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Introducing Nicole Paterson!

Your support for RAV and commitment to bringing family violence into the light continues to inspire us, every day. We thought you might like to know more about the people behind the RAV name, so we’re kicking off a new series of articles for you, each highlighting a different Committee member.

Without further ado, meet Nicole Paterson, our Committee Secretary! Nicole lives in Cowra, NSW, on a 4,000-acre farm (livestock, cropping and horticulture) with her gorgeous hubby and beautiful baby girl. We recently managed to tear her away from her busy day to ask her a few questions. Here’s what she had to say.


What do you love, love, LOVE to do?

That’s easy! I love getting lost in a great story. I’ve just finished a book by an Orange local and good friend of mine, Kelly Rimmer. It's called The Things We Cannot Say. It's a great read!


What’s your favourite mantra?

I’ve got two. The first is ‘always practice self-care’, because you often see so many people give until they can’t give anymore. The other is ‘make a positive contribution to someone’s life every day’. It doesn’t have to be a big gesture. It can be something as simple as smiling and saying hello to someone down the street, or listening, or making your partner a cuppa as they walk in the door.


Who are your heroes?

My heroes are day to day people. It’s the single parents and other people just doing the best they can with the hand they’re dealt.


What song do you want to add to RAV’s Pump It Up playlist?

You’ll think I’m a bit of a dag but it’s got to be ‘Are You Gonna Go My Way’ by Lenny Kravitz.


Got any health tips?

As a mum of a very busy nine-month-old, I always try to have healthy options on hand to grab out of the fridge: veggies, hummus, muesli on a yoghurt pot, anything that doesn’t make me reach for the chocolates or chips. I always eat breakfast too, even if it’s just a freshly blitzed smoothie.


If you could have dinner with three other people, alive or dead, who would they be?

The Dalai Lama, Jacinda Ardern and, because I love ancient history, Nefertiti.


Cats or dogs?

Dogs. I’ve got three! Ruby, who’s a moodle [Maltese crossed with a poodle], Oscar the rescue terrier, and Leo. Leo’s a Portuguese water dog who we adopted. He’s a big boofhead. He likes to go out to work on the farm but I don’t know how much work he actually does!


Where’s your happy place?

The beach, which I know might sound strange, given I live so far away from it.


What sort of exercise do you like to do?

I love a stroll around Lake Canobolas, and I love yoga. Before I had my baby, I also liked lifting weights. I once did a leg press of over 300 kilos! My post-baby running dream is to run the Parkrun instead of just walking it. I know that might make some of our supporters laugh, especially when they’re knocking out 100 kilometres in their spare time, but you have to start somewhere?!


Have you experienced family violence first-hand?

Yes, I was in an emotionally and physically abusive relationship but, at the time, I didn’t know much about the mechanics of family violence, for example, how the court system works, how domestic violence is defined, etc. It was only after I reported it that I started learning more about it. I didn’t realise how serious my case was until it was pointed out by the police. I suppose I’d just become so used to it that it became my new normal. There’s a lot of information lacking in the community. We should talk about it to make it less taboo. The more we talk, the less people will be ashamed, and they’ll seek help.


As a survivor, what have you learnt about yourself?

I guess I’ve learnt that I’m really strong, by which I mean I’m resilient but can maintain vulnerability. I closed off for a time and now I’ve learnt to open up again. It was a very raw and fearful process and I’m so glad I’m on the other side of it now. In life, you have ups and downs. It’s important to seek out what the lesson is in all our experiences. I love watching others emerge from extreme hardship to find strength they never knew they had.


What do you think is the most important thing to do when someone tells you they’re experiencing domestic violence?

The most important thing is to acknowledge that you believe them and to assure them that there is help out there. You just have to reach for it when you’re ready. It's hard when everyone keeps telling you to leave but that’s often the most dangerous time for anyone who’s the target of family violence. People should plan it carefully.


Stay tuned for more articles on RAV’s other Committee members! And if you’ve got any questions, or there are other stories you’d like us to cover as well, let us know.

Cheryl Fitzell