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Byron Shire
July 20, 2024

Clothes maketh the woman

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Six slips sites, $5m and 42 weeks sees Bilambil – Urliup Road open

The 2022 floods saw the Tweed hinterland connection road between Bilambil and Urliup severely damaged with six slip sites....

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Haus of Armour’s Kate Jackson. Photo Tree Faerie

There are some people in domestic violence situations who feel that escaping is an insurmountable problem. 

Some will go to extreme lengths to escape at almost any cost. 

This is what happened to Veronica, whose name has been changed to protect her identity.

Veronica and her partner had been best friends when they were teenagers, but lost touch for almost 20 years. 

When they reunited they began a relationship and for the first nine months, everything was perfect. 

Then drugs entered the mix, and things turned very sour, very quickly. For the next 18 months, Veronica lived a nightmare that many women know too well. 

As long as she was ‘good’, she could do what she wanted – she could phone her child, she could use the internet, she could have access to her phone, she could have access to her money – all if she was ‘good’.

A time came when she and her partner came to a standoff, standing toe-to-toe and both carrying weapons. 

It was when the police arrived and arrested her partner that she took the opportunity to run. 

Veronica now lives in the Northern Rivers, but when she left, she had only the clothing on her back – this is where Mullum’s Haus of Armour gave her a helping hand.

Free personalised styling service 

Domestic violence worker at the Mullumbimby District Neighbourhood Centre, Kate Jackson, has devoted most of her spare time in the last 18 months to offering a free personalised styling service for women impacted by domestic violence, providing free clothes and outfits for women to wear in their everyday lives.

Kate says, ‘The styling sessions and clothes help address the impact of domestic violence on survivors, and focus on the psychological impact relating to self-worth and self-esteem’. 

‘By April this year, 25 women died of gender-based violence, 11 more than last year. Statistics show that domestic violence deaths in NSW this year far exceed other states, with 11 women murdered.

‘According to www.ourwatch.org.au, 39 per cent of women nationally have experienced violence since the age of 15, about 27 per cent have experienced violence, emotional abuse, or economic abuse by a cohabitating partner since the age of 15.

Rebuilding lives 

‘To date, I would have styled about 60 women survivors in the Northern Rivers. Haus of Armour is another form of their healing and recovery, helping the women feel good about themselves, move forward and rebuild their life away from violence.’

Veronica is very grateful for the Haus – and she now has a good job, a safe place to live and is starting to move forward with her life.

To contact Kate, call 0457 864 253 or email [email protected].

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