Testimonials

Maggie's Legacy gave me the tools to take back control of my life. I can't thank you enough!

WE MAKE A DIFFERENCE

Hear From Survivors & Front Line Workers

“ "The training helped me to understand the dynamics of my own childhood trauma, and domestic violence as a child and also as an adult in a domestic violence situation"..”
"OAMS was introduced to Maggie's legacy a couple of years ago and we knew immediately that we ‘needed’ to partner with this program to push the message that our women who experience any form of violence from their spouse or partner need to be heard and understood. As an Aboriginal Medical Service advocacy, support and engagement for our people is critical, especially those who are the most vulnerable. We absolutely believe the purpose of ‘Maggie's Legacy’ and would encourage other entities to partner."

Jamie Newman
Orange Aboriginal Medical Service

"I was introduced to Mary in November due to a work environment concern. Almost immediately after connecting with her during our first session, it was really clear that Mary knew what I was navigating and had the expertise & framework to help me through it. This is where Mary presented the Tentacles of Obligation framework she had created through Maggie’s Legacy. Step by step, I was able to see how I was positioned in a toxic work relationship and how I could move through this but most importantly how I can identify people who operate in within the transactional language now and in future. After our first session, I unpacked what we had spoken about with my parents and my safest friends. This framework has been invaluable to me and those who I have shared it with as I now am armoured with the knowledge that Mary has articulately created which empowers me to remain true to myself while being able to operate with those who are different to me. I’m so grateful to have crossed paths with Mary and Maggie’s Legacy."

Frontline Worker

“As a criminal law lawyer for over 10 years I have represented many defendants in regard to Domestic Violence matters. Initially success for me was winning the defended hearing, which at times included harsh cross-examination of the alleged victim. On numerous occasions my clients charges were withdrawn because the alleged victim did not come to court. On several occasions Police would apply and be granted warrants for their arrest so that they could be brought before the court. It was assumed their non appearance was due to them trying to protect their spouse. As a lawyer you think you know it all. Mary through “Maggies Legacy” opened my eyes to the fact that they were actually protecting themselves and in most occasions their children. The current system does not work for victims of domestic violence. My cross-examination was putting the victim and her children in danger. Victims are getting the wrong advice from those they are told to trust. Everyone that is involved in Domestic Violence in anyway should stop what they are doing now. They must attend a “Maggies Legacy” course and then and only then can they give victims the correct advice and skills to protect themselves and their children. I have now attended 3 “Maggie Legacy” courses and each time I have learnt something new. Don’t assume you know what is best for a victim. Take it from me you don’t.”

Mick Madden
Orange Aboriginal Medical Service

"I completed Maggie's Legacy training through work. I had already done several training days with other organisations and lots of independent research. Domestic violence was something I was accustomed to having conversations about with clients. On the first day of training I was surprised by how well Maggie's Legacy captured the thought process of someone who was in a domestic violence situation. Mary not only managed to explain their thought processes but did exercises where you could feel the psychological conditioning they experience. This part of the program really stood out, I had never done something like that before and I realised how imperative it is that workers understand what is going on mentally and emotionally for their clients. This part of the program made me adamant the training should be refreshed regularly. Mary explained the psychological conditioning a client experiences and shed light on them being reluctant to leave, in denial of the violence or unwilling to report the violence. Everything she said reflected what I was seeing. Mary was able to light a pathway for people who are in this mindset to identify the violence, a crucial step to leaving the situation. She gave tools to think outside the box and empower a client to make their own choices and navigate their safety plan. This alone has been invaluable in restoring the clients independence and self worth. Through Mary's relational and transactional language framework clients have been able to identify coercive control and avoid dangerous situations. They are able to communicate effectively with police without fear that they will be misconstrued as the abuser. With the understanding of Domestic Violence that Maggie's Legacy brings, Clients who are working with child protection have been able to communicate the "why" behind their choices rather than being seen as protecting the abuser. Learning to understand the "why" behind their own actions has been crucial for the healing process, rather than guilt, clients can heal by understanding themselves. With the tactics Maggie's Legacy offers clients can identify their own safety plan and regain the confidence that they have power over their own safety and that of their children's safety. When met with transactional language a client can maintain their values and identify their own needs rather than complying with their abusers demands. Maggie's Legacy assists them to make these choices in a way that they are comfortable with. For the first time since working with Domestic Violence clients I do not hear "What will an AVO do, its just paper?" because they are confident with their ability to manage their own safety in a way that they can maintain long term."

Frontline Worker

"I lived in an abusive relationship for 11 years with my ex husband and 3 children. For 11 years I was told it was not DV and I was "making it up to sound good for myself" after a third of my life being treated this way I honestly thought I was crazy. Some days I would lock myself in the bathroom to look at my wounds, wondering of they were really there or if I was indeed making them up. I would tell myself "that bruise is there and you should leave" but I never could. Then one day he did what I thought he never would and hurt my child, I left. But the damage was done and by the time I left I was a shell of my former self. Shortly after I left I overheard my mother describe me as "unable to tie her shoe laces without permission" It stung hearing that but it was true, I was an educated person who couldn't even pick what to cook my kids for dinner without asking her. The road out of the violence was messy and emotional. I had a lot of family support but they were angry at me. They felt I had lied to them for 11 years. I guess I had and I had no explanation for them as to why. I started a journey to rebuild my life. I went to a refuge, I started a new job, I went back to studying, I had counselling and I learnt to function again. But that is all I did, function outwardly while my inner turmoil reigned. In my mind I always wondered "Why did he do that to me?" Years after I had left my marriage that question still kept me awake at night. In my healing journey I had done a lot of research around the impacts of DV on kids and the guilt ate me for allowing them to have lived that way. My betrayal to my family still hung heavy and I would get intermittent questions from them about my capacity to protect my kids or the lies I told them to keep my secret. I thought I would never have the answers, I thought the damage I had caused to my family and children was irreparable and I was still blaming myself rather than the abuser. All that changed when I went to a Maggie's Legacy workshop. I sat there listening to my thoughts and actions explained, in all the programs and counselling I had done over the years I finally felt understood. It was like she had my memories and experiences in a map. For the first time in years I understood this was not my fault. In that training room I was given the gift of knowing why he had treated me that way and it was like a weight i didn't even know I was carrying was gone. I was also able to share with my family the reasons behind my actions. With Maggie's Legacy's help my family understood my experience and I could finally feel what its like to be accepted without judgement. Family forgiveness was the final piece of my healing journey. I have never laid awake wondering why again."

Survivor

"The person I am today is has no comparison to the woman that started this journey. I was married for 38 years to a controlling, obsessive and violent man, I had 2 children with this man and believed for many of those years that I could help him become a better person, be the person I had thought he could be, however this did not turn out to be the case. I was controlled in ways of not being able to go to places, with him not working much himself due to needing to know my whereabouts and what I was doing. Even after a time of incarceration due to physical assault to me, still things did not change but I stayed in belief that I could make a difference and for my children to have a family unit. Although I felt I was just broken, an empty shell getting through each day. We attempted to see a psychologist and tried medication, however he would not stick to the medication and believed it was everyone else that had the issue not himself. After many years we moved in with my son to be and assist with family, I believe it may have been a way of my son reaching out to try and give myself that first step, however after my son passed away there were to many memories and then we moved into My Daughters house with her family. This situation then was the start of many family arguments and it just exploded in a sense, after a particular nasty incident on a family member he was asked to leave the property and expected me to be by his side, however this time I said No, I believe I stayed for such a long time to protect my children and keep them unaware. This man however then travelled on to manipulate the children into believing it was just an argument and all would turn back to normal however this caused a broken relationship between mother and child. This man returned one night and this is when the harassment, stalking and threats started, I was simply petrified for my life, my daughter had security installed and I had an AVO taken out, but even with this it turned my life toxic, with broken relationships, the feelings of brokenness rose again. I felt like I had my back to a wall and was exhausted. I had previously had a Housing Application and rang to check the status of it, this is when I was referred through to Wattle Tree House, Housing Support Service and I was saved, it gave me hope! I was treated exceptionally well the whole way throughout being case managed. It made my whole Housing situation so much easier to comprehend and I was housed into the most beautiful little unit with assistance of furniture that suit me so well and made me feel hopefully for my future. Wattle Tree House introduced me to a option of DV counselling through Maggie’s Legacy with Mary, Mary got it from the word go, it felt like I was talking to a friend who had all the answers for me, Mary made me feel like she not only talked the talk but she walked the walk. She simply unlocked my mind! Mary is invaluable, she explained my thoughts and above all just listened! I feel after having counselling through Maggie’s Legacy that I still have a way to go and it is a working process – like I have a walking stick and one day I won’t need it anymore. With the support from Wattle Tree House building my confidence and helping piece my life back together, I feel Maggie’s Legacy will then heal my last part of my once broken self. I feel safe and supported and have a new lease on life, I am so grateful for Wattle Tree House, Ellie and Mary. I will enjoy this next journey in my life in my new property with my little Betty by my side."

Survivor

"For years I was trapped in a manipulative, toxic marriage believing that I was indeed as crazy as my husband said I was and that I was in a safe loving marriage. Once I escaped my DV after a physical assault a year ago I was free from the physical violence but not the transactional cycle, the manipulation, fear or guilt. Through the lovely team at Wattle Tree House and Bathurst Women and Children’s Refuge, I was finally introduced to someone at Maggie’s Legacy and in just a short period of time I have completely been educated on what transactional and relational cycles are, how to overcome my fears, how to break free from the transactional cycle and make my own choices for myself and my children. Understanding DV and why it has happened to you is hard, because you are led to believe that it’s all in your mind, that you deserved it in some way, you feel guilty, unsupported, alone and ashamed. I have come so far, having wanted to end my life and now I’m happier, stronger and able to fight for what is mine without giving it any form of doubt. I can’t thank Wattle Tree House, Bathurst Women and Children’s Service and Maggie’s Legacy enough for changing my entire life through counselling, education and support, these guys are truly amazing people to have by your side and I am so grateful for that."

Survivor

"For 27 years I have experiences all types of paralysing domestic violence from multiple family members and relationships. The part I struggled with the most was that I was manipulated into believing that these behaviors were justified through ‘love’ and ‘trust’ and that I needed to allow these things in order to be loved and accepted. My feeling were constantly disregarded and my voice was silenced. I was completely degraded and invalid. I believed that I was the problem, I believed that I had serious mental issues as a result of continuously attempting to understand and verbalising my confusion within this traumatic world. It took an incident where I was completely humiliated in front of my 2 children by the people I ‘trusted’ the most. I left - ripped clothes, covered in blood, grazes and tears for me to realise that this was the end of my acceptance in what I finally identified as the DOMESTIC VIOLENCE cycle. This was the beginning of finding myself and breaking my constant state of confusion. I was trapped in their cycle which I had believed was all I would ever have, but this time I knew, I didn’t want it anymore. I was able to finally see the cycle for what it truly is, and for the first time in my life it is so very clear. It wasn’t until I met a lady from Maggie's Legacy – who I was referred to by support at Wattle Tree House, this is when I truly began to wrap my mind around the cycle which had absorbed and manipulated my thoughts. I was introduced to understanding the depth of the language my abusers had adapted. These abusers are able to pull you in with their manipulation of relationional language, where I was told I was loved and that my feelings were supported and then completely and violently retracted through their transactional behaviors and language, this is where they would use my expressed worries against me and I was made to believe I was the problem and that I deserved to be punished for my feelings and existence. I seriously believed that I needed these people and that I deserved this treatment. Never again. I was singled out because of my capabilities, my understanding, my empathy, my heart. These qualities were never a description of mental issues, they were qualities that could be easily manipulated and misused through their violence. I was the easy target they so desperately needed to continue their vicious cycle. I literally feel like I was living for someone else and never for myself. I was never the one to blame and I will no longer take responsibility for the pain that I have suffered. It is clear that these people will continue on their path and I am not the one to fix or help them. It is my responsibility to take control of what is mine, and that is myself and my children. During my progress in understanding relational and transactional languages, I was presented with a beautiful and positive moment, I was able to implement my own version of relational and transactional languages. My Son had noticed the change in my own thoughts and behaviors and approached me with something that has been troubling him. Here I was able to rationalise and share my understandings through supporting and counselling him within his own struggles, for the first time I truly seen and felt my purpose and capabilities, being able to adapt my newly identified languages for the most important purpose to me, for my Son. I feel free and pure. I am now confident and have fallen in love with myself for the very first time in my life. I finally know who I am and I am sure of it. I am so proud and I have no urge for any of their acknowledgement, approvals or acceptance. I never could have ever imagined that I would ever feel this way. I am finally here! I HAVE OPENED MY DOOR TO ME! I no longer question my feelings, judgement or decisions. I am no longer confused. I am not afraid of my future anymore. I am a warrior, a survivor, I am me."

Survivor

"On behalf of the Mallee District Aboriginal Services Family Violence Team I would like to thank you for the brilliant training that you provided us. The training has changed the way the Family Violence team work within the community. The team has used your training, website, cards, flyers to improve the services that we provide. This has been something that our clients have been very receptive of and is working so well within the community. Maggie’s Legacy has been the best training our team has completed in the Family Violence space and we really cannot thank you enough for that! Keep doing what you do Mary, Maggie’s Legacy is really making a difference! Again, a big thank you from our Family Violence Team."

Mallee District Aboriginal Services

"In the early part of 2019 our club was approached by one of our sponsors to see if we would be interested in participating in a domestic violence training workshop. Over the past 5 years Orange Hawks has had our female participant base rise from zero to 35% of players. With this statistic and the combination of a male 16-35 age bracket I thought it was definitely worth a try. Our players were asked on a volunteer basis if they would like to attend 2 sessions after work in the middle of winter outside of normal training times. I was honestly shocked and proud when we had 34 participants attend both nights. The training by Mary was first class. I have spent 26 years in the public service and had courses around similar topics that have failed to engage the participants. What shocked me most was the contribution of the players over the 2 nights and the positive reviews received. Not only did our players gain a massive understanding of the issues and solutions from the workshop, but our club received tremendous support from the local community. Since the workshop in June, I have continued to hear positive reports from parents, partners, employers etc. I can honestly say that my personal highlight for the year was the effort made by our club for this event. This was great for morale and bringing 4 teams together as a club. I thank Mary for providing us with this great opportunity. The presentation of the workshop was amazing and I wish her the best in the future."

Mark Johnston
Orange Hawks RLFC

"From here on out I will be in search for the right ingredients in a partner."

Frontline Worker

"The Clontarf Foundation exists to improve the education, discipline, life skills, self-esteem and employment prospects of young Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander men and in going so equips them to participate more meaningful in society. Ten Clontarf Foundation staff members recently had the opportunity to participate in a Maggie's Legacy workshop in Dubbo. The staff members relished the opportunity to gain further knowledge around domestic violence and the support mechanisms available to support the boys in their program who are exposed to domestic violence. I would like to express my sincere appreciation for facilitating the Maggie's Legacy workshop and tailoring the program to suit the environment our staff members are operating in. The feedback from staff was overwhelming positive and in many cases validated the practices occurring in their academics. I have no doubt the knowledge they received from the Maggie's Legacy workshop will strengthen the programs they deliver to their boys and reinvigorate the focus toward engaging in healthy relationships. I wish you all the best on your future endeavours and have no doubt you will continue to have a positive impact on society through the Maggie's Legacy workshops."

Dan Lewinski
Clontarf Foundation

"When I was asked if I could say a few words about Maggie’s Legacy and how I found it to be from an Aboriginal Men’s perspective I said yes try and stop me. Having been around the ugly face of DV all through my childhood. I often asked myself “why didn’t she just leave” hmmm I was Looking through a victim blaming lens. Maggie’s legacy empowered me to ask myself. “why did he hit”. Looking through a victim supporting lens. Maggie’s Legacy talks about moving towards a solution. Not living in a problem. Also for myself personally Maggie’s Legacy also brought to light my own behaviours while being in a relationship. With a willing spirit, Mary’s guidance and the knowledge of Maggie’s Legacy today I believe I have the tools to continue to be in a healthy relationship."

Orange Aboriginal Medical Service

"It was a bright sunny day; no it definitely was not bright nor Sunny. It hadn’t been bright nor sunny for a long time I was homeless I was physically and emotionally exhausted and I was living in my car and couch surfing at friends houses and then it happened I found the people that would change my world as I knew it and then that in turn would lead me to something that I didn’t ever believe was possible, Maggie's Legacy! And don’t forget to throw in a few amazing miracles to boot. How on earth did I get to this point in my life and then I realised that for as long as I can remember I always seemed to jump from the fat to the frypan when it came to picking the wrong man in my life. My first husband was very physically violent, so much so that whilst I was pregnant with my first born I nearly miscarried twice due to the physical abuse that my body suffered at his hands. I had no family support I found this out when I went home to inform my Mother what was happening to me and who at the time calmly told me “you have made your bed go home and lie in it” I did, until when my baby was a couple of weeks old and had been crying like all new babies do my then husband took to the baby physically and it suddenly dawned on me and I think Mother’s instinct came screeching in at a thousand miles an hour and said what the? It’s one thing coping physical abuse as an adult but what can a baby do to cop such abuse. It was my trigger and I left my then husband and I went to the Police and had him charged this was over thirty years ago and it did go to court however, the court magistrate decided that as we no longer lived together that he let him off with a warning! I felt undervalued and much unsupported. But hey this was a very different world to where we are now. Other ladies may relate to this and so here I was raising my child and hoping to meet someone who would be a good fatherly role model. So in rolls the second story of my life, the second husband was physical on some occasions but very heavily into mental/emotional abuse. It kind of creeps up on you and you don’t realise your being conditioned. You don’t even realise you’re not living your best life as you think that this is normal and even if you told anyone who was going to believe you anyway. A) How could you even admit to anyone that you had got yourself into this kind of situation again? B) He would play good cop around friends and family and little did you know he was discrediting you to lots of different people and even convincing a few that you were not right mentally and that you were the problem not him. A good friend of mine once tried to point it out to me but I still didn’t get it. I guess it’s true that love is blind and boy was I blinded. I was also ashamed that I had once again got myself into another seriously not so good marriage and for 27 years I led the world to believe that my life was perfect, it seemed to be easier to do this somehow but in the end it was wrong and I didn’t realise that there were people who would give me the support I so desperately needed and that 30 years on from my last mishap the world had become more aware and understanding of DV. Moving on, and funnily enough I was even seeing a therapist of sorts in the last three years of my marriage breaking down but not once did I really address how bad it really was, Yes shame is an awful friend to carry with you. It weighs you down and makes life wearisome. I now know now that I am not to blame! So back to the present I could go into a long spiel of what happened mentally and physically, however everyone’s journey is their own and everyone needs to make sure that the time is right for them to go, even when one day I found myself drying the car in the garage after sneaking out in the rain, so that he could not tell that I had been out it still did not dawn on me that no this is not a normal way to live. And when it was my time and I did know I had to get out and boy was I petrified, overwhelmed, broken and beaten I truly believed I had nothing left to offer the world and as it had been continually pounded into me by not just him but my family I would not survive and he said if it wasn’t for him as in the past it had been clearly shown my own birth family didn’t care so he was the only one who would take care of me. Yes, I had friends but they were busy with their families and once again how do you tell people? I truly was living a nightmare and at first I thought I could seek shelter and healing time at my childhood home as my mother had passed and I thought that my Dad might have been a bit more supportive. How did that go for you I hear you ask? Not good! So not long after leaving there for my own mental well being and some more emotional abuse I did find a place but it was sex for rent. But hey I was desperate I’d been abused by men all my life even by my family why wouldn’t I do it any differently I had been conditioned I realise all my life to accept abuse. Pretty raw but that’s how it was and when you believe that you’re not good enough you live like you’re not good enough. It wasn’t even a nice place to live so, imagine a house that should have been condemned 50 years ago. But hey, beggars can’t be chooses and you do what you have to do to get through. I lasted eight weeks and then went to the car it had to be safer and better then what I was doing. I would go and stay at free camping places and all my belongings were in a lock up storage facility and I had a solicitor that wanted payment up front so money was extremely tight, as I was continually handing over what little I had left after massive storage expenses and health issue bills, and as I said life was pretty tough, why doesn’t she leave they say. She doesn’t leave because you somehow fall between the cracks and what’s on the other side of that unknown is a hard cliff to face because that’s where you are, your standing on the precipice one foot out in front getting ready to jump the other holding you there by a thin but awful tether. I took the leap and reached out to a women’s refuge in the Central West. They rallied behind me and gave me the strength and contacts to move forward, find myself and realise I count! I’m not saying it’s easy but it is definitely doable. Like me you too can do this with the right supports and help and your own determination to make your life better and not be held back from achieving your happy ending. Maggie's Legacy made me realise that I am a relational person and I managed to attract a transactional person. I was amazed as I sat in my hotel room whilst waiting to source permanent accommodation and I was on a phone link up with a wonderful counsellor and the way they explained it just showed me how it all fell into place and how I got to where I was at that point in my life. I am normal and I am loved I am a good Mother and I did everything I could at the time to help and protect my family because that’s what relational people do. I sacrificed so much at the sake of my own health and well being and now I am over that cliff face and boldly walking where I have never walked before but for the first time in my life I feel safe and I am doing it on my own and above all I am healing. Yes, it’s a long walk and at times overwhelming but I will never forget what I have been through but with faith and the support of Maggie's Legacy and the other agencies that walked the walk with me I will forgive those that have done me wrong and move on and through with my much better life. That’s my faith talking you might not have any but I call it that as it is what keeps me together and where I pull my strengths from. Am I a success story? No, I am a survivor story; I want others to know that it is possible and with the right attitude and supports you too can do it! It’s not going to happen for you if you think negatively and you have to do it because you want to do it and it has to be the right time for you as well to take that cliff dive. Yes, you will hit rock bottom and some days you’ll want to give up but you will get through it and be a survivor like I am now and believe that your life is yours to take and treasure and I have broken the DV cycle and with the help from my supports and Maggie's Legacy I will learn the red flags and avoid them as best I know how. My new journey is just beginning and so can yours. I believe in me and now I pass the baton so that you can believe in you too. Don’t be afraid to reach out and ask for a helping hand up, there is so much more to living your best life.........It’s your journey just take that step and please don’t stay because you think it’s normal!"

Survivor

"Maggie's Legacy was an eye opening workshop. I didn't know there were so many different strategies to help unravel DV."

Frontline Worker

"Do the workshop, if you think you know DV - you don't."

Frontline Worker

"Mary conducted a raw, real workshop that really made dealing with DV from a professional and personal level to be able to provide myself with education around DV. Maggie's Legacy workshop provides context at a level where any worker can assist a DV client."

Frontline Worker

"Thanks for sharing your personal journey and life story Mary. Your vulnerability, passion, enthusiasm and delivery was very much appreciated and will help me in my professional life for many years."

Frontline Worker

"Mary was incredible and so real. Highly recommend this training and would encourage everyone to attend this particular program."

Frontline Worker

"Our service has been referring Clients to Mary for many years now and we have always received positive reviews about her work. We never knew what she did, but we would always get positive feedback from clients. Now we know it's Maggie's Legacy. This works with domestic violence victims in crisis situations."

DV NFP Agency

"I now understand the cycles of domestic violence, I thought I was going crazy. Now I know I'm not."

Survivor

"I now understand the cycles of domestic violence, I thought I was going crazy. Now I know I'm not."

Survivor

"If it wasn't for Maggies Legacy I'm sure I would be a statistic. I was heading that way."

Survivor

"I wish more people would understand domestic violence Maggie's Legacy training is a must."

Survivor

"This is so helpful. Finally, someone does understand DV and this helped a lot. I didn't feel so alone."

Survivor

"This is spot on. This helped me get through the tough times."

Survivor

"I can understand Maggie's Legacy and I can apply it to my job straight away. In review of some of my client successes, I realised I inadvertently applied Maggie's Legacy by default. Now I have a framework. This is a must training for all frontline workers."

Frontline worker

"This is the best DV workshop I've attended".

Frontline worker