Break free of domestic violence

Monika Obriek, one of the facilitators of Breaking Free.
Monika Obriek, one of the facilitators of Breaking Free.

Lismore's Men & Family Centre is starting a new group for women who have experienced violent or abusive relationships.

The group is called Breaking Free and will be co-facilitated by Monika Obirek and Daniela Brent.

"I came as a participant and we certainly draw on our own experiences. We're not text book facilitators," Monika told The Echo.

She said there are lots of relationships that are not physically violent, but are still abusive.

"It's about power and control... Women (in the group) become really aware of what is happening for them; what they have experienced, how they feel and how to put it into words. So it's about better communication and better awareness of their own needs, setting boundaries about what is okay and what isn't, defining healthy and unhealthy relationships and some of the myths surrounding domestic violence - like that it only happens to certain types of women," Monika said.

She said all forms of domestic violence impact on kids.

"It's great to be able to sit with other women and feel a sense of safety and support, breaking down the isolation and the shame... Part of the aim is therapeutic; to create a safe space to explore and make sense of their experiences without judgement. There can be a lot of confusion, hurt, grief and sadness. Our goal is to encourage women to tell their stories and get some insights to help them gain a new awareness of themselves."

The group begins on Tuesday, February 7, from 10am to 1pm and will meet every Tuesday morning for nine weeks.

For more information phone the Men & Family Centre on 6622 6116.

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