Sabeena's Story

Part of a series of 16 stories featuring women we have accompanied through the Finding Safety Project, shared for the 16 Days of Activism.

Sabeena* defied social norms in her home country to pursue her dreams of studying medicine. After several years practising as a doctor in her home country, Sabeena married an Australian citizen and moved to Australia.

Sabeena hoped this would be a new beginning for her, and that she would no longer be subject to discrimination.

Shortly after however, Sabeena found herself in a relationship of coercive control, experiencing sexual and gender-based violence (SGBV) that culminated in threats to her life.

Sabeena reported her husband to the police, despite the implications this could have for her visa status, and despite his threats.

Sabeena has shown incredible resilience and strength.

As is the case for many survivors of SGBV: violence has had a lasting impact. Sabeena has severe depression and anxiety, and struggles with her self-worth.

When Sabeena was introduced to the JRS Australia Finding Safety Project, she needed someone in her corner, to remind her of her value and share hope for her bright future. 

Sabeena received counselling support from a specialist SGBV caseworker, who worked alongside her to create a plan to move forward.

From a place of safety and understanding, Sabeena was then able to connect with Legal Aid to address her immigration questions, access job training through the JRS Australia Employment Program, and invest in herself through community engagement at the Women’s Space.

With the dedicated support of the Finding Safety Project, Sabeena has embarked on a journey of healing and personal growth. Sabeena has gradually reclaimed her self-belief, discovered newfound hope and determination, and envisions a future where she can continue her medical career in Australia.

Sabeena expressed deep gratitude to her caseworker, and promised herself that she would always remember to focus on the present, and strive for a better future.

*name changed to protect story-teller’s identity

16 Days of Activism

JRS Australia is participating in the call to action presented by the 16 Days of Activism to End Violence Against Women and Girls. This story has been shared as part of our “16 Days, 16 Stories” Campaign for 2023, focusing on the work we do through our Finding Safety Project to support women on temporary visas who have experienced or are at risk of sexual or gender-based violence. 

We sincerely hope that reading these stories, and learning more about the important work our Finding Safety Project does in the absence of any other coordinated or government support, will inspire you to invest in us, invest in the women we serve, and invest in a future where women and girls are free from all forms of violence.

Visit our 16 Days, 16 Stories campaign page to learn more.