Jackie Clark, aunty in charge at domestic violence charity The Aunties, says winning the 2018 Women of Influence Supreme Award in Auckland last night was very surreal.
“Total and utter confusion and bewilderment went through my mind. I mean I was bewildered to even be the winner of the community/not-for-profit category let alone the Supreme Award.
“It felt extraordinary. The second time I got up, there was a standing ovation and I read that as the acknowledgement of the women that they see, and hear, and care. There was a lot of love in that room.”
Established six years ago, The Aunties is an organisation that provides support for women who are survivors of domestic violence.
It is currently supported by a network of 50 active aunties (women and men) who have made a huge difference in the lives of hundreds of women and children.
Jackie collects clothing, buys groceries and pays bills for many of life’s essentials as well as some of the little things that bring women and children joy.
“Essentially my job is a bridge between the people that I work for and with, and the rest of the world.
“What winning the award increases considerably, as increased exposure does, is number one, more Aunties which is great, and therefore more people in the world that care about the women."
She says her driving force is that they are seen and heard.
“And I don’t necessarily mean in a victim sense. I mean that people acknowledge that they exist. You can’t hear about something or someone unless you acknowledge in a way their humanity. And I’m hoping that’s what this will do to a certain extent now. Increased awareness of the humanity of people that you may need to meet, that you may need to be exposed to, but who I represent.”
Jackie hopes winning the award will also start a few conversations.
"It's that we start a conversation about what good giving looks like and about what family violence really is.
“But also what I hope happens is that my girls understand how many people now know about them and care about them."
The Aunties Charitable Trust supports Te Rōopu O Te Whānau Rangimariē O Tamaki Makaūrau; The NZ Prostitute’s Collective; the emergency housing team of social workers for the Salvation Army; a youth justice worker and her clients; social workers from Family First, Strive, several other community organisations; and a homeless shelter in Manurewa.
For the other 2018 Women of Influence category winners, go to The Aunties founder named 2018 Supreme Woman of Influence.