lifestyle

Step up, for the sisterhood!

Last year over 48,000 Australian children were proven to have been abused or neglected. Young girls in particular are especially vulnerable, and are two to three times more likely to be abused than boys.

One girl who can relate to this shocking statistic, is Lindsay. After suffering from a young age at the death of her much loved grandmother, and seeing her parent’s marriage fall apart, Lindsay’s life seemed to go in a down-ward spiral.

Living with her Dad, Lindsay missed out on having an older-woman figure in her life.

‘Growing up without a mother around, I grew up more quicker  than most and had no choice but to become very independent at an early age. I was often the one looking after my younger sister when dad went out. I thought I knew everything.’

Things didn’t improve, Lindsay felt isolated and out of control, and being bullied by the older girls at her school didn’t help the situation.

‘I became negative and rebelled. I had no self-control and didn’t care about anything, I suffered in silence. I’d lost my self-belief. No one understood me,’ explains Lindsay.

Luckily, Lindsay has a brighter ending to her story. After hearing about SISTER2Sister, Lindsay’s life soon saw a turn for the better. After meeting Kathy, Lindsay’s Big Sister, Lindsay’s was encouraged in the right direction. Lindsay enrolled in Bradfield Senior College, where she felt more comfortable and able to be herself. She also developed her relationship with her mother.

Kathy and Lindsay.

‘It opened my eyes. I became close with my mum; finally receiving that mother daughter time I’d always desired. The college made me closer with my mum because it gave her a deep insight of what type of person I am, what I want to do and how hard I’m willing to work to achieve success. I’m being a role model for my sister. My life was mending itself and things only got better when I started college.’

Step Up for SISTERHOOD Week will take place from Monday November 17 until Friday November 21. A whole week dedicated to raising money for those in need, just like Lindsay,  by encouraging men and women across the country to exchange their casual shoes for their favourite statement ‘step-up’ shoes.

ADVERTISEMENT

Lindsay’s Big Sister, Kathy, explains how she helps to make a difference:

‘I had a rather challenging time as a teen myself.  I had migrated to Australia from Europe at 10 years of age and as a young teen was desperate to fit in and become an ‘Aussie’.   My parents objectives however were totally opposite and they were just as desperate to keep me cocooned and protected by a traditional upbringing.  I rebelled against their very strict parenting style and was desperate to gain independence. The choices I made at the time proved to provide anything but what I was after.  I married and had a child while still in my teens and although I gained solid employment from the outset and have forged a successful banking career since, it has not been an easy journey.

‘It occurred to me that the experiences I’ve had along the way may benefit other girls in similar situations so I looked into the program and attended an information evening, which I must confess was rather daunting and I wasn’t at all confident that I did in fact have the skills needed to deal with the challenges that may be thrown at me by the Little Sisters.  I realised that their experiences are typically far more dramatic than mine ever were.  But the wonderful support team at SISTER2Sister gave me the confidence to proceed.’

Kathy and Lindsay remain in contact, even after Lindsay graduated from SISTER2Sister.

‘Self-belief is something everyone needs. Without it, you can lose yourself. For all those girls out there who feel lost or down about themselves or feel like they’ll amount to nothing; self-belief,’ explains a much happier, successful Lindsay.

Workplaces are invited to help other vulnerable teenage girls like Lindsay by registering online at www.stepupforsisterhood.org.au.  Participants are encouraged to post photos on social media using the hastag #stepup to show how they are “stepping up” to stamp out abuse in the community.

00:00 / ???