Domestic violence is not something that ever goes away, and I am living proof

An article yesterday about domestic violence has left a bad taste in my mouth. Steve Price seems to me to

An article yesterday about domestic violence has left a bad taste in my mouth.

Steve Price seems to me to take pleasure in belittling females. While I am not saying that Van Badham needed the language, I can certainly understand her using it.  She too, as I understand it, has been a victim of violence against women. Today I want to tell you my story. 

For those of you who have lived it, you will understand. For those of you who haven’t, maybe you will understand a little more after reading my story. You see, this happened to me quite a few years ago. Despite what authorities tell you, little has changed in all these years. Despite what you hear, this happens to many more women, and some men, way more than you hear about it. My story is not unique. It is just sad that the events back then changed me, changed who I am today and before you say let it go and move on, I did. The sad thing is, it’s not something that ever goes away completely, no matter how hard you try to make it.

My first husband was a soldier in the Australian Armed Forces. We met, got engaged and then married. He was sweet and attentive and showed absolutely no signs of being violent. Then only three weeks into our marriage, I wasn’t quick enough to get his dinner on the table and I ended up with a broken jaw because of it. We didn’t live on the army barracks because he didn’t want to. I had nobody to turn to and when I told a buddy of his, he called me a liar.

My jaw was broken because I had fallen and cracked my face on the pavement. That’s what my husband made me tell everyone. The doctor, of course, knew better. Back then, the police didn’t like to get involved in domestic disputes. My husband was sorry and it was never going to happen again.

Over the course of the next two years, my husband broke my arm, knocked out four of my teeth and dislocated my shoulder.  They were the small things he did to me. He kicked me repeatedly with his army boots on one night. My face was so bloodied I was unrecognisable for weeks. He threw me through a window and beat me with the garden hose. He tied me to my bed and held his army rifle at my head while he set fire to the edges of the bed. He kicked my little puppy to death while he had me tied up and made me watch. These are some of the many things he did. I spent more time in hospital than out.  

I ran away twice and he beat up my brother for punishment and dragged me back. Then he was sent to Canada on a goodwill mission. He was there three days when the army informed me he was being sent home because he had assaulted a woman over there. They assured me he would be locked up and they would get him help. This didn’t happen. 

He was discharged and the beatings started again. He kept me isolated from everyone. I was too scared to leave when he was in Canada. One day, after he had stayed up all night threatening me with his butcher’s knives, he went of to work and I enlisted the help of the only relative he had that was not too scared to help me, and she got me on a train away from him.  

With my solicitor’s help, my whereabouts were kept secret and I divorced him. I had wasted away to a shadow of my former self and everything terrified me. It took me three years to go outside on my own. To this day, I see someone walking in front of me who reminds me of him and I shake. For many years, I had counselling for the nightmares.  

Now some of you will say this is an extreme case, but it isn’t. I often thought I could kill him while he was sleeping but I was scared he wouldn’t die and would come after me. I know young women now who go through those thoughts.  My life changed as a result of this man, I changed forever. But I am alive. Many are left fighting for their lives or dead.  Many are too frightened to report the abuse. 

The police have gotten better and will intervene these days, but the laws haven’t changed so the sentences are a joke. The attitude of society also needs to change. No woman, or man, deserves abuse. No woman looks for it because of the way she dresses, or speaks, or because she is out alone. No man has the right to even joke about these things or bring his kids up to think boys are tougher, better or superior to girls. There is no case for political correctness going overboard on this. There are women in droves – at units, at home, on the street, in bars – being abused or killed, just because they cannot fight their attackers off. 

Something has to change. Television ads won’t cut it. Men and women have to change. Victims have to learn that they are not at fault, they have every right to be treated with respect. Perpetrators have to learn that if you are going to do these things, a judge won’t make excuses for you. You will be punished and punished hard.

You cannot do this to us anymore.

Share your thoughts below.

  1. Shirley Ploeg  

    I agree with this woman and as you can see by her remarks it is very hard to get out from under these kinds of men. Unfortunately this goes on and it is no better for the Gay community either so don’t just put it down to a man and a woman. It seems in cases even when murder is committed the punishments are not enough to fit the crime. I can say leave, make sure your children are safe, you are safe and hopefully you will have a few trusted friends or family who can help you. But for your sake Get Out.I too know what it is like to be unbelieved until something shows up and its you that’s been through the Hell of it, then people start believing you. Trust in yourself and get some help from someone or organisation that will back you up and tell you, you are okay and you’re not ok staying in the situation, you have to get strong and it feels like you’re deserting a sick cat but you have to do it. Yes there is light at the end of the tunnel and a better life ahead for you, but it will take a bit of time but you will get there. I wish you well and I will give support for law changes and violence against women.

    • Ginger Chavez Roberts  

      I am a survivor of 22 years of domestic violence. Not nearly as bad as this woman though, meaning not as many broken bones. I stayed because my daughter would have been alone with him on the weekends if I left. I adjusted my entire being to be around him. I lived my life to please him. I’ve been away from the violence for 3 years; however he is still stalking and harassing me. I’m trying to take care of that again, hoping to get my third order of protection (restraining order). 3 years out of that environment and I still shake when I see a car like his drive toward me, or pull up behind me. I’m still in therapy for PTSD due to nightmares that are just different pieces of my past with him. I think I’m just now starting to realize that I could have easily been killed. I was tossed out of a moving vehicle twice. I had a gun held to my head five times. That gun had no safety, and he was beating me with it. I was also held halfway over a balcony twice. In my nightmares, I was crushed by the cars, and killed by the guns going off, and tossed over the balconies. Those nightmares are hard to calm down from after I wake up. I now carry a gun with me always for safety. I practice martial arts. This is how domestic violence changed my life after the violence was over. I became a different person to please him, and now I’ve become a different person to protect myself.

  2. I am told by activists that I must always share my story to effect change, but I fear there is a boredom around hearing about these experiences at the moment. People don’t respond with interest, they avert their eyes, ask no questions, and say “well it happened but you’re here now.” Much like the article, I think this is a great indicator of where societies and cultures are at in terms of interacting with the issue of intimate partner/domestic violence and abusive behavior. The general underpinning to others’ responses seems to be “I’m not comfortable enough to listen to you” and to “stop living in your story.” Regarding the latter, I have, and I do, but sometimes it’s the story that finds its way to you. My wonderful husband, who does take time to try to understand, recently received death threats from my abusive ex and it broke my heart to see that now he was becoming a target. I am constantly cyber stalked by this ex, and I can keep blocking and hiding myself but he always finds a way to track me down under new accounts and pseudonyms. It amazes me the lengths he still goes to to try and grasp at some thread of control and dominance. The why, how, and effects of all this, though nothing like what I experienced during the relationship, are extremely difficult to explain to someone who has never experienced the dynamics of abuse. I am honestly exhausted by the lack of general understanding and validation of this issue and the things people go through during their experiences in and after it, but, I have hope.

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