By Alison O’Hanlon
A TOP Irish model has launched a bold new campaign to bring hope to domestic abuse victims.
Former Ms Ireland Monica Walsh has gathered together five brave survivors of toxic relationships to raise awareness and show others that “life can get so much better and they deserve to be happy”.
She told the Dublin Gazette: “I had this project/photoshoot with survivors of domestic violence in my mind for over a year but couldn’t do it because of lockdown.
“Thankfully, that day has finally arrived and together with photographer Eddie Kavanagh we’ve been able to make it happen .
“I’m very proud of my five models – people with no modelling experience who have come back from the depths of despair to a place where they now feel confident and even happy to pose for a campaign like this.
Monica, who now works as a Montessori teacher, said that all five of had “come from the darkness and despair of feeling trapped and hopeless in abusive relationships”.
She added: “Some of them contacted me during that sad period and I helped them to go through it.
“They are victims and survivors and they strong enough to raise awareness for others trapped in toxic relationships and thinking theres no hope for better future. This photoshoot is an example of hope that life may get better and that they deserve it to be so much better.
“We use three colours to demonstrate the journey out of despair they have taken; black, purple and white.
“Black symbolises that darkness, purple because it is the colour associated with domestic violence, and of course white is for HOPE.”
Monica’s mission to help those in abusive relationships is fuelled by her own family’s harrowing experience, when her beloved godmother Kalina was brutally killed.
She explained: “I was just a kid, a teenager, when it ¬happened. He beat her against a radiator and left her to die.
“Kalina’s children were there and were with their mum’s body when the police arrived.”
The mother-of-one from Dublin has also written a book called Take Me Out Of This Hell in which she shares stories of her hands-on experience dealing with domestic violence.
Take Me Out Of This Hell will be launched later in the year.