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Empowering domestic violence survivors through creative writing

Domestic violence survivors are picking up their pens, and turning their pain into poetry. They are finding hope, healing, and their voices.

That’s the vision behind the book, Tina’s Journey: a collection of words and poetry by survivors of domestic violence, recently launched by Women’s Aid Organisation (WAO).

Tina’s Journey is the result of author Bernice Chauly’s two-year creative writing workshops with domestic violence survivors at the WAO shelter.

“Writing is a tool for healing. We give voice to our pain, we name it. Writing can help us transform that pain into art,” says Bernice.

“The creative writing classes empowered us to express what we long held within us. This helped us come to terms with what had happened and to face our demons,” shares Linda Iskandar, who participated in the workshops.

Bernice Chauly and WAO Community Engagement Officer, Kelvin Ang, curated survivors’ writings to create the character Tina. Artist Chan Wen Li then brought Tina to life.

“We conceptualised the character Tina as an empowered survivor with a message of hope, and a relatable person whose resilience shines through in the face of adversity,” says Wen Li.

“We worked to find a ‘voice’ for Tina that hopefully represents and does justice to the multi-faceted stories and musings of survivors,” adds Wen Li.

“The struggle of living in an abusive relationship can be an internal, unseen struggle. We sought to make known the lived experiences of survivors, so we can recognise the same recurring stories in our communities and the people we know,” explains Kelvin.

Tina’s Journey was launched on 9 December 2017, in conjunction with the worldwide 16 Days of Activism against Gender-based Violence campaign.

Tina’s Journey is sponsored by Selangor Properties Berhad, University of Nottingham Malaysia Campus, KL Writers Workshop, and In den Vremde.

To get a copy of Tina’s Journey, make a donation of RM30 or more via deposit to Women’s Aid Organisation, 80-0238299-7, CIMB with the reference “TINA”. Email your delivery address and proof-of-payment to

Your support will enable WAO to continue supporting and empowering domestic violence survivors.

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