; there are no limits to what you can do. Use this waiting time to your advantage and continue to heal.
By this stage you will know that 'Beryl' are your friends, have been your backbone, your voice when you didn't think you had one. They have never judged you, or your past decisions, they have saved you and helped you turn your life around, made you feel like living again.
Beryl are a group of special dedicated women, like none I have ever met before. They saved my life and gave me direction to live. I will never forget them, I leave as a strong woman, ready to take on the world - full throttle, and so will you.
It just takes time, time that when you look back will only be several months in a lifetime, a period when you became the woman, parent, family you may never have thought you could be.
My thoughts and prayers are with you always, you can do it, I promise - I did.
L. Nixon 2011
'And they STILL say some women like being beaten'
An account of what it's like to work in a women's refuge. (c 1977-78)
Beryl works on Ngunnawal Land