Rachael Natoli founded the Lokahi Foundation after she identified that there was a lack of support and services for women trying to build their lives from experiencing domestic and family abuse. On International Womens Day where the theme for 2021 is #ChooseToChallenge her story is an important one.
Did you grow up in the Easterns Suburbs or new to the area? Where did you live?
I grew up in England. I was born in Cheshire and moved to Sydney in December 2007 after visiting a friend on holiday that had moved to Aus. The first suburb I lived in was Randwick where I stayed for the first 8 years.
What are your favourite places to go in the East?
My favourite places to go to are the beaches – I really love that we live so close to the ocean and I love walking so I love the Bondi to Coogee walk and Centennial Park.
Bronte – without a doubt. I went there for breakfast when I came on holiday here and it stole my heart. I love Tama too but I think Bronte is better with kids.
Selina’s in Bronte
Centennial – I like the bike track area most coz there’s lots to keep the kids busy but I love the Ian Potter playground too.
What do you do for work?
I run a domestic abuse charity – the Lokahi Foundation. I started it in 2016 after leaving a long-term abusive relationship because I wanted other women and children to have a caseworker as amazing as the one I’d had.
I knew that services in the Eastern Suburbs were limited in the level of support they could provide, mainly due to funding, so I set up my own.
It’s taken a lot of hard work and tenacity to get to where we are now but we officially opened our office in Bondi Junction last week and have case workers on board to assist those in need.
What is your 5 tips for women in an domestic abuse environment, what are their options?
Not really 5 tips but I think the best advice I can give is to confide in someone you trust, seek support (either the DV Line or a local service) and make a safety plan.
Obviously the aim is to leave but that often needs to be planned carefully which is why having a caseworker to support you is imperative.
There are lots of services available to offer different kinds of support and a good caseworker can guide you through what you need.
What does IWD mean to you? 2021 Theme is #ChooseToChallenge to challenge inequality, call out bias, question stereotypes, and help forge an inclusive society.
I love IWD. I always attend several events, and I’m usually speaking at a few. For me, it’s a celebration of how strong, powerful and awesome women are, which is too often overlooked! I love that so many women come together on 8th March to celebrate themselves and each other!
And as for the 2021 theme, I think it speaks for itself. Challenge and call out what you know is wrong – let’s start with Parliament!
I asked my 8 year old twins about this one, and they said to say that screen time is good! Not sure about that but honestly, the advice I always give to expectant mums is not to put too much pressure on themselves and not to listen to too many other people. Most children end up sitting, walking, sleeping and talking in the end so the comparisons and advice from others just serve to make you feel like you’re failing when being a mum is tough enough!
For more information or assistance if you feel you are experiencing domestic abuse please contact Lokahi Foundation based on the Eastern Suburbs
The Lokahi Foundation is an Australian charity focused on supporting women and children who are or have been the victims of domestic or family abuse. We provide support to enable and empower women to reclaim their lives, achieve a secure environment and assist in progressing down a path which will materially improve their situation