To Our Australian Survivors and Family

australia flag

Eight years ago, I witnessed the unique challenges and oppression that my friends and acquaintances in Australia faced as victims and survivors of domestic violence. Six months ago, we began drawing our map of how to expand internationally. In taking this step, we needed to decide where to start. As a sister country to the United States of America and home to many friends and loved ones, we became determined to expand our BTSADV family. We recognized a need to reach more survivor sisters, brothers, and angel families.

We knew that expanding our BTSADV family would be a daunting task without a passionate and connected individual to lead our physical presence in Australia. Our vision became a reality when Karen Saunders, a Survivor Sister and current BTSADV volunteer, joined our family and became the Community Manager of our Survivor Sisters Australia online support group. Therefore, officially making Australia our first international chapter.

In this past week, we watched as Facebook battled with the Australian government and blocked Australian citizens from accessing news and support organization pages, silencing and re-victimizing survivors and victims in need. Facebook is a valuable resource for many because its online community serves as an easily accessible option to find help and support for domestic violence. 

In blocking these resources, Facebook cut a lifeline to Australians’ limited resources, highlighting the urgent need to develop more robust public policies and resources to reduce the large-scale impact of domestic violence. Despite temporarily pausing this ongoing tug of war, we know the battle is far from over and could happen again, leaving many in the same position they faced. 

We know the battle victims and survivors face in Australia goes beyond social media. We are expanding our efforts to provide our programs and resources to our growing family in Australia. We will work to bridge the existing gaps in services for Australian domestic violence survivors and angel families.

We’re bringing together our BTSADV Australia family to help establish better avenues of advocacy and support. We recognize your needs and hear you. You are not alone in this fight. 

Australia, it’s time to Break Your Silence.

Your Survivor Sister,

Heidi Lynne

Executive Director BTSADV

To Our Amazing BTSADV Family

btsadv family 2021 message

BTSADV family, I know that 2020 has been difficult for many of us. Everyone has faced new challenges, experienced loss, and been thrown into new territory we didn’t know how to navigate. However, through that loss, many of us found ourselves and discovered new facets of our identities and skills. We were enabled to persevere through each barrier we were presented with. As survivors, 2020 was one more thing we had to overcome, but we have rebuilt ourselves through adversity and found new strengths and parts of ourselves we didn’t know were there before. This last year, I witnessed our sisters and brothers come together to help each other in our communities in ways I’ve never seen before. It has been an overwhelming experience for me, and it has inspired and pushed me to help facilitate moving BTSADV in a new direction.

The Light at the End of the Tunnel

Most of us are familiar with the phrase “There’s a light at the end of the tunnel,” but there are so many people lost in the dark tunnel trying to find that light everyone says is there. We want to be that light to guide you. There are so many of us, thousands of us, waiting for you to join us. We will be the voice to those who have yet to find their own. We will be your rock, the shoulder you lean on.

As we head into a new year, the time has come for us not just to survive but to take a step further from surviving to thriving. Throughout 2020, we often asked ourselves, “what’s next?” That is the same question many of us wondered when we became a survivor. Not this year. In 2021, we will rediscover ourselves, our passions, and everything we are meant to be in our life.

An Exciting 2021

As we enter 2021, I am encouraged and excited about all the new things we’re bringing to BTSADV. Our mission is to always provide resources and support to our communities and the families affected by domestic violence. We will continue to break our silence and share our truths, but now we will be doing this worldwide. We will now empower people we previously could not reach to break their silence. This amazing step in expanding our reach is only possible because of you, our BTSADV family. You are why this is possible, every member who encapsulates our mission, breaking their silence, sharing our voice, raising their flag, and screaming I am BTSADV. It’s only because of you and our connection that we are making this exciting step and establishing our global community and survivor hood. 

My Pledge to You

I make this pledge to each of you; BTSADV will always be here to support you, stand by you, and love you even when you aren’t sure you love yourself. Every decision we make this year and moving forward will be for the sole purpose of standing with you, our family. We are your home you can come to for support and love when you can’t find it elsewhere. 

We will be the voice that says to our sisters and brothers that you are worthy. You are beautiful. You are loved.

I ask this of you, my BTSADV family, will you join me in 2021 to become the light for someone who can’t see past the darkness of the tunnel yet; Will you lend them your voice and help them to find their own? Join me and so many others in moving from surviving to thriving and rediscovering who we are together. 

With all my love,

Heidi Lynne

Executive Director

Break The Silence Against Domestic Violence