Two days after her emotional speech in Parliament, Federal Member for Lindsay, Emma Husar, held an afternoon tea to mark White Ribbon Day.
On Wednesday afternoon Ms Husar stood and told her emotionally-charged story of her years of experience with domestic violence.
Today, Ms Husar stood in front of a crowd of 30 people made up of local business men and women, councillors, and police officers at her Penrith office to mark the start of 16 days to take action with White Ribbon Australia and to thank everyone for their support.
Ms Husar, who was elected into Parliament less than six months ago, told the Weekender she is overwhelmed by the support from everyone.
“I’m incredibly grateful and had absolutely no idea that it would take off like this; it has taken me by complete surprise,” Ms Husar said.
“I’ve got many people disclosing things about their own lives to me now which you know is pretty difficult to take in and for them to talk about.”
Not sure she could go through it, Ms Husar said she felt incredibly sick just before she gave her speech at about 3pm on Wednesday afternoon.
“My colleagues said when I was going to do it that I was going to change lives and I thought “like seriously who listens to parliament?”,” she said.
“There’s also been a lot of media interest but I was very happy with where I put it and left it – it’s a very emotional subject to talk about.
“I think I exemplified that by having a big ugly cry on national television which obviously there is nothing wrong with it but it’s very foreign for me to be so emotional.”
Not knowing when or how she would tell her story, Ms Husar decided at 1pm on Wednesday that it was time.
“I always knew that I would tell my story but I didn’t know I was going to do it that way and at that time,” Ms Husar said.
“My story has gone worldwide and there are people in countries, in this community and in Australia that are disclosing their stories to me.”
“If you can [tell your story] you should do it, right?”
Ms Husar told the Weekender she wants to use her place as a Federal Member to take a stand against violence against women and argue for more funding and better training for courts to deal with domestic violence.
“One of the best things I can do as a parliamentarian is to use my experience as a mother of a child with autism, as a single mum, as someone who has been through domestic violence and share my story,” Ms Husar said.
“There’s a way my experience can impact future policies and the way this country is run and I’m really proud to make that contribution; I’m completely blown away [by the response].
“I think what it has done, the unintended consequence, has been very, very positive.”
Ms Husar said her was mum was “very proud” and her dad was “ok” about her decision to tell the story.
She is still on speaking terms with her father
“I think it’s one of the most important things to focus on,” she said.
“I think just because this thing happens at one point in your life it doesn’t mean people can’t rehabilitate.
“It’s acknowledged rightly in my family to have a redo and have positive relationships – if what we know now we knew then, things would be different.”
Head to our Facebook page to see Ms Husar in Parliament on Wednesday.