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Empowering Survivors Of Domestic Violence
What would you do if you find yourself in an abusive relationship? Do you leave with your child, knowing that you have nowhere to go, no financial backing, no self-esteem after years of being made to feel insignificant, and convinced that this is probably all your fault? This is the reality of many women - and also men - who have no idea what to believe any more, who have been forced to lose touch with their family and friends, and who have been isolated and manipulated in so many different ways.
Domestic violence might not always be physical. When someone no longer has control of their own life, they - and their children - are in a dangerous space. Even if you call the helplines or realise you need to move on, what will happen afterwards? Many are afraid to be alone and to start from scratch. Many do not believe in themselves. How can they be empowered and rebuild their life once they manage to get away?
“When a survivor of domestic violence leaves an abusive relationship, she becomes like a boat without a rudder in the middle of a stormy sea. The waves are huge and scary, you don’t know where the safe haven is and how to get there. SOAR is like a tug boat, helping you navigate a way forward to safety. Along the way, the waves subside and you start to be able to navigate yourself, confident in your skills to face the sea alone. SOAR gives us survivors various tools and supports to build up self-confidence and independence, learning to trust one’s own abilities again. SOAR is a sum of all its members, each one helping the other, leaving no one behind. All of us have come from a dark place, but we walk together towards the light.”- Survivor’s Testimonal
Did you know that 1 in 4 women in Malta experience violence from an intimate partner? Did you know that Malta is one of the top 4 countries in the EU with the highest prevalence of stalking?*
SOAR is a peer-support service provided by St Jeanne Antide Foundation to women and children who have left a violent relationship, are no longer at high risk and are starting a new life. SOAR supports women and children survivors of domestic violence to become empowered, pick up the pieces and rebuild their lives with resilience, dignity and well-being. SOAR prioritises authentic inclusion, peer-support, appreciation for lived experience and social justice while supporting survivors to meet their basic needs.
Andrea** is a mother of three who had just ended a violent relationship with her partner. When SOAR met her, she had suffered a brutal beating resulting in a perforated eardrum. The violence and the subsequent process within the justice system seriously impacted her mental and physical health. 80% of her salary went towards rent. Her employment was in jeopardy because of the frequent court hearings which caused her to miss many days at work. Over the months, SOAR supported Andrea with lodging police reports and obtaining legal advice, provision of basic needs like food, nappies, detergents, mental health support, inclusion through social activities and mentoring. Today Andrea has started a new life, is living in secure housing and studying to better her economic prospects.
Persons who are still trapped in a violent relationship or are facing a crisis, feel unsafe and need support and protection, can call 179 (Appogg) and/or 112 (Emergency). If you have left an abusive relationship, are no longer at high risk, and looking to start a new life, get in touch with SOAR to see how you can benefit from their support services.
*Stats from Fundamental Rights Agency 2014
**Names have been changed to protect the individual