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Then and now - what a difference 15 years make.

Then and Now- What a difference.

The first photo was me in the early stages of my 15 year DV marriage. The second is me now. The first my whole life was being controlled what I ate, wore, what I said and how I felt, I was chained up emotionally, physically and spiritually. I hated my life and who I had become. The second, I live in freedom and love my life. I was so tiny in the first photo, I’m not sure what weight I was but I know I was terribly underweight and unhealthy. But my emotional state was worse. I livd in fear, my nerves were in fight or flight constantly. My heart was breaking a little more everyday and I was becoming more and more dysfunctional, disconnected, isolated and reliant on alcohol and cigarettes to get me through the day. (in secret, of course) I put on a brave, smiling face as I left the house so no one knew what was going on behind closed doors. About 11 years after that photo was taken the fear of the unknown became less to the fear of staying with him. And I found that even though I had felt that I was trapped in the DV prison I just needed to get the strength to push that heavy prison door open and get out. It was scary and daunting but I did it. He continued to try and manipulate and control and used the kids against me on many occasions. (Which eventually was his downfall where he ended up in prison for abusing them) But I couldn’t go back. I felt like I would die if I did (either by his hands or mine). I found a lovely man who helped me find myself, he loved me unconditionally and he became my biggest fan and married me. Now I am strong, an advocate for women and children, international author, I run a charity, I’m an international speaker. I help women and protect children every day. I will allow my past to be the force behind me to push me forward to make my future better. It won’t define me but it propel me to make a positive impact on the world around me. Am I completely healed? I have my days where I think I’m not healed at all and want to curl up somewhere. There is always more healing and more work to be done But I’m better than I’ve ever been. For me my faith has been the biggest part of my healing along with Simon who has just been there, listening, loving, supporting me along the way. The difference between now and then always surprises me, Back then I would look at women like who I am now and feel intimidated, jealous and inadequate. I felt not good enough to be worth fighting for... now I look at women who were like how I was and hope I don’t make them feel that way. I hope I give them inspiration that they too can live in freedom to be who they are supposed to be. I look this different now, I wonder how different I will be in another 10 years.

You can buy a copy of my book Broken To Be Beautiful on

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Xenia Schembri
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