Rosie Batty AO
Domestic Violence Campaigner and Australian of the Year 2015
In Australia, domestic violence is a part of many families’ lives, including some Catholic families. This is the disturbing reality across all our communities.
The Bishop of Parramatta, Bishop Vincent Long, has long been committed to zero tolerance to domestic violence and strongly reiterated this on the United Nations’ International day for the Elimination of Violence Against Women.
It’s a position emphatically stated by Pope Francis.
Pope Francis has said “Violence against women cannot be treated as ‘normal.’ He has even said sometimes it is ‘morally necessary’ to leave a relationship when a spouse and their children are experiencing domestic violence.
This means attitudes that indicate domestic violence should be tolerated or kept secret within your marriage or relationships are wrong.
My personal experience with domestic violence, and the work I am doing now has taken me across Australia and internationally, where I have met with, and spoken to, hundreds of people on the topic.
What I know is that no one deserves to live in a home where they feel threatened and unsafe.
An abusive relationship may be one where there is physical violence, sexual violence, emotional or psychological abuse or coercive control. Sometimes control in a relationship even means a woman is prevented from practising her faith. Sometimes faith is used to hurt, scare or control a woman – this is what’s known as spiritual or religious abuse. Any abuse is not part of the Catholic Tradition.
The Catholic Diocese of Parramatta has developed and will shortly launch a new app to assist domestic violence victims. It is called ‘Iris’ - a journaling app designed with Christian women in mind, to help them identify what’s happening in their relationships and instill a sense of hope and courage.
Sometimes a woman can feel there is something not quite right in her relationship but can’t easily explain what it is. Often, they even minimise their bad experiences, thinking “it’s not that bad”. Equally, its sometimes difficult to speak up or discuss feelings of uneasiness or even fear. In these times, journaling can often provide clarity.
Journaling is a useful tool for assessing and tracking what’s happening in relationships. Sometimes a partner may not be aware of how his partner is feeling, and the journaling process can act as a catalyst for the couple to seek professional help.
It might also make it easier to see when a woman should seek external support for a pathway to safety.
The Iris App makes it easy to journal events as they happen. You then have the details that can become lost when mixed with fear and anxiety.
It is important to stay on track and have the ability to identify feelings and patterns. You can, for example, record when you argue with your partner and how it made you feel. Maybe you have felt controlled, and sometimes you may have been hurt. You can record this on the Iris App. It stays on your phone and no one else can see it.
The Iris App also contains beautifully illustrated biblical quotes focused on offering comfort, hope and reassurance.
There are also details of other agencies that can offer help.
You’ll find Iris on the App Store or Google Play.
The records you keep in the Iris app can help you talk to someone about what you are experiencing, how you can work out what is best for your relationship and most importantly assist in your journey to safety.
Hi, I’m Rosemary Kariuki and I was awarded Local Hero in the 2021 Australian of the Year Awards. I have a very important message for everyone who lives in Australia.
All people - women, men and children - need to feel safe in their own home.
Sadly, sometimes there is violence in the home. And this happens in all communities around Australia.
Domestic violence can happen when someone physically hurts or is violent towards another family member. They may shout and insult the other person, hurting them emotionally. They may control their money. They may control when they can go out and see their friends and family. They may even control how they worship.
All this abuse is wrong, and its not Okay
If you don’t feel safe or the freedom to be yourself with the people you share a home with, you can seek help.
Sometimes it is confusing to know how you feel about how another person is treating you. Sometimes you be worried that you won’t be believed if you tell someone how your partner is treating you. You may not even know where you can get help.
The Church in the Diocese of Parramatta understands this and has launched a phone app that can help you work out what is going on in your relationship.
It’s called Iris Women and it’s on the App Store and Google Play.
It helps you record things that happen between you and your partner. You can use words, photos and even videos. This will help you see how your partner behaves and how this makes you feel.
You can then take the app to someone who can help you.
There are places to get help listed on the app too.
Please reach out if you or someone you know suffers from domestic violence.
Ring 000 in case of emergency.
There is also a domestic violence help line 1800 737 732.
This App will be very helpful because many women do not document what’s happening to them.
There is help for you.
Everyone deserves a safe home.
If you are in danger
IF AN EMERGENCY:
Call the Police 000
Support with domestic violence issues:
1800 737 732 (1800 RESPECT)
For emergency refuge or housing assistance:
1800 152 152
What is an abusive relationship?
An abusive relationship may be one where there is physical violence, sexual violence, emotional or psychological abuse or coercive control. Sometimes control in a relationship means a woman is prevented from practising her faith. Sometimes faith is used to hurt, scare or control a woman – this is what’s known as spiritual or religious abuse.