Erica Hamence opens our series of 16 days of prayer against Domestic & Family Violence - Foundations for Christian Action by reminding us that we pray because our God has promised to transform the world.
“I am a survivor of violence, not just that of my own personal life, but, I am a survivor of violence passed down through the generations. I am a survivor of intergenerational trauma that was inflicted upon my old people, my old women.”
'For the Lord will not forsake his people;
he will not abandon his heritage;
for justice will return to the righteous,
and all the upright in heart will follow it.'
- Psalm 94:14-15
I am a survivor of violence, not just that of my own personal life, but, I am a survivor of violence passed down through the generations. I am a survivor of intergenerational trauma that was inflicted upon my old people, my old women.
When I think about the elimination of violence against women, I don’t just think about the many sisters in community today being impacted. I automatically think of my grandmothers who have gone before me that have had to endure gendered violence through racist government policies over hundreds of years. These systemic racist structures still continue today and are one of the drivers of violence against our women and children.
Prior to First Contact (pre-colonisation) our people lived in peace and harmony through our kinship systems and our lore. Violence had no place in our families because of our beautiful, unique systems.
Since colonisation, these systems have tried to strip our women, men and children of our identity. We have had to learn how to survive and adapt through the many atrocities enforced through colonisation. And, it is still happening today; our people face many different systems that do not and will not work for us.
At Strong Women Talking we support, educate, equip and empower our women, on the forms of abuse, on trauma and how it impacts us and our ghundus (children). We go back to cultural practices of ceremony and our ancient methodologies to empower our women to overcome the cycle of violence.
We do this with limited to no funds, but from a heart of love for our women and community. I know so many other aunties and sisters across this nation in the same position, who have amazing God-given ministries that can bring about real change in our communities, however, are not heard and not listened to and therefore not funded. Yet, we look to the left and right and see many mainstream agencies getting the funding to work with our women. The sad reality is, in order for a real shift to occur, it has to be our grassroots, people in community leading and driving our own change. To break systemic racism, we need the system to support us to lead and drive our own futures.
Strong Women Talking is a grassroots movement of First Nations women who have lived experience of the impacts of colonisation.
Creator God says in His word that He will not forsake His people and that justice will return to the righteous, and that all the upright in heart will follow it.
For me as an Aboriginal Christian woman in this country and as the founder of Strong Women Talking – Marigurim Mubi Yangu - I will continue to follow and pursue justice, by bringing education and awareness on intergenerational trauma and bringing to light the systemic racist structures we face, particularly in the domestic and family violence sector.
For these opportunities, every day I thank our great Creator God, in my Butchulla language we call Him Biral, our Heavenly Father and my Lord and Saviour Jesus Christ for every trial and adversity we have lived through and overcome to still be here today not only surviving but thriving.
Holy Spirit, would you bring revelation and understanding on just how deep this issue is of gendered violence for First Nations peoples across this nation of Australia? May mainstream Australia come to understand the drivers of violence for First Nations peoples and that First Nations Peoples would be supported in their/our God given ministries that we know will bring healing to Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander women.
Here are some potential ways to take action or read more on the topic or other interesting links.
See Our Watch’s national resource to support the prevention of violence against Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander women and their children. Sono Leone was one of the Advisory Board developing this resource: https://www.ourwatch.org.au/What-We-Do/Prevention-of-violence-against-Aboriginal-and-Torr
Become a friend of Strong Women Talking on facebook and follow Sono’s work: