At first when I received the email from the organisers of the Tara Costigan Foundation to fly to Canberra to speak at their summit I can honestly say I was absolutely stunned. I was in shock for many reasons, the main one was because they believed in me. I was truly honoured to have been asked to speak at their National Family Violence Summit. I didn’t have to think twice, I already said YES in my head before even getting to the bottom of the email. When else would I get the opportunity to travel over to the other side of the world?
I kindly accepted their offer to give a key note speech and very quickly I became friends with the organisation. I say friends because that what it is, a friendship grey pretty quickly. You see we all have the same vision….. To end Domestic Violence, and so it was pretty natural.
The weeks flew by and before I knew it I was counting down the days. It came around SO quickly. Sadly I couldn’t bring the kids (this time) but thinking about it now I am happy because I got to truly bond and connect with so many amazing people over the last few days.
When I found out the destination was Canberra my heart sank….. it sank because my Uncle, Aunty and beautiful baby cousin live in Canberra, which meant I would bee seeing them. I hadn’t seen them in over 6 years so this trip was super special to me.
Yesterday and today the summit began in the QT Hotel, a beautiful boutique hotel n the centre of Canberra, My uncle collected me from the airport with my cousin who I was meeting for the first time (I had tears in my eyes and butterflies in my belly) We went to his beautiful home which I am so in love with, he owns a fabulous B&B with a huge swimming pool. https://www.booking.com/searchresults.en-gb.html?aid=318615;label=English_Australia_EN_AU_29562089425-HqJGQ8uhHchyhZRyz9SYhQS113417631505%3Apl%3Ata%3Ap1%3Ap2%3Aac%3Aap1t1%3Aneg%3Afi4488412668%3Atidsa-219515447785%3Alp1000142%3Ali%3Adec%3Adm;sid=abde26c2140281c59808fd5e9ff4ed26;dest_id=-1563952;dest_type=city;highlighted_hotels=1700631;hlrd=6;keep_landing=1;redirected=1;source=hotel&gclid=CO3m7cqytdICFZd6vQodP3sFJA&
I arrived on Sunday morning after 28 hours travelling solo…… I was kinda tired (ha ha ) We arrived at my uncle Pete’s and he had organised a massive pool party & BBQ fro my other cousin Suzi’s birthday, Suzi came over from Perth, which meant we were all together again 🙂 🙂 AMAZING
Sunday was a great day and night, so good actually we kept the party going till 9am LOL I do not know how I was still standing…..
So as you can imagine I caught up on my sleep on Monday which was well and truly needed……… You can take the girl out of Dublin in but you can’t take Dublin out of the girl……
We chilled on Monday event which was nice, after all we had 6 years of catching up to do…… I prepared for the next day fro the Summit where I was on a Panel Discussion.
Tuesday arrived and I am not going to lie I had butterflied and was slightly Nervous, but as soon as I walked in that room this nerve left me as I was greeted by the beautiful people of the Tara Costigan Foundation…… After months of Facebook messages, emails, Skype calls it was so lovely to meet everyone in person.
Tuesday was a very intense day at the summit, we heard a lot of extremely powerful stories, opinions, plans to make a change here in Australia.
In Austrailia one women per week is murdered from Domestic Violence at the hands of their partner……. One women per week?????
This was the second year of the National Family Violence Summit and I can hand on my heart say I am privileged to have been a part of it
I spent the day listening, taking notes and networking with people. Tuesday gave me a great feel for the place, I felt relaxed as I sat at the front listening to these inspirational speakers sharing their story.
As day 1 came to an end we were all pretty mentally drained but at the same time excited, excited by all the motivation that
filled our bodies. Motivation for change…..change in the system, change in attitudes and change in our cultures.
It was time to get the dress and heels on to party the night away at the ballroom that evening for a champagne reception and 3 course meal….. I mean how amazing is this???? No kids, free time, great food and great company??????? I found myself looking around thinking WOW is this happening??? am I really in Australia with these people???? am I one of them??? am I as good as them????
Day 2 arrived and I woke up with more butterflies in my tummy….. Today was the day, the day I was delivering my key note speech for the National Family Violence Summit. My nerves were flying through my body, I flew across the world to be at this astonishing event, fear kicked in and I began to put a lot of pressure on myself, pressure that made me feel a little sick in my tummy, I was pretty scared I’m not going to deny that…. These people believed in me, they saw my vision, they had hope in me…. They were all excited to hear my speech…. Which made me more nervous… I guess I was nervous because I was surrounded with so many powerful and influential people. But I believe nerves are good.
The time came and I delivered my speech, I hope I delivered it well, I received great feedback and nobody fell asleep so thats a positive I guess?… As soon as I started speaking the nerves went… I was in an open safe free space, a space to share my story with people who all have the same mission and vision for the future…. The end family Violence.
Im lying in bed reflecting on my last two days at the summit and I’m trying to sum it up in just a few words….
Inspired, dedicated and Hopeful….. I am feeling all of these three things right now, I am so inspired by so many of the unbelievably brave people I have met over the last two days.
I am more dedicated to Family Violence now than I ever have been, Im dedicated and determined to make changes not just in Ireland, not just in Australia but around the world.
Hopeful – Im feeling hopeful because today we had so many powerful conversations about DV, family violence, funding, government, legislation etc…. and one thing we all agreed on is this… We cannot rely on government funding , we cannot continue to blame this for stopping us from perusing certain projects….. we realised that no matter what the governments do (DONT DO) we need to stand together to make a change with or without funding….. we need to be one – unite and work together to make change. I am very hopeful now after spending 2 days with these incredible people, people not afraid to speak up, not afraid to piss people off…….
I am so drained right now from my brain and my mind buzzing from the hadrelinan over the last 2 days.
The media coverage over the last 2 days has been insane, and tomorrow I will be on ABC radio with the amazing Nadia Pessarossi
We need to continue the conversation and keep this conversation going…. #togetherwearestrong
If anyone would like more information on the Tara Costigan Foundation please just check out the link below.
My dresses are from the beautiful Julian Boutique in cooks town – https://www.facebook.com/Julian-Boutique-Cookstown-1561634694151621/?hc_ref=SEARCH