Jelena Dokic has opened up in regards to the “scars” she continues to dwell with 20 years on from her traumatic childhood.
“My expertise as a home violence sufferer was one thing I could not speak about for a really very long time,” she tells 9Honey Superstar.
“As a sufferer, you’re scared to talk out, and you’re afraid of how your story will probably be acquired in society, and you’re afraid of what may very well be coming across the nook.
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The previous World Quantity four tennis participant, who’s now 39, famously fled a home violence state of affairs at 19. She had spent her childhood being relentlessly verbally and bodily abused by her father and tennis coach, Damir Dokic.
Dokic has shared numerous reminiscences of the abuse she was subjected to in interviews and, most notably, in her 2017 memoir, Unbreakable.
Over time, the retired athlete has risen as a fierce advocate for home violence victims, utilizing her platform to lift consciousness and encourage higher and extra out there companies.
“The impacts and the scars of home violence stick with you for the remainder of your life, and it isn’t simply troublesome if you find yourself within the state of affairs,” she says.
“It’s troublesome then, and from each second after. While you determine to go away and escape, there may be abruptly a lot extra worry, since you are susceptible, and you’re left to determine what beginning over seems to be like.”
For Dokic, the expertise of beginning over was greater than troublesome. After she left dwelling in 2002, the younger tennis star was left on the streets along with her baggage and her racket.
At the moment the help out there for victims was near none, however Dokic notes she was “fortunate to be an expert athlete, who might earn cash, and earn it shortly.”
“For a lot of different girls, whether or not they be younger ladies, older or with youngsters, the choice to go away their household comes with a lot hesitation,” Dokic says.
“The nervousness of ‘The place will I’m going?’ and ‘How will I help myself?’ or ‘Assist my household’ is so excessive, that many merely do not go away.”
On high of that, Dokic notes many ladies find yourself returning to their state of affairs of home violence simply weeks after leaving, after beginning over proves too troublesome, or just inconceivable.
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She says that for her, as a survivor, it’s at that stage of beginning over the place girls want probably the most help.
“At that time, you are not simply frightened of the individual that you’ve got been abused by, however you are additionally frightened of what life will appear like. It by no means ends simply there, so help is important,” Dokic says.
“Having a secure area, having a secure setting, the place you may speak about it if you wish to – but in addition the place you’re secure to sleep and have entry to easy issues like clear garments, meals and hygiene is so vital.”
She notes help companies that provide these easy issues “save lives” as victims are sometimes nonetheless reckoning with their very own emotional trauma once they do go away.
“You are afraid to fall asleep at evening, you are even afraid to show round, for worry that somebody may very well be there – and by ‘somebody’, I imply your abuser,” she says.
With home violence being the main driver of homelessness amongst Australian girls, per OurWatchDokic has even floated new concepts for a way the nation might assist victims.
“On no account am I making an attempt to be political about this, however I do assume that permitting victims early entry to their superannuation may very well be extremely useful,” Dokic says.
“I feel having a little bit of that assist, if you happen to do go away and determine to go away, might save lives. As a result of with that cash, girls then know that they can pay a safety deposit, they can pay their hire for a month or two, till they get again on their toes.
“I feel that not all the things is so black and white, and in such a drastic circumstance as being a sufferer of home violence, that type of cash might actually change issues. Each little bit helps.”
When you want somebody to speak to about home violence, name 1800RESPECT or go to White Ribbon Australia at whiteribbon.org.au. In an emergency, name 000.