By KATHRYN BERMINGHAM
FOR years, Cheryl Gillespie lived with a secret.
The former Pakenham mum spent years in a damaging relationship, covering up the violence of her ex-husband.
Now, she’s encouraging other women in her situation to speak up and seek help through a song she’s written.
‘The Secret’ tells the story of Cheryl’s journey, from hiding her bruises and making excuses to finding the courage to leave.
Now in a happy and healthy relationship, Cheryl wrote the song to reach out to others in her situation.
“Domestic violence is an epidemic. There’s not a week that goes past you don’t hear about another incident,” she said.
“I chose to write this song because we all need to do as much as we possibly can.
“I want to reach out to everyone else who’s been involved in a journey like this.”
She also feels a responsibility to tell her story for the sake of her teenage daughter.
“I have to set an example for my daughter, to show her that allowing someone to treat you like this isn’t acceptable,” she said.
“How would I feel if she got herself into a situation like that?”
Forgiving but never forgetting, she is happy with the example she’s setting.
“I’m seeing this amazing guy and things are so different. Every day she sees how a woman should be treated.”
Cheryl’s song was recorded and posted to Youtube last week, and has since had over 3500 views through Cheryl’s Facebook page. The song is sung by her daughter’s singing teacher, Susie Ahern.
The video features people holding signs asking viewers whether they would accept this behaviour for their mothers, sisters, girlfriends or loved ones.
Cheryl’s song may be viewed at www.youtube.com/watch?v=Uz_H9GiP_Q&feature=share.
It is listed as ‘The Secret’ (Would you treat a loved one like this?)