‘It was as if something clicked and I had clarity. I wanted to add my voice to those already helping change the lives of women affected by domestic violence.’
Laura Jackel from The Sista Code chats to business coach and creative thinker Kellie Mills, about her plan to tell women’s stories of overcoming violence and finding hope with the 100 Alice Stories Project.
It was a normal night like any other for Novocastrian Kellie Mills. Her husband had called a taxi and they were about to head into the city for dinner with friends. But a quick flick through her Facebook feed changed Kellie’s path forever as she decided that she had seen and heard enough.
“It was an audio clip a friend had posted of an unknown six-year-old girl in the US who was bravely calling 911 to try and stop her ‘daddy beating mummy’.
It shook me to the core and for one horrifying moment I was transported back to life as a six year old, witnessing violence at home and living in fear for the welfare of my own mother.
“I knew that it was time to add my voice to the others who are collectively raising awareness on the issue of domestic violence and that was when my idea for the 100 Alice Stories Project was born.”
Aside from that lightening bolt moment, Kellie has been working to empower women from all walks of life, for many years.
“The domestic violence in my own family history set me on a path to wanting to better the lives of women across all groups of society. In 1999 I set up the Port Macquarie Business Women’s Network and I have been president of the Hunter Business Women’s Network.
“I have worked for government departments in outback New South Wales in communities such as Walgett and Lightening Ridge where women and children are struggling with domestic violence daily.
Over time I knew I wanted to do more but I haven’t been sure exactly what that was until April this year.”
With The 100 Alice Stories project, Kellie is encouraging 100 women to come forward anonymously to tell their stories of domestic violence and how they escaped and survived, in a bid to help other women still trapped in abusive relationships.
The website is already up and running and Kellie’s aim is to release a beautiful hard copy book that is a compilation of the stories as well as a source of inspirational quotes and practical advice for women.
“I want both the website and the book to help change the conversation around domestic violence and shine a light on what is already such a huge issue that one woman a week is dying at the hands of a violent partner.“
“I want to stop people from asking, ‘why doesn’t she just leave?’ to ‘why isn’t society taking more notice of her plight?’ and ‘what can we do to help?’
“The website is available for all women to access and be inspired from and includes our Alice’s personal stories of suffering, escape, hope and survival.
“The hard copy book will be beautiful and I would like to see it distributed around waiting rooms and doctors surgeries to allow women to leaf through it, reading the inspiring stories of others and feel inspired about changing their own lives. Even if we only help save one life.”
The statistics are staggering – around one in five Australian women have experienced violence at the hands of an intimate partner, whilst one in four children are exposed to domestic violence (ABS, 2013).
With the spotlight on domestic and family violence by 2015 Australian of the Year Rosie Batty, now is the time to inspire 100 Alice’s to share their story.
“Just by interviewing and talking to these brave women for their stories, it will not only help others, but hopefully help them with their own healing process and enable them to finally move on.”
To share your story in a safe way or just to find out more about the 100 Alice Stories Project go to www.100alicestories.com.au