“I Wanted Better for my Children” - 29 April 2013

I was the eldest of three girls and from what I can remember we had a pretty good life in the early years of growing up. We had a small family, my mother had one sister and my father had two sisters.

My father's mother had suicided when he was about 16 years of age and he no longer wanted them when he partnered up with another woman who had children. My mother and father separated when I was about 11 years old, due to my father finding another woman.

My mother couldn't handle me and asked her friend to let me live with them. I went through the Courts and my father was given custody but on the condition that he had a house to live in and at that time he was living in a caravan. I stayed with the people I was living with and became a ward of the State. I lived in four different homes from the age of 11 years to about 16 years. They were not positive, friendly homes and I would often cry myself to sleep at nights and longed for my parents to step up and be better parents and to feel loved.

I was bullied at school about my appearance because I had front teeth that really stuck out (I paid for these to be fixed when I was about 28 years old) and I used to have to wear the same clothes all the time.

I moved to be closer to my dad at 16 years old. I developed relationships that were not good. What I found was that I was attracted to gang members and I know now that I was wanting someone to protect me from bullies and also feel like I belonged to a family. I found a patched member of a local gang and had two children to him before I realised I didn't want this lifestyle for myself or my children. I wanted better for my children.

I had no idea where or who to turn to but I had an amazing lawyer and a couple of friends who I am still friends with today and I moved on. It was really hard to begin with but as each day went by I became stronger - I went on to study and completed my degree in Social Work and now work in an NGO with families.

My biggest value is "If you see someone without a smile give them one of yours" and don't judge a book by its cover. If you want to makes changes then you can - I am proud to be who I am today and how far I have come and hope to be an inspiration one day just like Jude Simpson is an inspiration to me.


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