Nine years since her 11-year-old son Luke was murdered at the hands of his own father, Rosie Batty takes comfort from seeing something other than pity in the eyes of strangers.
"When I was advocating so prominently during the years that came from being  Australian of the Year, I do feel like people came to know my story, but that rather than pitying me, they respect me. And that helps me to continue to believe I'm not a broken woman," Batty told the Mercury.
"You don't want people to feel sorry for you. What I do appreciate is that people see my strength. On my sad days or during my feelings of being lost, I feel a sense of connection with many people who are working towards eliminating violence towards women and children."
Batty is among an impressive lineup of speakers and advocates in Wollongong on Thursday and Friday for the sold-out Australian Domestic, Family and Sexual Violence Recovery and Healing Conference.
The inaugural conference comes nine months after Ramsay Health opened Australia's first women's-only hospital for survivors of trauma and domestic violence at Thirroul, and a year after the Illawarra Women's Health Centre secured a head-turning $25 million to set up the country's first women's trauma recovery facility.
Batty is hoping the conference will result in "stronger collaborative relationships across the country of those organisations that already potentially are overstretched, underfunded but passionate about the area of work that they are in".
"It's great that the conference is bringing all this expertise to Wollongong," she said.
"The funding [the women's health centre] received from the previous government was quite extraordinary at the time and it would be outstanding to see more of those centres go around.
"I guess that's really why it's important to use this [conference] as an opportunity to learn more and create services that are really going to support women in their recovery, to work out what that really looks like."
The conference has a focus on recovery and a large quota of presenters and panelists come with lived experience, including prominent activist Tarang Chawla and ABC political reporter Nour Haydar, whose father is serving a minimum 18-year jail sentence for the 2015 stabbing murder of her mother, Salwa Haydar.
Haydar will take the stage in conversation with Batty at Novotel Wollongong Northbeach on Thursday night at the conference dinner.
The event will feature keynote addresses by trauma expert and former Harvard Medical School instructor Dr Janina Fisher, Wollongong's own Dr Karen Williams (Ramsay Clinic Thirroul), Nemat Kharboutli (Muslim Women Australia), men's behaviour change specialist Kyalie Moore and Dr Michael Salter (International Society for the Study of Trauma and Dissociation).
Also attending the conference are Australia's first Domestic, Family and Sexual Violence Commissioner Micaela Cronin, and former Neighbours star and Victim Survivor Advisory Council chair, Kym Valentine.
The event is hosted by the Illawarra Women's Health Centre on behalf of the Australian Domestic, Family and Sexual Violence Recovery Alliance.