Teeing up safety for violence victims

A LOCAL chiropractor is fundraising to support those suffering from domestic violence, during a time when victims need it most.

During September, Dr Anthea Todd, from Sale, is selling T-shirts to raise money for safe steps, Victoria’s 24/7 family violence response centre.

Dr Todd is like many people – the pandemic turned her plans upside down this year.

She was on a two-year working trip in the United Kingdom, but it was cut short to just five months because of the COVID-19 pandemic.

Dr Todd turned her frustration into something productive, using the time to create a positive for the local community.

Through her online initiative ‘The State Of Me’ – which aims to turn women’s health from a complex and intimidating issue into something more fun and simple – Dr Todd set up an online shop to raise money for a worthy cause.

While The State Of Me typically focuses on helping women with their hormonal health through online programs and consultations, Dr Todd said she understood through experience with her own patients that women and children exposed to domestic violence, physical or emotional abuse were at a much higher risk of chronic health issues.

She said while stay at home restrictions were important for public health, they could also be dangerous and even life-threatening for women experiencing domestic violence.

Even when survivors managed to escape, past experiences could affect their health into the future.

“I really realised how lucky I was to be able to move back home and have the luxury of being in a safe and loving environment,” Dr Todd said.

“Many people don’t have that luxury.

According to the Australian Institute of Health and Welfare, every nine days in Australia, a woman dies as a result of domestic violence, one in six women have experienced physical or sexual violence from a current or former cohabitating partner, and one in four women have experienced emotional abuse from a current or former cohabitating partner.

The institute notes men also experience domestic violence, with one man killed every 29 days by a partner, and one in 16 men experiencing physical or sexual abuse from a partner.

Dr Todd said the pandemic has worsened domestic violence, and reaching out for help was harder with financial strain, job losses, and everyone being under the same roof for more hours in the day.

To try and highlight the issue, she is working with local work wear and embroidery business JSM Embroidery Workwear and Safety in Sale to produce T-shirts to fundraise for the fight against domestic violence, with all profits going to safe steps.

Each T-shirt will have a profit of $25.

With $75, the centre can provide essential specialised help for women planning on leaving violent relationships.

With $125, it can provide several nights in safe and emergency accommodation for a woman and her children, and $350 can cover relocation costs for a mother and children moving house because of family violence.

“We don’t have to let the fact that we cannot do everything keep us from doing what we can,” Dr Todd said.

“Something as simple as a $70 T-shirt can help liberate a woman in need and at the same time liberate us every time we wear it.”

To buy a T-shirt, visit www.thestateofme.com.au during September.

Those who need immediate help as a result of domestic violence should phone Lifeline on 13 11 14 or 1800 RESPECT on 1800 737 732.

Those in immediate danger should phone 000.