A little bit of context
I'm Anni Gethin. I never expected to be a victim of domestic violence. But like too many Australian women, I was. When I was stuck in it, I felt lost, ashamed and confused. I finally left for good after my partner's violent behaviour dramatically escalated. What really shocked me was just how flawed the legal, support and safety systems are for women leaving abuse. If a middle class woman like me was sinking, how must it be for others?
Where I did get great help was from some amazing women who had left abusive partners and several professionals who work in domestic and family violence. The power and generosity of their help was what gave me the idea for the Brigid Project - and I asked some of these people to work with me.
But there’s a problem
One in 3 Australian women are subjected to coercive control, abuse and/or violence by a man they love and trust. Leaving is diabolically difficult, most particularly for women with children. And when women do leave, a good police experience is not guaranteed, the court system is disempowering and retraumatising; family law throws women into a legal black hole and often allows the controlling behaviours and abuse to continue.
Most women leaving abusive partners are at serious risk of poverty, and continuing bullying, abuse or violence; too many become homeless. Support systems are overburdened, confusing and hard to negotiate.
And nearly every woman going through this, does so alone, and the hard knowledge she gains about leaving, surviving and rebuilding is lost.
Here’s what we’re doing about it
The Brigid Project aims to bring the knowledge of the experts - first: women who've experienced domestic violence (in any of its forms), and second: professionals who work in the field. Together we can provide women with everything they need to know - or where to go, and all in one place.
Starting from that first uneasy question 'is my partner being abusive?' through the entire processes of leaving, staying safe, police, parenting, family law, housing, financials and emotional recovery.
We will provide:
1) empathy, strength and a forum of support
2) clear, evidence based, 'survivor tested' information
3) easy step by step 'what do I do now?' guides for each stage
4) a chance to 'Ask Brigid' questions and 'Tell Brigid' their own insights
5) practical housing/tenancy law guides (by jurisdiction)
6) model parenting orders for co-parenting with an abusive ex
7) links to great services/sites and a database of peer referrals
8) filmed interviews with experts - including psychologists, family and criminal lawyers, police, cybersecurity, social workers, DV workers, researchers and policy makers
9) a weekly 'Brigid panel' to debate and discuss the issues raised in Brigid questions.
We also plan to collaborate with experts to build a 'legal information system' to generate legal solutions and draft orders - for women who can't get access to legal advice.
You can join us
We are raising $20,000. The women behind the Brigid Project have already put in $15,000 in cash and kind. This has got our organisation incorporated and website started. We want to finish it - and run it, and help women like ourselves.
This $20,000 will let us complete the written web content, set up our legal, accounting and insurance, produce more expert interviews and Brigid panels and source secure funding.