“Banksias, if you can imagine, they’ve got this woody core, with those eyes dotted around the core. So those eyes contain the seeds of the banksia tree, and these seeds – these pods – open up after the ashy heat intensity of a bushfire. So we really loved this metaphor because it represents our hopes for survivors who’ve experienced something incredibly painful and traumatic – like a bushfire can be – without minimising the severity of that incident, but also capturing the possibility for new life and beauty and hope.”
Banksia Women is a domestic violence support service affiliated with St John’s Anglican Church Darlinghurst, in Sydney’s eastern suburbs. It was born just as Covid was kicking off – which complicated what they do, but certainly hasn’t held them back.
In this episode of Life & Faith, manager Keely Oste explains what it means for women to heal and even flourish after surviving domestic abuse. She talks about the needs, courage, and triumphs of the women she works with – and Shradha, who joined Banksia Women in January 2021, opens up about how it’s made such a difference to her, and to others.
“The first basic thing was: I’m not alone in this. I think that was the biggest thing that helped me to not feel ashamed about the situation because it was not my fault, and I was not the only one – there were a group of women who were of different ages, of different ethnicities, of diverse backgrounds. And it still gives me goose bumps to see that so many beautiful women, so many educated women, so many middle-aged women and pretty young women are going through such things … and that gave me, like, 50 percent I was out of my pain, to see that I can get help from someone and my story can help someone else.”
If you or someone you know is experience domestic violence, please know that help is available. Here are just a few of the resources out there:
- If it’s an emergency, call the police on 000 (in Australia
- Call the National Domestic Violence line (1800 656 463) to be connected to a support service
- Call Full Stop Australia (1800 385 578) or 1800RESPECT (1800 737 732) to be connected to a support service, receive free anonymous counselling, or for information if you are supporting someone who is experiencing domestic violence