Industry leader’s personal fight against domestic violence

SPLASH! Magazine, FEBRUARY 27, 2019. Elena Gosse, CEO of Australian Innovative Systems (AIS), is again raising money for the Women’s Legal Service Queensland (WLSQ) by participating in Dancing CEOs on May 17 in Brisbane.

This is the second time she has participated – last year she became Community Awareness Champion and raised $23,472 to help WLSQ provide free legal and social work assistance to women experiencing domestic violence, complex family law and sexual assault matters.

One in five women in Australia will face domestic or family violence in their lifetime, and WLSQ assists more than 16,000 women each year.

A personal fight

On top of the desire to help women in difficult circumstances, Gosse has a very strong personal reason to support this cause – she herself is a survivor of domestic and family violence.

When she was a child, her late father inflicted a great deal of physical and emotional pain on her mother, herself and her siblings. He passed away in May 2018 after suffering a stroke.

“As he lay in hospital dying, the dominant monster of the past was transformed into a gentle man that craved love and forgiveness,” she says. “I began to understand that my father had repressed his feelings and been so damaged emotionally for so long that he felt the need to resort to violence. He did not understand that violence was not a way to show someone you care.”

Gosse says the sad reality is that domestic and family violence does not discriminate. It can affect anyone, at any time, and any social demographic – males, females, adults and children.

She hopes that by sharing her story she can encourage others to speak out and seek help, and also to try and stop violent perpetrators of the future.

“As a society, I believe that we should encourage men and women to connect with their feelings more and open up to a trusted family member, friend or counsellor,” she says. “I believe that showing that vulnerability can be a sign of immense strength.”

Supporting the cause

This year Gosse is trying to raise $50,000 to help women in need, and has asked for members of the pool and spa industry to support her.

“If you look at the Dancing CEO website you’ll see CEOs representing different professions and industries including legal, banking, health, travel and hospitality. Many of the CEOs have large national networks to draw upon,” she says.

“As the only Dancing CEO from the pool and spa industry, I believe that we, as a largely male-dominated industry, can make a powerful statement. We can show our industry and broader community that we have a strong but sensitive heart and are united in making a stand against this insidious issue.”

She is hoping that in raising the $50,000, a substantial proportion will come from pool and spa industry support.

There are many ways you can help:

Any support will be promoted via AIS’s media and social media networks and her ongoing publicity activities – or if you wish, the donations can remain anonymous.

Read this story in SPLASH!

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