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Cheryl's Story



Cheryl's story as an Aboriginal woman with disability.

Content Warning: Mentions violence, Aboriginal heritage, trauma.

Hello, my name is Cheryl. I am 56 years old. I live in Sydney I was born on Gweagal land and am a part of the Wiradjuri nation. I come from a stolen generation family and I am an amputee.

I have been studying for many years and have completed 2 Diplomas. Indigenous Legal Studies and Indigenous Community Development, and also Cert 2 and 4 Indigenous Leadership.

My childhood was full of learning. I loved school and was an attentive student. I achieved a leaving certificate and started a job at Coles and learnt what life was like in the outside world. I was always interested in Aboriginal culture and lifestyle and wanted to learn more and practice my cultural heritage. I remember sitting around the dinner table with my mum and nan, my uncles and aunties, and talking about Aboriginal issues. I would go to school and share  all I had learned. The other kids were mean to me but I didn’t care because I knew I was proud of my heritage and I never let them make me feel ashamed. I loved the connection I felt to my family and to the land. It made me feel like I belonged.

When I got older, I had three children who I love and am proud to be able to continue my family. Unfortunately however, when they were young, I was a victim of a traumatic experience which resulted in me loosing my arm, and walking capabilities. After this I spent six months in rehab and my mother took on the responsibility of my children during that time. With a lot of help from my family and the Aboriginal Medical centre, I eventually went home with my family. It took a long time after this for me to come to recover physical and also to come to terms with my disability – but my family and connection to culture gave me the strength to go on.  

These days I have limited walking capabilities and use a stick to help me balance, but I lead a comfortable life and have studied to be a librarian.

I am sharing my story because despite my struggles, I am proud to live as a black Aboriginal woman with a disability and I want others like me to know they are not alone.

If you are affected by violence you can contact 1800RESPECT for counselling, support and referral.
Call 1800 737 732 or chat to someone online (external link). If you are in immediate danger, call 000.

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This story is tagged under:

Life Choices
Taking Part
Sex and Your Body
Safety and violence
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