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Marie’s brave journey

Tuesday, 29th April, 2014

Sexual abuse survivor Marie Louise is flying around the country in a Van RV6 plane, to raise awareness and share her inspirational story. Sexual abuse survivor Marie Louise is flying around the country in a Van RV6 plane, to raise awareness and share her inspirational story.

By Erica Visser

Twenty five years ago Marie Louise sat beside her newborn son’s cot, wondering why she could not bring herself to pick him up.

Living at Lightning Ridge and at just 21-years-old, she had already gone through more than her share of tragedy.

Marie was molested between the ages of three and 10 by a neighbour and later raped by another man, when she was 16. 

She carried her grief around until she turned 40, after her 22-year long marriage had broken down and she was forced to confront her deeply embedded issues.

Now, four years on, she is travelling outback Australia in a small plane with the aim of raising awareness about horrifying abuse statistics, connecting with individuals and promoting the Bravehearts Inc. and White Ribbon organisations.

Bravehearts is a major Australian child protection advocate, whilst White Ribbon aimed to stop male violence against women.

Marie touched down in Broken Hill on Sunday and spent her time speaking with locals about what types of support might be needed here. 

“We find ourselves in an overwhelming state of shock, as to how common and hidden such abuse has been and still is,” Marie said.

“One in three suffer some form of abuse in a lifetime and one in five experience sexual abuse.”

By speaking openly and frankly about her own experiences with abuse, Marie hoped to help “stop the silence” and help shape public discourse on the topic.

As a teenager, Marie tried to tell her own parents that she had been molested, however they were in a state of shock and didn’t believe her.

It would be another 25 years before she discussed the topic with them again. 

“They were absolutely mortified,” she said.

“We came from an English background so it was very much, you put on your red lipstick and red jacket and go out the door. No one talks about these kinds of things.”

Marie has seven siblings and her sisters also suffered the same abuse.

But the author of self-help book “Discover Worlds Within”, insisted she was happier than ever after using mind and body techniques to heal herself.

“I am in this incredible liberating space, where I was once stripped of my self worth and living in a prison,” she said.

“When you’re abused there’s a lot of self blame, guilt and shame.

“I saw through my marriage, I did the same dance with my husband as I had done with my molester.”

But the relationship with her husband wasn’t the only one affected.

“It doesn’t just affect the immediate victim, it affected my relationship with my son and my relationship with my dad.”

Marie teaches trauma release techniques and has a webpage dedicated to the issue (www.worldswithinworlds.com.au).

She and flight companion, Bill, left for Cooper Pedy yesterday but Marie hopes to return to the city to hold workshops.

She left some parting advice to anyone who has been abused.

“Trust that you’re much larger than those experiences.

“They are only a moment in time. Start moving and speaking.”

You can follow Marie’s trip via her Facebook page “Worlds Within Worlds Marie Louise” or donate to Brave Hearts or White Ribbon online.

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