Tears were shed, and emotions ran high, as local school teacher Brenda Petersen launched her powerful memoir, Saving Arabella, this morning at Picton Town Hall.

The book chronicles her journey as a domestic violence survivor and her mission to protect her daughter and regain her freedom.

Ms Petersen spoke with raw honesty about the fear, pain, and isolation she experienced during her ordeal, as well as the incredible strength and resilience it took to break free.

“I never gave up, because I wanted to save Arabella, and the rest is history, but if you ask me a question, how did I survive, it’s my insurmountable faith in God,” she said.

For young Arabella, publishing the book “really shows how amazing and what a superwoman” her mum is!

“You are so beautiful and so strong mum. And everything that you went through inspires me so much. And when I grow up, if I grow up to be as half of a woman as you, I will be so happy,” Arabella said, hugging her mum.

Wollondilly Councillor Suzy Brandstater recalled how on first hearing Brenda’s story at a Women’s Day event, she felt inspired to do more for victims of domestic violence.

“To stand up and to fight, and then to tell your story, and to tell about mistakes you made and the weaknesses that you originally had, and how you overcame it, it was absolutely inspiring,” Ms Brandstater said.

“And from Brenda’s talk, I actually was able to get a program called DV Safe Phone brought into Wollondilly Council.”

Old phones donated by the community are given out as “secret phones” to those who need them. “They even give you some credit on them. And in that emergency situation when the door has been kicked in and you need to ring Triple O but your phone’s already been taken off you so you can’t do it, you could turn to that secret phone,” Ms Brandstater said.

“Every one of those phones can save a woman’s life. And so Brenda is actually responsible for saving so many women’s lives already, and this book is going to save so many more.”

The book launch was a testament to the power of storytelling and the importance of raising awareness about domestic violence. For Saving Arabella is more than just a book; it is a call to action. Brenda’s courage in sharing her story is a beacon of hope for survivors everywhere, reminding them that there is always a way out and that they are never alone.

(The book is available on Kindle and Amazon, Walmart and Ebay for those who are outside Australia.)

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