‘I became his slave’: DV horror channelled into positive change
A former Miss Diamond finalist has opened up about the domestic violence ordeal that left her wanting to end her life, in the hope her experience can now help others.
She will host an event tonight to raise money for Gold Coast domestic violence refuge The Sanctuary, which is forced to turn away 15 to 20 women daily due to high demand.
"I once had a relationship that's now labelled as 'coercive control', but back then I just thought it was a toxic relationship," Ms Simmons said.
"I became his slave, ego prop and emotional punching bag."
Ms Simmons said she was financially controlled, put down and manipulated, leading to her falling into a deep depression.
"One day I had enough and I confided in him on how I wanted to end my life. He patted me on the back and said "I guess that's your journey," and that's when I knew it was time to leave."
And she did, the happily married mother of four is happy, confident and loving life on the other side.
"I want to show women in similar situations I was, that there is a beautiful bright rainbow on the other side," she said.
"This is what the Sanctuary does, this is why I'm so passionate about raising funds for women who feel they can move forward."
The Sanctuary on the southern Gold Coast was founded five years ago and in its time saved hundreds of women, children and pets from dangerous situations.
The refuge relies solely on community funding and runs, yoga and cooking classes, legal advice and has an abundance of animals.
The founder of the refuge, Simone Patterson, said all these things help take "their mind off
the horrible terrors that they've come from."
"We sometimes get the worst of the worst," Ms Patterson said.
"I still turn away 15 to 20 woman a day on phone calls, texts, Facebook messages and emails and I'm a nothing and a nobody in the DV world, not many people know about me."
NATIONAL DOMESTIC VIOLENCE CRISIS SERVICES
She said last year's lockdown period was the worst they ever had.
"The amount of calls I'd get like "OK yep I can go, yep I'll bring my dog and bring my bird, oh I've got to go he's coming" bang and the phone would just go dead."
"Those ones rock you because you just think are they going to be on the news tonight, or were you one of those who got killed last night and did you get out."
Ms Patterson hopes donations can help her expand the refuge and eventually one day also create a refuge for men.
A step to reach this goal is A Night for the Sanctuary run by Future Females on Friday, March 19 at the Audi Centre on the Gold Coast with ticket and raffle proceeds going to the refuge.
Originally published as 'I became his slave': DV horror channelled into positive change