I’m from Tasmania and joined the Navy when I was 17. I partnered with someone and gave up my career so he could pursue his. The marriage ended abruptly after 28 years. There was no time to safeguard myself. I found myself on the couch in my son’s one-bed apartment in Sydney. I was affected by financial abuse and control. Every asset we owned was in his name.

My friends wanted to help me but it was a challenge to accept money. I felt ashamed that the person I loved would deny me access to funds for basic needs during separation.

I decided that I could support myself by creating a product to offer my friends in exchange for them wanting to help me. I curated a jewellery collection called Beautiful Souls Seek and friends could buy the jewellery as a way to financially support me.

I realised that there would be other women like me and that my jewellery could help them, too. They could tell their friends, ‘Well, if you’d really like to help me, this is a way for you to support me.

This beautiful box of jewellery is designed to be gifted to a woman. She can sell the individual pieces and create up to $2000 of income.

I found Global Sisters and Global Sisters brought me to the business. It’s been two years of learning, developing packaging, finding funds, being mentored.

Global Sisters are rich in resources – it’s phenomenal, you just have to ask. I didn’t know that level of support was available to women, Australia-wide. They have given me so many resources that don’t cost anything other than my time and energy. They are so supportive across many levels. There are many beautiful women within this network who are inspirational, stepping in and having a go.

My message for the young women of today is to stay educated. Know where your money is, have your own bank account. Do not leave yourself financially vulnerable whilst parenting.

Property, cars and shares should be in joint names. Contribute to your Super. Have access to funds when you raise children. Do not leave yourself financially vulnerable whilst parenting. I will advocate for change around financial abuse. That’s my driving force.

It was frightening to realise that I might become a statistic. Women in this country aged 55 and above are most at risk of homelessness. Global Sisters shines a light on other women’s stories, and some of them are so much worse than what I went through. As some of those women say to me, ‘At least you had your son’s couch to sleep on.’

You can support Michelle’s journey by shopping from her Marketplace store here

I will advocate for change around financial abuse. That’s my driving force.

Michelle DawsonBeautiful Soul Seeks