My journey with domestic abuse | Mildura Intimate Photography
EVEN before COVID-19 diverted our lives drastically this year, violence against girls and women had reached pandemic proportions.
Worldwide, 243 million girls and women have been abused by an intimate partner in the last 12 months.
Forty percent of these females don't report it or seek help.
For someone who has never experienced domestic violence, it would be easy to shake your head and wonder why.
As someone who has experienced domestic violence. I know why.
As countries implemented lockdown incidences of violence against women increased, in some countries five-fold.
Photo supplied by upsplash.com
Wednesday, November 25 was "International Day for Elimination of Violence against Women". It also signified the start of 16 days of activism to end violence against females.
You may have seen the orange ribbon tied around trees at places like the Langtree Mall or Mildura Base Hospital.
The theme is: Orange the World - Fund, Respond, Prevent, Collect.
There are many different types of violence - some more prevalent in our community then others.
Probably most common in our country are domestic violence, which includes economic violence (controlling finances, school or work), emotional violence, physical violence, psychological violence and sexual violence and Digital or Online Violence, which includes cyberbullying, doxing (public release of identifying or private information) and non-consensual sexting.
In Australia, 16 percent of women have experienced physical violence from a partner since they were 15.
More than one million children are impacted by domestic violence.
On average, one woman per week is killed by a current or former partner.
For me, it was that I thought I would struggle to cope without my partner, mainly emotionally and financially.
On top of that, I had conflicting thoughts of the love for my partner, the memories of the good times, when they were "good" and then there was always the promise that he would change.
I know too well how these thoughts can consume and suffocate you - forcing you to stay in a relationship where you are being treated not like you should.
There are many services that can support you locally when domestic violence is involved but even knowing that it was hard to make that first step - daunting, frightening and the unknown.
I like to think I have a small but special group of friends, and family members who have all the care, love and support in the world for me. But still it was a huge step to take.
Photo supplied by upsplash.com
And then one day I had enough. I had enough of being belittled. I had enough of being controlled financially. I had enough of the emotional abuse. I had enough of the name calling. I had enough of being scared and I had enough of walking on egg shells.
Suddenly the unknown was less scary than reality; the life I was then living.
And so I did it. I ended my relationship. I turned to my family and friends, I turned to The Orange Door.
I let go of that control and I trusted, because I believed I deserved more than how I was being treated. I believed my family deserved more than how they were being treated.
I'm not going to lie. It's been challenging, it's been hard. Most days I cry.
There are constantly times when I feel how hard this all is, dealing with all the services when you have a family involved is overwhelming.
I can even understand why people contemplate staying in abusive relationships with how hard separation is made.
But there is that underlying feeling of relief. Relief that I don't have to be subjected to that abuse again. Relief that the only way now is up. I just keep reminding myself I am one step closer to freedom and happiness.
I recognise my past relationship gave me some of the best experiences and times of my life, but I also refuse to let the bad times define who I am today.
I never thought I would be brave enough to break the cycle. I never thought I would be brave enough to say enough is enough. But I made that change.
And if you need to make that change - it all starts with you.
You don't need a referral to call The Orange Door or you can visit their website for further information about their services: https://orangedoor.vic.gov.au
And remember, if you believe your safety is at risk, call 000.
Sometimes we have ladies come into the studio that, for one reason or another, don't want to share many (or any) images. Your privacy is so important to me so after your reveal, we sit down and go through all the final images for you to choose (guilt free) which, if any, I can share and where!
I love feedback and know just how important it is for all businesses so I ask my Beauties to complete an online questionnaire about their experience with Pure Beauty Photography. This questionnaire is by one of the amazing ladies I have shot who, although would love to share them, has decided not to, so we will call her "Miss Anonymous"
Did you have any obstacles or fears about doing this session?
I was worried about posing. And I was also worried that it would fall at the wrong time of the month and I would feel Yuck!
What made you take the leap of faith to do a boudoir session?
As a wedding gift for my fiance. I doubt I would have got the courage to do it without this reason!
Did I provide enough pre-session info?
Yes heaps thanks!
How did you feel BEFORE your session?
Really nervous. Shaking.
How did you like working with my team? Did you love your hair & makeup?
Loved the hair and makeup (Vee and Mairee)! And loved that there was a makeup artist to change my lip colour!
How would you describe the session? (poses, direction, comfort level, thoughts, FEELINGS)
10/10. I was made to feel comfortable from the first pose. I forgot that I was in lingerie and was so comfortable!
Was the session different than you expected? If so, how?
Very different. I thought I'd be uncomfortable for most of it but was suprised at how quickly that feeling went. Lauren showing me some of the photos on the camera was confirmation that I was doing ok!
How did you feel AFTER your session?
What was your favorite part?
The bold lipstick and picking an outfit from Lauren's collection. It was me but a more confident me. I would never have picked that outfit or lipstick!
What was your least favorite part?
Would you ever do another session?
How did you feel when you saw your images?
I can't wait to see them!
Did anything change about the way you see yourself after the session?
I felt strangely confident! I'm a really good way! But now I'm busting to talk about it but can't because it's a suprise!!
Do you have any advice for women considering doing a boudoir session?
To do it without over thinking it!
Any final thoughts on your session, or anything you'd like other woman to know?
It's worth the investment even without a "reason" to do it!
Here you will find my featured babes, #wearepurebeauty , as well as some tips for your boudoir shoot- from lingerie shopping to hair and makeup
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Mildura resident and Photographer, Lauren Southwell launched Pure Beauty in late June, 2018 & is committed to helping woman feel beautiful, sexy and empowered through the art of Boudoir Photography.