Mother's amazing triumph and survival from domestic violence
GLADSTONE mother Lauren Salisbury is a woman who loves to laugh but a decade ago she had very little to smile about.
The 38-year-old found herself with her two children in Gladstone with a bag of clothes and just $10 in her wallet after fleeing Sydney from a violent relationship.
Now she is throwing a party to celebrate 10 years of freedom and to show other women that it is possible to start a new life too.
"It was the hardest thing I ever had to do," Ms Salisbury said. "But I had to do it."
Now studying counselling, the mother-of-two said her tough decision to escape saved her life and gave her children a better life.
With the help of DV Connect and the Coordinated Community Response to Domestic and Family Violence group Ms Salisbury has been able to regain her confidence.
"It has been a decade long journey but we are safe and we are a normal, happy family now," she said.
The CCRDFV group and all of Ms Salisbury's family and friends have been invited to help her celebrate the milestone.
"I want to show people in that situation that no matter how hard it is, to leave a DV relationship, it can be done and that people can make a new life," Ms Salisbury said.
"I didn't tell my family when I left, I was even on the missing persons list for a little while.
"I left everything behind, my whole life was in the rear view mirror.
"Saying goodbye to my family photos and heirlooms was the hardest part but they are just materials."
The Gladstone mum is in the middle of writing a book titled The Strength Within to share her story to the world.
"I woke up on January 1 this year and I realised how life had changed from what is was and what it could have been," Ms Salisbury said.
"I was [young] when it all happened and I didn't even know what the term domestic violence meant but something told me to get out of there.
"And I did."
If you, or someone you know, is affected by domestic violence, please contact DV Connect on 1800 811 811.