HEALING: Hinemana Johnson says dancing makes her smile, despite the trauma she suffered as a victim of domestic violence.
HEALING: Hinemana Johnson says dancing makes her smile, despite the trauma she suffered as a victim of domestic violence. DONNA JONES

'You're made to feel embarrassed and ashamed' - DV victim

FROM age 2 until 17 Hinemana Johnson lived her life in fear.

"I lived with a lifetime of domestic violence and daily verbal abuse,” she confided.

The one place where we all are supposed to feel safe, secure and loved was the one place she desperately longed to escape from for 15 years.

"There was always such tension - such concern for one's safety as children. We were witness to violence against our mother and then against ourselves.

"I was the only girl raised with six brothers who were brutalised also and through this experience one feels ashamed, belittled and unimportant.

You have no idea who you are, living in fear from the time you wake to the time you go to sleep,” Mrs Johnson said.

And despite the trauma she suffered in her early life, she has found a way to reclaim her power.

"You're made to feel embarrassed and ashamed. This empowers me and empowers many people through out the world to rise against this serious issue,” she said.

"I've risen. I dance and through that I feel much stronger and worthy of being who it is I'm meant to be,” she said.

She is talking about One Billion Rising.

One Billion Rising is a mass action to end violence against women.

The campaign, launched on Valentine's Day 2012, began as a call to action based on the staggering UN statistic that one in three women on the planet will be beaten or raped during her lifetime.

With the world population at 7 billion, this adds up to more than one billion women and girls.

Through the event people across the world came together to express their outrage, strike, dance, and rise in defiance of the injustices women suffer, demanding an end to violence against women.

Mrs Johnson was integral to setting up the One Billion Rising event in Noosa six years ago and every year since and is keen to do the samein Gympie

"I'm looking for people to be on the committee. I'm looking for people to teach the One Billion Rising Dance. I want this on the map.

"I want to raise awareness and to get everyone involved, men and children too,” she said.

The dance is important to her with dance and music a big part of Polynesian culture and part of her own heritage.

If you would like to be involved in the event, which will take place on Valentine's Day next year, contact Laurel Place Gympie on 54827911 who will put you in touch with Hinemana.

"I love this town and it's people and I love the friendliness of everyone here - so welcoming. It gives me so much joy to be able to help those that reach out for help,” she said.