My name is Maribel and I have two children. My story begins back in 2019 when I went to see a councillor while I was studying at TAFE. I told her what was happening with my family and she referred me to WAGEC. I didn’t even know where to start, I didn’t have a job, I didn’t know where I would go, I didn’t even know what services were available to me.
In that first meeting with the councillor, she said I had to make a decision, not only for my children but for myself. She told me: “how can you care about your children if you are not taking care of yourself?” Before that I had not even thought about myself, all my decisions had been because of my children. But when the councillor said that I realised then that yes, I needed to make a decision for myself, I shouldn’t make exceptions for how I am treated.
When I spoke to a WAGEC case manager, I told her I really wanted to get out. She supported me with housing, everything, because at that time I wasn’t working, I was studying, so my financial situation wasn’t very good. I was so grateful for WAGEC and so happy that I was put in touch. With WAGEC, I feel like I my self-esteem was boosted. The WAGEC team, from the start, gave me so much advice and made me more comfortable and a stronger woman. That’s what I wanted to share. I am sure it’s not just me. For other women who are scared to get out… I want them to. There is so much help out there, just get out and ask for help because there is nothing wrong with asking for help.
During that time I wasn’t working, I was studying, I have two children and had nowhere to go. I have no family around and was hesitating thinking like I can’t do this and asking myself should I do it or should I not. But when Terri explained to me how much help was available, I thought okay I need to and from the start to the end they never let me go. They always helped me with everything. It’s amazing.
Now I am in a private rental now, I started working at Aldi and doing community work at Addison Road in Marrickville. I love volunteering and want to return to the community. My children are doing great. I always involved them in any decision making. They push me like saying, “okay we need to go out, we need to move out” so it’s not that hard for me to make the decision. From the start they were always pushing me as well. It made it easier for me. They accept what is going on right now. It’s good for them to know, I don’t want to hide from them and always involve them in decision making.
To other women who are hiding to come out, don’t be scared. Be strong for yourself and if you love yourself, there’s lots of help out there. You need to come out. I have a friend whose afraid. I’ve been talking to her for almost 6 months now and telling her she doesn’t have to be scared. What is going on inside the house, it's not really good. I’ve been giving her examples from my situation. But she is scared and sometimes asks me for WAGEC’s number and then all of a sudden she withdraws and says it’s okay. Because I am sure there are so many other women who are scared.
That’s the message, don’t be scared, be strong.