Michelle Rebuilds Confidence in Herself and as a Mum

When Michelle* first met her family support worker, Carmen, she knew she had come to the right place. “I felt safe and knew it was what I needed.”

Michelle contacted Aviva after escaping a violent situation with her two children. “It was all forms of family violence – physical, psychological, spiritual. I was feeling very frightened and very alone,” she explains. But with Aviva’s help, Michelle was able to rebuild her confidence in herself and as a parent. 

“I had a lot of emotions at the time. I needed to work out if what I was feeling was ok. Carmen was just amazing, and I didn’t feel any judgment,” she recounts. “I gained just a really clear definition of what family violence is and that it wasn’t my fault. It wasn’t overnight that I got to realising it wasn’t my fault. It took time and that education from Aviva.” 

Michelle was linked to a network of support services, including a counselor, lawyer, and financial assistance. “It empowered me as a mum because I was struggling. It was hard to leave the relationship because of finances. The way I would describe it is that I felt Aviva had your back.”

Even small gifts from Aviva supporters made a huge impact. “I remember getting a hand cream and a really nice soap and thinking, ‘Oh, I feel pretty today!’ It makes such a difference getting those because you don’t really think about those things for yourself at that time.”

Michelle also received gifts for her two young children, such as stationery and clothes. “They were really helpful for me because I couldn’t financially provide a lot. It made me feel good as a mum.”

An important change is how Michelle has reconnected with her family. “Part of the family violence I went through was that my time with my family was limited,” she explains. “I used to feel so ashamed that I just couldn’t connect with people. With Aviva, I’ve kind of worked through that.” Michelle has reconnected with her family and they continue to support her on her journey.

“I first called my mum on Mother’s Day, and I didn’t even know it was Mother’s Day!” Michelle explains, “My brother was there too and was so glad to hear from me he said, ‘I’m taking the next flight down!’”

Michelle now has her own place with her children and her outlook has completely changed. “I would say the biggest change is confidence. Confidence in my ability to make my own decisions really.” From family violence education that helped Michelle “affirm and trust [her] intuition,” to small gifts that made her “feel pretty again,” we are happy to see how far she has come.

The holidays can be a difficult time for those living with violence. But your donations ensure that Michelle’s children have presents to open on Christmas morning. Your support gives Michelle the space to reconnect with her family and spend Christmas dinner with people that love her. Bring a gift to Aviva at The Loft (Level 1, Eastgate Shopping Centre) or make a donation below to help make the holiday season a little more joyous for someone near you.


*Not her real name.