Louise McOrmond-Plummer, author and expert on Intimate Partner Sexual Violence
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Louise's Bio
  • Residence: Albury, NSW Australia
  • Academic qualifications: Associate Diploma in Welfare Studies (La Trobe University, Victoria, 1996)
  • Current Affiliations:
  • Experience:
    • More than 20 years' thorough study of and writing on intimate partner sexual violence culminating in two books and a thrd to come in 2016
    • 23 years' experience supporting survivors of rape and domestic violence
    • Domestic violence court supporter
    • Counselling abused women in a mental health setting (leading to my supervisor calling me "gifted" with abused women).
    • Work with refugees and asylum seekers about whose rights I am also extremely passionate.
    • 10 years moderating Pandora's Aquarium, a celebrated community for survivors of rape and sexual assault
    • Sitemistress of Aphrodite Wounded. My site is 12 years old and has assisted many survivors to freedom and healing as well as professionals in understanding IPSV.
    • Public speaking, training and presenting on IPSV
    • Media appearances to speak about IPSV.
    • In 2008, offered an honorarium to be part of a new collaborative project between the Minnesota Center Against Violence and Abuse (MINCAVA) and the Office on Violence Against Women (OVW) USA.
    • Taking part in projects such as an education DVD about IPSV, contributing articles etc.
  • Life: I have international recognition for my expertise on IPSV. How did I get here? It began with my own journey through domestic violence, including repeated rape, by a man who threatened my life and did in fact later, commit murder. The interested may read my story here.

    I consider myself lucky to be alive, and when I became free, I sought to make sense of my experiences, but found very little information specifically about rape in the context of relationships. It was this that I particularly felt the need to have help with - it felt different, worse, somehow, than the beatings. I processed my own traumas as much as was possible with counselling, reading writing, the discovery of Feminism, which gave me a context for the violence outside of myself, and with the help of other beautiful survivors - specifically those at Pandora's Aquarium. Actively working with IPSV to assist other survivors and facilitate knowledge about it has also been tremendously healing for me.

    I of course realised that being a survivor was not by itself enough to equip me to "know everything" (I'm not sure anything does!). So I went to university, where I had opportunity to study IPSV, and have continued to keep abreast of the knowledge (and here, I must acknowledge the writers, researchers and activists who came well before me). While I see professional qualifications and knowledge as absolutely essential to what I do, I will never forget the words of a terrific woman called Kathleen Arledge, late of Washington Coalition of Sexual Assault Programs (USA). In 2008, this organization had invited me to contribute an article on IPSV to their Connections publication. I accepted this wonderful opportunity, but was telling Kathleen that I felt I should keep "survivor stuff" to a minimum in favour of being "just professional." Kathleen said, and I've never ceased to grateful to her - "Louise, never underestimate the value of survivorship as a teaching tool." I do believe that this dimension of my experience brings something to what I do, whether that be "the human face," or other. I know it has certainly inspired people, and I feel incredibly humbled by this.

    So, I'm quite upfront about my survivorhood where appropriate, and I believe I have struck a good balance between the personal and the professional. I think being a survivor makes some people afraid you'll "crack up" on the job, so to speak, but I never have and I do not anticipate doing so anytime soon - I'm pretty tough at least most of the time, and have become adroit and practised at accepting and managing "trigger" moments whilst working with a very confrontational topic. In the recent past, I gave a presentation to the police force in a location where my ex-partner lived only seven minutes away. It was unnerving, to be sure, but my professionality did not suffer and I'm inclined to think that if it didn't suffer under those circumstances, there are probably few others under which it is likely to do so. This is one benefit of healing!

    I have five children, six grandchildren, a wonderful husband, terrific friendships and I love reading, wine, feminism, rude jokes, the colour pink and home-made soap making.

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