‘Free Woman’ and the Deaf Mental Health Conference

As part of the fantastic Deaf Mental Health Conference held in Melbourne recently, Kate Frost released an Auslan poem ‘Free Woman’ on YouTube. It is an emotionally raw, honest portrayal of how she survived domestic violence and escaped with her baby. Today she is a strong, free woman. 25 November is White Ribbon Day – National Day to Stop Men’s Violence Against Women – and Kate’s message is inspiring for anyone trying to find their own strength to reclaim their lives.

Kate posted, “I exposed my darkest story to the wonderful people of the public, part of the conference, people who were there. I am really grateful for how amazing everyone has been, the amount of support and love that was shown to each other. It restores my faith a bit in the today’s society.💕

My fear of sharing my story has now become a fat token to my strength. I can only hope I inspired anyone who is currently stuck in that situation. For you to gain the strength to speak out. Silence hides violence, you won’t ever have to walk alone, I’ll be here for you. I can speak for many others, who will too, stand by you.

Everything I’ve learnt, everyone I met, I am really inspired to go ahead, to do my part and change the world somehow.

To end my message, I have a big fat THANKYOU’s to all those amazing people standing by my side. You know who you are 😘

Kate’s sister posted, “The day after my birthday, my life changed. I saw my sister went through one of her hardest, darkest time of her life. As a sister, I do my best in my power to protect her, be there for her when she needed me the most. I introduce her to Debra Swann who also was a survivor in this. Fast forward 9 months, today they both took the stage at ‪#‎DeafMHC2015 and talked about Domestic Violence. They vow to do a part to change the world – by raising awareness for Domestic Violence especially in the Deaf Community all over Australia.

To see them both doing something good out of the worst times of their lives just inspiring. I couldn’t be ANY more PROUD to have known two strong women in my life with what they did today.”

This poem was written by one and only Kate Frost. Bravo. One proud sister right here.”

Caitlin, a volunteer at the conference wrote: “Thanks for making it happened last 2 days. If it wasn’t for you guys and your amazing team especially my champion troopers volunteers – these wouldn’t have happened. Lots of stories reveal that nobody knew and hit us really hard. Lots of stories inspired us, lots of things to take in and share to others. We have to keep educate the professionals, our networks, our deaf society’s, big companies related to mental health for deaf, deaf aboriginals, deaf blind, codas and interpreters; by helping them, working as team. There is so much to work to rally together and fight to change the system. Thanks for laughs you know who you are. Thanks for hugs and wipe my tears many time – you know who you are. I’m forever grateful to get through past difficult 72 hours to get me today. I’m okay today.

PS I’m so proud of you Debra & Kate. You girls now have won our heart and you both have our attention and I’m so proud of you girls share the stories that nobody can speak up. You have my mega universe support – time to set up everything you guys have always want and helps other survivors xo”

DCA Family Support/ Community Development Coordinator Debra Swann encouraged Kate to develop the poem into a Youtube clip and Deb wants us to share this clip and these messages to help build awareness of the issue and the support network that is available. No one ever needs to be alone in addressing domestic violence.

Debra said, “After two long emotional and inspiring days at the Deaf Mental Health Conference, I must say that I look forward toward the future of planning and bringing the resources and ideas together into reality.

Well done to Gary Kerridge, Melanie Merhi, Melissa at Deaf Victoria, Karli Dettman, Sandra Spadea and Dean Barton-Smith for making this conference a reality and bringing the people together.

Not to mention, a big thank you to volunteers and interpreters and the conference, without them the conference couldn’t happen. Oh and of course Marnie Kerridge, well for everything, for being you, for not giving up on the community.

A big thanks for the deaf community and professionals for coming and sharing their stories. Your stories will help shape the future into a positive one. We need to work together as one. Onwards and upwards….”

‪Go to the Deaf Mental Health Conference Facebook page to  follow and join in the conversations coming out of the Deaf Mental Health Conference.

You might also like to read Gary Kerridge’s wonderful Rebuttal article.



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