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  • Writer's pictureSheree Hoddinett

Romecca’s Journey of Healing

Romecca Sawers has had a life full of abuse and trauma. But rather than let it continue to rule her life, Romecca is working on herself and with others to create a journey of healing.

Brave, fierce, determined and survivor are all words you can use to describe Romecca Sawers. Not that you need to put a label on this incredible woman. What Romecca has already lived through in her 43 years of life, including multiple facets of abuse, many of us could never even imagine. But rather than sit and wallow in her own self-pity (because she’s already been there and done that) Romecca spends her time focussing on the importance of healing from her past trauma and moving forward as best she can while helping others in the community battling their own traumatic experiences.

“I had to work really hard to re-program, re-seed things, to re-love myself and reconnect to myself. I tell people, it’s me first. I have to put me first or there’s no them. You’re no good to anyone else if you aren’t functioning properly.”

Romecca grew up in Guam but also lived in other places in the United States before moving to Australia in 2006. As a child, Romecca experienced years of abuse including physical, sexual, mental, emotional and spiritual. In her early teenage years, she was manipulated into child prostitution initially with the exchange of candy but eventually with money. There has also been many episodes of self-harm, multiple attempts at suicide, anorexia, bulimia, drug and alcohol addiction.

Her own trauma follows that of generations before her including her mother who Romecca says never had any healing and functioned out of her own trauma which was expressed through her addictions to marijuana and alcohol as well as domestic violence with partners and physical abuse on her own children just to highlight a couple of issues. While it’s been “quite the life” thus far for Romecca, she radiates a calming presence coupled with an outgoing personality that speaks volumes to the person she has become. Nothing fazes her and sharing her story is a big part of her healing process.

“I realised there came a point, I was looking at my kids (Skye born in 2003 and Andrew born in 2009) and they were still so young and I thought I could continue down that same path, same attitude, same habits, same beliefs and see them suffer,” Romecca says. “I could take my life and then they would still suffer. I did attempt to take my life many times - I’ve done it all. I literally drugged myself through hell because I believed that’s what I had to do.

“I had to work really hard to re-program, re-seed things, to re-love myself and reconnect to myself. I tell people, it’s me first. I have to put me first or there’s no them. You’re no good to anyone else if you aren’t functioning properly.”

Wanting to help others, Romecca started a charity supporting survivors of child sexual abuse 'Meant To Rise' in November 2018. While she had to close it in 2022, that hasn’t stopped her determination to be part of the change.

“I feel my purpose is to continue to walk my journey "in healing" because it is an eternal commitment,” Romecca says. “I hope to inspire others in some way to continue or start their journey in healing, love themselves again, live the life they dream of and believe that anything is possible. The walk has been about finding, loving, forgiving, encouraging and allowing my true self to feel safe to be seen in all my ups, downs, and to truthfully share with the world the sufferings as well as the peace that comes from being in healing.

“I survived, and because of that I know that I am here to be part of the change around child sexual abuse and all other childhood traumas so that others may live a life in healing from their suffering too. We need to create that awareness to help others feel brave and accepted and encourage them to tell their story.”

With March 8 marking International Women’s Day, a day where we celebrate the social, economic, cultural and political achievements of women, does Romecca consider herself a role model to others out there?

“I’m role modelling something,” she says with a laugh. I see my children giving me attitude and I see where they get that from.

“But without any pressure I’m just going to do the best I can. I would hope it inspires someone to think they can, whatever that looks like for them, to heal and not let anything rule or ruin their life and stop the repeat of the cycle.

“Do I consider myself a strong woman? Most days. But when I’m crying and lying in bed and I have to surrender my hands up the air, that’s strong too because I’m admitting I need to do that. Most of the time I carry on and it’s all good but that leads to a volcano that’s going to erupt and that’s not going to help anybody. I believe there’s strength in pausing and taking a breath, so as long as I’m breathing, I’m a strong woman.”

As a wife and mum of two, Romecca has no secrets from her husband or children, they know absolutely everything that she has experienced and endured. She labels her husband as her biggest supporter since the day we met.

“He is such a strong man and nothing fazes him,” she says. “But my kids also know everything. It was so important to share with them where their mother came from. As I’m building empathy in them, I’m helping them understand what others go through. In a way I trauma informed them. By telling them, I can’t hide behind it.

“I know that by being aware they’re going to watch me, but it is what it is. I knew that was a strategy I needed to protect myself and to stop the cycle from repeating. Addictive traits don’t just start themselves, they pass on and become generational trauma.”

Romecca has achieved quite a lot in a short space of time. She became certified as a life and wellness coach in February 2017, completed a graduate certificate in developmental trauma in June 2021, started her very own podcast called In Healing with Romecca Sawers in January this year, will be celebrating 13 years of sobriety this October, is a published author and hosts trauma informed workshops and sound sessions at no cost for others in the community.

Her first book is her story titled Because I was abused which was published in May 2019. It’s available through Amazon and also at the Caboolture Library.

“Even though I’ve experienced all sorts of trauma, child sexual abuse was the biggest thing and I’m not afraid to talk about it,” Romecca says. “I wrote it from the perspective of as it happened as I was aging, which wasn’t easy going back into that headspace, but I felt it was necessary.

“Even though I have found ways to express myself and cope with things, it still is an everyday fight for me, every day isn’t fantastic or perfect.

“I take it one day at a time. Up to this point, I am healed, what’s to come I don’t know. If something happens then I will find a way to get through it….we are eternally in healing.”

So what’s next for this warrior of a woman? She’s currently working on her second book called Beyond Control which will be a guide for survivors. Then there’s also another book called PIKA – The Fairy who found her sparkle, a children’s book which is awaiting illustration completion and will be used as a way to inform, educate and support children, families, carers and those in support roles. If her plate wasn’t already close to full, Romecca will be hosting an upcoming Healing and Wellness Expo for people who have experienced childhood trauma on April 29.

Given the road she has travelled and everything she has been through, it ponders one last question – we all know what if doesn’t change anything, but have you ever wondered what if my life took a different path?

“Most definitely yessssss!” Romecca says. “What if is a big one. You’re kind of like what if that didn’t happen and I would be so smart. Because of the trauma, my brain has been affected so I have to learn when I shut down to bring myself back into the now. I had to teach myself to come back, to process and to remember the here and now to train my brain.

“But if I hadn’t experienced all that, what would my life be like? I wouldn’t be where I am now. I wouldn’t be here in Australia. I wouldn’t have my husband or my kids.

“This will probably sound strange to a lot of people, but I’m so grateful for what I went through. I’m grateful to be the woman I am today, to have the passion I do today, the empathy, to have the don’t mess with me attitude because I’ve already been messed with, so I know I can use my strengths to my advantage.”


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