Fear. Humiliation. Distress. Loneliness. These are but just some of the tribulations that perpetuated Stacey’s* experiences as a survivor of family violence in her previous marriage.
Back in April 2018 when Stacey first arrived at her new community, she experienced a sense of helplessness. She was hesitant in asking her neighbours for help as she felt that, like her, they too have their own problems. Added to that was her foreboding sense of loneliness, i.e. no one to turn to in times of emergency, as her friends and extended families too have their own fair share of health and practical concerns to deal with.
Overtime, Stacey began to build a trusting relationship with her next-door neighbour and the workers at SCC. This had widened her social network which enabled her to invite more resources into her family system. It also boosted Stacey’s self-confidence, putting her at ease in interacting with other mothers of similar-aged children in her communities, and extending a helping hand to them when needed.
Not Good Enough to Being Enough
In December 2018, Stacey and her children participated in an outing organised by a group of community volunteers. The time spent together further cemented the parent-child bonding between Stacey and her children. Reminiscing the memorable event, Stacey recalled how one of her daughters, Kate, had presented her with a plate of food and expressed her gratitude by saying “Thank you Mommy for cooking for us.” Kate described how her Mommy was very creative in “making the tomatoes into smiley faces” and “telling funny stories to everyone at the dining table”. Stacey was moved to tears when her daughters told her that in their eyes, she was never a “useless and worthless mother” as her ex-husband often accused her of, but a loving and talented mother whom they loved dearly. These affirmation and validation were empowering moment for Stacey. For the very first time, she no longer blamed herself nor felt responsible for her ex-husband’s behaviours towards the children and herself.
The widening of social network brought a positive boost to Stacey’s self-efficacy and mental well-being. This coupled with the catering services certificate she recently attained was a tremendous help to her financial resources. Putting the pain and fear of the past behind her, the Stacey of today is empowered and wears many hats - a creative mother, a baker, and an active volunteer in her beloved community. To the community, Stacey’s family are not deemed as “deficit” but “gifts”, their everyday acts of living and giving embodied the story of hope and resilience with-in the community.
*names changed to protect the identity of persons mentioned