Rebecca* is currently studying at university to be a social worker, and is part of the invite-only Golden Key International Honour Society, recognising the top cohort of students for their academic achievement.
She has also experienced homelessness.
About eight years ago the Adelaide Hills resident was in danger of becoming a statistic. She sought assistance, alongside support from SAPOL, to help her escape, as she describes it, “10 long years of domestic violence” perpetrated by her ex-partner.
The warning signs of an unhealthy relationship were there from an early stage. When her ex-partner pushed to move to a regional area where she knew no one, Rebecca found herself cut off from family and friendship supports, and under his increasing control.
Having two children didn’t stop the relationship continuing on its disturbing trajectory, with his behaviour escalating into financial, emotional and physical abuse.
When an opportunity to move back to the Hills came up, Rebecca hoped things would change with a fresh new start. However, it got exceedingly worse.
“It got to the point where he was so unpredictable, I didn’t know if I was still going to be alive the next day,” Rebecca says.
The straw that broke the camel’s back was the effect the abuse was having on her children.
“It wasn’t just me being harmed; it was also getting to the point that my children were being affected emotionally – it was evident in their development and behaviour,” Rebecca says.
The period when someone leaves a domestic violence situation is the most dangerous. At this time, Rebecca reached out to Lutheran Care, to help guide her through the challenging process.
“I knew deep down it was the right thing to do … it was just a matter of reaching out and staying strong and not being ashamed to do so,” Rebecca says.
Through a specialised Domestic Violence support person, Lutheran Care provided regular assistance to Rebecca. With assistance from the homelessness team, she was able to secure a safe home for her family within a month.
She also accessed Lutheran Care’s counselling, budgeting advice and emergency food supplies, which helped keep her family afloat.
Over the years, as a struggling single parent, Rebecca has become a long-term client of Lutheran Care and continued to call on support in times of need.
“When you can’t afford Christmas presents for the kids, it’s always good to have that help,” she says.
While she still bears the scars from the trauma she experienced, life is looking much brighter. Her children are now thriving at school. Following the whole experience, Rebecca, a trained hairdresser, was inspired to change careers to become a social worker.
She wants to use her skills and experience to help others one day.
She also has pride in herself and her kids are pretty proud, too.
Read more real life experiences of homelessness here.
*Name has been changed and stock image/s used to protect identity.