Lani's Story


Lani's Story follows Sydney woman Lani Brennan's experience of two relationships - one she has to escape to survive, the other she cannot survive without. It is a moving and intimate portrait of a young Aboriginal woman's journey from victim to victor, from a broken and violent relationship to discovering the redemptive power of love.

At 18 Lani began a relationship that quickly turned violent. She suffered years of abuse that ended with a severe beating and rape on Christmas Day.

"We were sitting at the front of the house and um he walked inside and all of a sudden he's just come out with a hammer. Before I even knew it he was dragging me inside the house. And all I can really remember in my head was like, oh my God if I go in this house he's going to kill me," says Lani .

For six years after the events Lani has nightmares. For four years nothing happened after she had filed a statement with police. There wasn't even a warrant.

Lani's Story also explores the impact of inter-generational domestic violence within a family and community and how the courage of one person can transform the lives of others. It also tries to explain why battered women so often suffer in silence, and tackles the specific Aboriginal issue of "don't trust the cops".

The documentary is now used as a training tool for the NSW Police Service, health care professionals, community service workers and in prisons and offender reform programs .

One of the worst cases where the victim survived.

— Court hearing Lani's case

When you witness domestic violence you hide everything, you don't get involved, it's what you put up with.

— Lani Brennan, expressing a common attitude to domestic violence in Aboriginal communities

I wanted to share that story. And Lani did as well. She was a big part of the reason why I made this film because she wanted people to gain strength from what she'd been through. She wanted to help people in the same situation to find the courage to leave situations like this.

— Genevieve Grieves, director of Lani's Story


Release dates
2009 - Australia
2010 - Best Documentary, United Nations of Australia Media Peace Award 2011 - Best Television Current Affairs (>20 mins), Eliminating Violence Against Women media awards 2011 - Best Media Across Categories, Eliminating Violence Against Women media awards
M - Mature
Blackfella Films
Michael Yezerski

Lani's Story is Genevieve Grieves first film and took three years to make.

Genevieve Grieves hopes Lani's Story will inspire other victims of domestic violence.

Lani's trial went for three months, eight hours each workday.

The book of the same name is available.

Watch now or find a DVD/BlueRay copy

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View article sources (2)

[2] 'Two more awards for Lani's Story', Koori Mail 504 p.31

Cite this page

Korff, J 2018, Lani's Story, <>, retrieved 19 June 2024

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