Labor MP Emma Husar is still "embarrassed" and "ashamed" about being a victim of family violence, but on Wednesday she stood tall to lend her voice to survivors of family violence around the country.
In an passionate speech delivered in the House of Representatives on Wednesday afternoon, Husar said "for many years I was embarrassed and I was ashamed".
"I know that I shouldn't be. But I am," she said.
As White Ribbon day approaches on Friday, the Labor MP recalled the first 13 years of her life which were "marred" by domestic violence committed against her mother from and "always drunk and abusive father".
"Whilst the blows that landed on my mother during my childhood didn't land on me physically, they may as well have. The trauma inflicted was the same. I recall it vividly and in great detail," Husar said.
"Each episode of violence in these 13 years was different but the aftermath was always the same. Dad would apologise, promise to be different and that would work for just a short time."
The Labor MP said her father was raised by his own violent father who was a soldier during World War II at a time where family violence didn't leave the home. This trickled down into his own, which was now hers.
"On the evening of another round of abuse, dad launched the family dinner that night at the wall. That stain remained on the wall for a very long time, but the stain in my heart would linger much longer. Mum then bundled my sister and I into the family car and we fled," Husar told Parliament.
"We would go to the refuges in our community, until, after so many years, and so many incidences that my father knew the locations and we were not safe there anymore.
"We then shifted to staying in hotels, which were located above pubs where the people below were loud and sometimes their noise would spill into the streets waking me -- and reminding me that I wasn't in my own bed, in my own home."
I hope the blame that was launched at my mum during the 90s for not leaving is no longer a part of the solution around domestic violence -- and the questions of why she doesn't just leave, quit being asked.Emma Husar
Husar's mother fled multiple times, to return again, but on the final night of physical abuse there were 13 police cars called to Husar's home.
"We know many women return home time and time again, even when their lives are massively disrupted along with their children's. And I hope the blame that was launched at my mum during the 90s for not leaving is no longer a part of the solution around domestic violence -- and the questions of why she doesn't just leave, quit being asked."
Husar, who has endured domestic violence in her own life for 16 years since then, said she hopes her words give voice and strength to other women enduring domestic violence around the country.
"Sometimes, in my experience, I have found that mostly victims of domestic violence don't talk about domestic violence because other people don't talk about domestic violence," Husar said.
"I hope that today I have lent my voice, and my story, and my passion for advocating for change to the choir of the White Ribbon movement to stand up, speak out and to act."
If you or someone you know is impacted by sexual assault, domestic or family violence, call 1800RESPECT on 1800 737 732 or visit 1800RESPECT.org.au. In an emergency, call 000. For more information about a service in your state or local area download the DAISY App in the App Store or Google Play.Suggest a correction