Posted by Margaret Mason on Sep 29, 2021
The meeting was held on Zoom. Twenty-three members participated and there were two guests, Sossi and Tony Fritzlaff from Cilantro. The chair was Tim Moran and the guest speaker was Emma Giershick. Tim introduced Emma who is a survivor of family violence and breast cancer She is a sole parent to a daughter who has Downs Syndrome. Emma has been advocating for support for women and children who are victims of family violence. She has been awarded an OAM for her work.
Emma had also spoken and one of RCBMC’s meetings several years ago. Her presentation today was to give an insight into the psyche of a person who has undergone family violence. Emma explained that she experienced more psychological and sexual abuse rather than physical abuse. There was an excessive degree of coercive control in the relationship she was in, to the extent that she was told when to go to bed and when to get up. I There would be unpleasant consequences if she did not comply. She gave a number of examples of her experiences and stated that family violence eventually affects the victim’s mental health, self-confidence, and self-esteem. She explained the perpetrator usually starts by “grooming” the victim, by behaving in a “caring manner” by controlling what the victim can and cannot do. This gradually places the victim in a position of isolation. It also desensitizes the victim towards the actions of the perpetrator. The perpetrator’s power over the victim results in fear in the victim as the ramifications of leaving is so severe that the victim stays because of this fear and particularly because of the fear of not being able to protect the children.  
Emma then went on to explain what goes on in the mind of a woman who is abused. Although a woman has a choice of staying or leaving, family violence affects mental health to the extent the woman “sees the waves taking away the sand akin to her chances of getting away from the abusive relationship.” She would look for the “driftwood” to cling to. Emma also stated that children should be recognised, in their own right, as victims. Many children may grow up within an abusive relationship and thinking that it is the norm. She also stresses the importance of creating a paper trail particularly when the case goes to court. Tim thanked Emma for a very insightful and thought-provoking presentation.


President Helen then went on to introduced the item of a donation to the Applied Learning program. The sum of $5000 has been published in the Bulletin for the past two weeks. The vote for the donation was. Supported unanimously.
The meeting ended with a Sergeant’s session where the achievement of the Melbourne Football was celebrated and the detractors fined! (for the record, the author is a fanatical supporter of Melbourne - Editor).