Walk Everyday May

By Aria Join Me

My Activity Tracking

169
kms

My target 15kms

Walk Everyday May is an event to help raise awareness and encourage people to reach out to victims and survivors of Family Violence. Family Domestic Violence is the main reason women and children leave their homes in Australia (FaHCSIA 2008). There is a lot of misunderstanding about victims of Family Violence which creates more isolation for victims when all they need is understanding and people to be there for them. Intimate partner violence is just one type of domestic violence and I aim to bring awareness to family violence in my artistic practice.

Walk Everyday May is an event like 40 hour famine where you aim to do any amount of steps over 10,000 everyday in May and have sponsors to help encourage you to keep to your goal and to donate to the cause.
On the 31st of May participants are encouraged to throw their sponsors a party to thank their sponsors at the end of the event.

Event Information

Thursday 28th April 01:30

Richmond NSW, Australia

Ticket Price: $0

This venue is accessible for people with disability

My Achievements

Updated profile

Shared on social

Self donated

Reached $100

Half way to goal

Reached goal

My Updates

May Is Family Violence Awareness Month

"Each May, Queensland marks Domestic and Family Violence Prevention Month (DFVP Month) to raise community awareness of domestic and family violence (DFV) and to send a clear message that DFV in families and homes will not be tolerated."

When I initially came up with the idea of Walk Everyday May I was walking 20,000 steps everyday in lockdown and came up with the phrase "Walk Everyday May" because it rhymed. When I did further research on FDV activism I learnt that May was the official FDV Awareness month. 

So a better opportunity was born to make this event special and ongoing. 

"Domestic Violence Prevention Month

MAY

Domestic and Family Violence Prevention Month is an annual event held each May to raise community awareness of the social and personal impacts of domestic and family violence and the support available to those affected. The key aims of the month are to:

  • raise community awareness of domestic and family violence and its impacts;
  • promote a clear message of no tolerance of domestic and family violence in Queensland communities;
  • ensure those who are experiencing domestic and family violence know how to access help and support;
  • encourage people who use abuse and/or violence to take responsibility for their abusive behaviour and seek support to change."
Although this month is mostly an event in Queensland, I aim to make it a regular event in NSW as well. FDV is a regular problem in NSW as well as QLD. In fact it's a regular problem all over the world.

Please join me in raising awareness, building supportive communities and reaching out to victims and survivors of DFV because the shame needs to be taken away from victims and survivors. The shame belongs to the perpetrators and should be a motivator for healing and rehabilitation.

Thankyou to all my supporters in this event. It means a lot and I hope I have your ongoing support.

Bibliography

https://domesticviolence.com.au/contributing-to-change/activism/

https://www.qld.gov.au/community/getting-support-health-social-issue/support-victims-abuse/domestic-family-violence/my-situation-is/how-do-i-help-my-community-understand-domestic-violence/domestic-and-family-violence-prevention-month

Walk Everyday May Launch Success

Although Walk Everyday May is still new, the launch event was a great success. There were 3 guests in the audience and the event was recorded so others can see how the event went.

I was really pleased with my guest speakers input and I felt excited to have some real event management experience under my belt.

To get Walk Everyday May to gain more traction, I have some other plans to build up a network of people who work in the domestic violence field and family violence survivors and victims. I'm hoping this event will not just be a fundraiser for a good cause but an event that will create community and resources for victims and survivors who are isolated and need help and a support network.

I will be creating a link tree for Walk Everyday May so people can follow Walk Everyday May on socials and network in the group.

Check out the event in full at the Walk Everyday May Youtube channel: 
https://youtu.be/jcXGSH1b6tY

New Socials and Launch Event

To create community and raise more awareness about this event I have set up a Facebook page, group and an event for the launch I am planning. At the launch I am planning on getting 5 guest speakers who have a deep awareness about Family abuse and help people in the community who experience it. 

I have two confirmed guests already. Full line up of guests will be announced soon so watch this space. In the meantime you can engage with our Facebook page, and group so you can keep up to date on Facebook with what’s going on and connect with others who are engaging with this event. :)
The link is here below. 
@walkeverydaymaywhiteribbon

To connect with the group: click on groups on the page and it will take you to the official Walk Everyday May group

I hope you all enjoy engaging with this event on Facebook :)



The Other Side Of Darkness

***Warning: This Post May Trigger Some People. If this brings things up for you, call 1800 Respect, Lifeline on 13 11 14 or The Kids Helpline 1800 55 1800 or check out the helplines that White Ribbon lists:
https://www.whiteribbon.org.au/Find-Help/Help-Lines *****

As I have started this event there are things that happen that remind me that this event is going to be one of the most important things that I do with my life. It hasn't been an easy road to get here and I know every now and then I may get triggered or my abusers may still try and crawl back into my life but I know I am stronger and heading in a new direction.

The fact that these people will still try to destroy my life just makes me an even better advocate in the pursuit of preventing Family Violence and creating a space where others like me can feel connected and totally supported.

So when I last spoke to this particular family member they made it clear that they didn't appreciate me and didn't want anything to do with me. Instead of letting them beat me down further with their verbal abuse, I blocked her. This was around July or August last year. Today she sent me an instagram follow request without explanation. 

So I thought I should break the silence and write about it as part of my event to show that even though I've come a long way, I still get thrown bullshit my way from abusive family members now and then and I just have to speak about it straight away, express my anger and hurt, release it creatively and then come back to the present realisation that I am wiser and these people don't make me feel like I'm missing out on a family anymore because their dysfunction and enabling of each other is more like a cult and not a normal loving, supportive and functional family anyway.

So after taking a picture for evidence. I deleted the request and blocked her. I know her Dad probably encouraged her to add me because they're nosy and haven't heard from me in a while. I am not about to throw away my freedom and I know that they are just trying to suck me in to the honeymoon phase again.

I am not just creating a new family with my partner. I am starting a community which I also consider a family. I want others (as well as me) connecting with people who have felt discarded, disrepected, and abused by their families so that Family Violence Victims and Survivors have a Loving supportive family connected by empathy. As long as there are others like us, we are never truly alone. <3

I've learnt that humans are social beings and we are naturally stronger together. This is not just an event for my benefit but for everyone who feels forgotten by society, for everyone who's fallen through the cracks, for everyone who just needs someone to believe in them and support them. This is an event for you and I want to give you my love and support because you deserve it, because I feel like you would do the same for me. 

Let's make the word Family mean supportive and loving people who appreciate you and want to be apart of your life again. We don't have to have anything to do with abusive strangers, let alone abusive relatives. We create our own lives and our own families built on our own love that we have fought so hard to get.

May this story bring you strength, perseverance and energy to move through the pain into feeling the joy of life again. <3

Signs You are Healing but Never Forgetting

I recently read this article.


It panders to intimate partnered violence but I think it can apply to family violence as well.
Last year I made a last effort to fix my relationship with my dad and thought he was serious about taking accountability but he wasn’t. He was using manipulative tactics to get me to talk to him, love bombing me, gaslighting me and trying to take credit for the woman I have become (which I became from unlearning everything he taught me to be).

Later I decided to take some legal action against him which I am not sure he is fully aware of but if he is reading this then he would be aware by now. I wrote a legal letter of demand for him to cease contact with me, made many copies, and put it in a tracking letter so there was an official record of him receiving it. This allows me to build a legal case against him if he were to ever try and make contact again. He could get a legal infringement of stalking and harassment.

I also recently found out how to prevent random people from sending you messages on Facebook. So even if he did try to contact me, the only way he would be able to contact me is in a public forum with witnesses.

My dad also knows that I have a very good understanding of the law and how it works because he knows I took one of my grandmothers to court since she committed will fraud, and I won this case. 

I haven’t heard from him since and I don’t think I will considering he knows I will collect evidence and have many witnesses if he does.

Nowerdays I mostly research family violence but I also research family law so I know that my family that I have made for myself (my fiance, cat, partner’s family, friends etc) are fully protected from my parents and their families. I don’t write as much poetry as I used to because I’ve been healing in different ways and discovering who I am beneath the trauma. It’s so empowering and liberating and I’m not scared of my parents and their families anymore because I’ve made it so far by creating this event and this event will get bigger and better as time moves forward,
I also wrote an essay that makes my abusive family members accountable and allows me to realise that none of my condition is my fault and I take really good care of myself because I’m now surrounded by people who love and support me and appreciate me.

Below is the essay I published on Medium if anyone is interested in reading it.


The Unrealised Trauma of my Fathers Current Girlfriend

Many people have an idea in their mind as to what an abuser looks like and acts like. Unfortunately this stereotype allows for much worse abusers to fall under the radar.
When I was a teen my father walked right from his divorce into a relationship with a stranger. This stranger was someone he met not in person, not online but through an unpopular dating fad called phone dating. 

Once my dad started with this fad he was on the phone every night. I barely saw him and I was left entirely alone and unsupported during the loss of my stepmother. When I finally met my dad’s new partner I was fooled. I felt uncomfortable but I also thought she was nice. She gave me the impression that she was gentle, shy and independent. But once I got to really know her I was told by her that I was negative (when I was going through clinical depression) and she got my dad and I into self help books that had no real substance.

Eventually I started to see that there was a nasty vindictive and selfish person under her quiet nice facade. She would constantly tell me I was selfish because I wouldn’t give in to everything she wanted (and she wanted it all). When I was asked if she could move in with my dad and I, when I had no real therapy over my dads divorce and no offer of time or adjustment, I said I wasn’t ready for her to move in with us. To this my dad’s response was that I was selfish and I was coerced in letting her stay with us.

When she lived with us she assumed a leadership role. If I had a problem with her I would be confronted by both my dad and her in a forceful and aggressive way. They had no respect for my boundaries or when I was ready to talk and she would even argue with me the night before I had an important exam.

I was bullied into silence talking about her abuse and whenever I would bring it up I was gaslight by both my father and his girlfriend. They would even get friends and family members to gaslight me about her behaviour as well. If I tried to escape to my room, I had to hold the door shut because she would try to barge into my room.

It got so bad that I couldn’t spend time with my dad without his girlfriend being present and when she moved into the granny flat that was promised to me when I turned 18 I ended up living in the family house alone. At first my father would say hello then go to her place then come home to bed. Then he would go straight to her place without saying hello, eventually he was basically living there and wouldn’t come back in the house to go to bed.

Yesterday I realised that I didn’t really talk about the abuse my father’s girlfriend did to me and that it’s an unrealised trauma. I was gaslit so many times that even to this day I sometimes get confused as to what happened. The psychological abuse by Michelle was so bad that it would it’s mostly buried and when I thought I saw her yesterday I freaked out. I was even triggered by an asmr video which normally calms me down.

In conclusion not all abusers act and look the same. Sometimes someone who comes across as lovely gentle and kind is an abuser and the abusers who can blend in the most are the worst kind because people doubt the victim more when the abuser appears to be kind. Never doubt the victim. If you are unsure, wait until you find our more but if the victim has never lied about someone being an abuser before than your most likely dealing with a toxic positive abuser. This kind of severe psychological abuser is what I would call the chameleon, because they can play the role of someone nurturing without being authentically nurturing.

As for me, I will be talking more about my dad’s girlfriend and this type of abuser and I will be working through this trauma so that Michelle can no longer scare me. She no longer has the power to ruin my life but she does have the power to ruin my fathers life because her actions have made it so that my father misses out on his daughters wedding and his daughters future. She may have taken all she can from me in the past but she can’t take away my present because right now I have realised my personal power and I’m not letting people in my life who disrespect me.

***If this has been an issue for you or brought up past issues you may have call 1800 RESPECT***

Limerance and The Pursuit of Breaking Ones Heart

When I was younger and before I met my current partner I use to consider myself a romantic but I would always get into the wrong types of relationships or I would mostly prefer to be 'in love' with someone than be with them.

Most of the time I was unaware of the fact that I was a victim of family violence because I was always escaping into romantic fantasy. I was obsessed with music, dancing and being in love and often when I wasn't in love I would feel bored and long to be in love again.

In the past couple of years I realised that this was an addictive behaviour I would indulge in called Limerance.
Limerance is a type of trauma bonding that feels a lot like love only you either prefer not to be in a relationship with that person or you constantly put that persons needs before your own to a point where you neglect your own needs such as eating and sleeping.

When I first got together with my now fiance I knew that I was getting into a healthy relationship with someone I loved but every now and then I would get confused because I was so used to being in limerance and I had never experienced love before. Not only that but I grew up seeing my father in toxic limerance type relationships and not knowing what genuine healthy love looked like.

Most of my life I was convinced I was a romantic when I had never really experienced real love. Being in my current relationship helped me learn who I truely was because I was able to deal with my abusive family, open my eyes to them but also I learned I wasn't really a romantic at all. Of course I loved to be thoughtful of my partner and have loving intimate moments with him but I didn't want him to buy me flowers all the time (even though he did earlier in my relationship which I loved for a while) and I didn't want him to write me poetry all the time, or take me to see romantic films all the time. To be honest I don't even really like romantic flicks, the occassional romcom is fine but I'm not big on it.

I love having intimate moments with my partner but I also like playing board games with him, seeing nature, watching sci fis and comedies with him, go shopping with him but I also like to do my own thing alone at home and so does he. He's my best friend as well as my romantic partner and we are equals who support each other. We look after ourselves and each other and we can be ourselves around each other.

I may have spent years in requited and unrequited limerance which would always break my heart but real love is so much better. It allows you to be a healthy independant person and it allows you to have stability and support while you achieve your dreams and be who you were always meant to be.

Information Sources

https://www.brides.com/limerence-vs-love-5193245

The Trouble With Christmas

This yearly season can be both fun and triggering for me. It's bittersweet. If I don't get traumatic memories pop up of abusive family members than I get paranoid that people already in my life will reject me or just judge me because they don't understand.

In an article by Amanda Lyons published in 2019 she says;
But Dr Elizabeth Hindmarsh, Chair of the RACGP Specific Interests Abuse and Violence network, emphasises the importance of remembering that Christmas is not fun for everyone.
 
‘The risk of family abuse and violence increases at this time of the year,’ she told newsGP.

Christmas is far more dangerous for those who still have existing relationships with their families. That doesn't invalidate those who have done a family cut off but it's important to open up these discussions to help people who are still having a hard time doing a cut off or for those who a family cut off is not an option for.

‘Families spend more time together [at Christmas], there’s more use of alcohol and drugs,’ Dr Hindmarsh said. ‘And it seems to be a time that brings up conflict in families.’ Further states Dr Elizabeth Hindmarsh.

Expressing myself through art, music and writing does help but although I have had years of cut off with most family members, it still makes me feel a bit of an outcast considering I don't fit in with the common narrative of christmas.

Education and therapy would have to be my most powerful tools in healing painful christmas memories though.

If you are struggling with family violence at christmas please call 1800 Respect and also please comment on one of my blog posts on my website www.aria-joshes-contemporary.webnode.com 
It would mean a lot to me and it would make you and I feel less alone at this time.


Information Sources used for this article:
https://www1.racgp.org.au/newsgp/clinical/keeping-christmas-safe

https://safesteps.org.au/understanding-family-violence/family-violence-myths-facts/

Family Violence Can Play a Part in Intimate Partnered Violence

So the other day I was watching a story about Gabby Petito on 60 Minutes. 
https://youtu.be/KxWR-8-4wDU

This tragic tale of intimate partner violence really struck a cord since I have been in abusive intimate relationships in the past and many female relatives had experienced more physical violence. I still remember my grandmother coming home with a black eye when I was just six years old which was pretty extreme for a young girl to see without any context and although she was abusive I still feel like she deserved better.

The circumstances in which her fiancee Brian Launderie came home and was vigorously protected by his parents was just as disturbing and when he was later found dead, the way Brian's parents handled the situation wasn't highlighted much at all. Although this makes sense because the story was about how Gabby was allegedly murdered by someone she loved and trusted, I would like to bring Brian's parents under the microscope.

Just to be clear I in no way want to excuse Brian's actions and I think it's atrocious that this happened to a young woman with so much promise and positivity.

When Brian came home his parents got him a lawyer. Brian and his parents were silent on the issue not just with police but also with their own children who spoke out with reporters. When their daughter spoke out, her parents distanced themselves with her. Brian's parents overprotectiveness of their son and treatment of their daughter was toxic and only made the dire situation far worse. If they had encouraged their son to come forward, maybe Brian would have had to pay for his crimes. It would of helped a lot of people who loved Gabby to see Brian go to prison then him taking his own life.

Family Violence can play a huge role in Intimate Partnered Violence. If I had gone along with the toxic family system I would of ended up choosing an abusive partner to settle down with and would of become abusive to that partner also. Violence breeds violence and although not all violent men become violent because of their families, the toxic family system has it's fair share of responsibility in intimate partnered violence.

It's also important to note that the patriarchy doesn't just push men into becoming violent but the oppressive nature of the patriarchy also creates the toxic family system. It can rid women of their softness as well in their bid to become equal to men. So rather than my grandmother opening conversations of what happened to her in an empowered way that could of made it easy for me not to enter abusive relationships, she would be silent in shame and question my relationship choices instead of laying blame to my abusive exes.

We need to remove the stigma of being born to an abusive family, question the social hierarchy that makes biological family the most acceptable type of family and open up conversations about the toxic family that lays shame to the abusers and not the victims. This is because combating Family Violence is something that will also play a part in combating Intimate Partner Violence.

Understanding The Trauma

Up until fairly recently I had no idea how my childhood trauma had affected my life. About a month or two ago I discovered a video by a therapist in America called Patrick Teahan:https://youtu.be/0m8iATgqzcw

When I watched these videos it changed my life. I use to overthink almost every social interaction I had and get triggered by people who meant me no harm but since applying what I learnt in Patricks video, I have been feeling lighter as a person because I'm not as triggered by people anymore. I don't have to isolate myself from other people because I'm not constantly worried about whether I have hurt or upset them.

Now I am able to connect with more people. My childhood trauma triggers would dictate my friendships as well but now I know that in general people like me and I don't have to try and 'read between the lines' because if someone is upset with me then it's their responsibility to tell me.

Now I only take responsibility for my own emotions and what I do and it's a load off my mind. I now watch Patrick Teahans videos but I don't need to watch a whole lot of them at once because these stratergies are so powerful and can tide you over for weeks and it puts you in the drivers seat of your own healing.

I hope Patrick Teahans videos are just as healing to others as they are to me.

Walk Everyday May is going to be a Thing!

I am so excited to anounce that my Walk Everyday May to raise awareness and put a stop to Family Domestic Violence has been accepted by White Ribbon as one of their fundraising events. This event is complimentary to my activism within my arts practise and will become an annual thing. (I'm hoping)

Although this is an active event, participants are encouraged to take their time with their walks. Walk as fast or as slow as you like. You can use it as something to help your creativity, a way to meditate or just a way to stay active.

Leading Up to May I will be coming up with tips and tricks to inspire you to keep up your walking. You are working to create change and I thankyou for that. 
Stay Tuned for more info as it comes to light. :)

Keep on Walking! :)

Thank you to my Supporters

$26.38

Brendan Mcgarrigan

$26.38

Keiron Keeshan

Well done on the launch and starting those conversations

$10

Stevie Briggs

$5.28

Sadie Keeshan

Woof Woof Woof Woof Woof!

$5.22

Aria-joshes Waterford

$5.22

Anonymous