Cathy Oddie is one of Australia's leading Anti Family Violence Advocates. She is a sought after expert on Financial Wellbeing for Women, Public Speaker and Consultant. She is a member of Victoria's Victims of Crime Consultative Committee and a Lived Experience Consultant to the Specialist Family Violence Courts Project for Victoria Legal Aid.
Cathy's work is taxing.
Like all advocates Cathy has had to build strong Self Care Foundations into her life. It means sometimes saying no to people. It means strong boundaries and it means embedding rest, recovery and play days into her life. Cathy shares with us a sneak peak into her Self Care practices:
“I am passionately committed to the healing, recovery and financial wellbeing of victim survivors of sexual assault and family violence. Although I have been involved in advocating in this space for the last 13 years, I recognise that my ability to have my voice heard at all is as a result of the activism of generations of freedom fighters who have come before me.
I am strongly influenced by the work of such warrior women as the Suffragettes, Zelda D’Aprano AO, Ruth Bader Ginsburg, Julia Gillard AC, Christine Craik, Julie Kun, my grandmother Marjory Oddie OAM and my step mum Kate Redwood AM.
My father Neville Oddie OAM has also been a strong guiding light in my life. With his commitment to reconciliation and conservation issues, he has taught me to think ethically and critically question the status quo and support the people whose needs are not being met in our society. His statement of “Leave a place better than you found it,” has become one of my mantras in life.
My journey into family violence advocacy has also been a journey into learning more about the history of feminism and other social justice movements. My upbringing, influences, and lived experiences of trauma and abuse have ensured that my commitment to serving my community and advocating for those who are vulnerable and in need of having their voices amplified is deeply embedded in my DNA.
However, being involved in the type of work I do can be exhausting and triggering, so that’s why I have found it really important to practice self care in a variety of ways.
Planting trees, gardening and going for long walks with my dog Xena the fluffy warrior help me to connect with the earth, feel grounded and also access the spiritual parts of my being.
Creative writing and taking photos of urban and rural landscapes allow me to take a mental and physical break from the trauma burden which is a continually overflowing cup in my life. I find particular joy in wandering the laneways of Melbourne and discovering new street art and attending music festivals and losing myself in the music and through dance.
I truly hope that by continuing to place an emphasis on my own healing and recovery journey, that I can help make the path a little bit easier for others still going through traumatic experiences.
I recognise that self care is a continuum and that at different points of our lives we need to place emphasis on a variety of strategies to nurture and replenish our wellbeing. Through sharing what I’ve learned, whilst at the same time advocating for systemic change, I hope I can be part of shaping a more caring world which supports people to move beyond the experiences which have caused them harm.”
Cathy Oddie will share her personal story of Self Care across the 7 core plinths of Self Care in WOW Self Care School. You can register to attend https://www.wowselfcareschool.com/wow-self-care-school