Isn’t it wonderful the way people come together at Christmas time…. not my family though! As this festive time approaches, I am reminded of how I was shunned for exposing domestic violence.

I feel this speaks volumes for the nature of domestic violence – why it’s still a silent killer of so many and how society is able to turn a blind eye to it. Let’s face it, it’s still such a taboo topic which no one is really sure how to bring up. Even the victims themselves don’t feel confident enough to seek help with, even though today we have more support services than ever before

How can this be?

How can something so preventable still be of epidemic proportions in a society that knows better?
This year marks the second year that my family has been ripped apart by domestic violence and I’m not even the one on the receiving end of the cowardly act!

No, I am the family member considered to be the ‘whistle blower’, the one who raised the alarm and alerted the police to the violent acts being carried out on a family member when she came to me fearing for her life and asking for help.
My family and myself are outcasts now, no longer able to attend Christmas with the rest of the family, whilst the perpetrator enjoys himself at the family Christmas Lunch which my Mother-in-Law always works tirelessly to put together.

He is welcomed with open arms, because according to culture, he didn’t bring shame to the family. In fact all of the family members who knew of the violence and brutality, yet stayed silent, are all able to celebrate together as one big happy family.  They were after all able to stand by and watch without ever assisting the victim when she begged them for help. Their silence ensures acceptance!

I was her last resort.

Without any proof, and only under the assumption that I am the only family member capable of getting assistance for the victim, they were able to hold it against me and exclude us from their lives.

Is this a glimpse of what society does?

Do we live in a world where we are all just expected to look away from unpleasant things which no one in their right mind wants to even admit is happening?

Of course, everyone would love to live in a violence-free society. No one wants to believe that anyone is capable of hurting another living being for their sadistic enjoyment.

But it happens. Whether we want it to or not. Whether we choose to see it or not. Whether we help or not… It still happens!

What If….

What if instead of turning a blind eye, however, we offered to find help, to find resources, to encourage and empower individuals to not enable or accept this violent and dangerous behaviour as their fate.

What if, instead of living life in fear of shame, or by not following cultural beliefs or traditions we encourage perpetrators to seek rehabilitation.

What if instead of turning our backs on the people who are completely against violence we embraced the concept of helping people and chose to stand against it together whilst also helping the perpetrator through their times of bad judgment.

As a mother it breaks my heart to have to try and explain to my children why their relatives want nothing to do with us. But I’d much prefer it be the way it is rather than ever having to explain to them how an Aunty had died at the hands of her husband and I did nothing to help her to safety.

If people are capable of being the best version of themselves, especially at Christmas time, then maybe it could also serve as an important reminder that violence against anyone is never acceptable.

Everyone deserves to be given a chance for love. That, of course, includes people who are willing to genuinely stop hurting others. I’m not necessarily suggesting that we have to turn our backs on violent individuals and not include them in our lives… after all my family and I know exactly how isolating it feels to be excluded. And we never even did anything wrong.

Stand Against Violence!

This Christmas, every Christmas, make a pledge to stand against violence. Because until we are willing to see it, accept that it really does happen, and work towards ensuring a future where it no longer exists, nothing is going to change.

It truly is one of the greatest gifts that we can ever give our children, and all it costs is a little integrity!

Seek Help For Domestic Violence Now

1800RESPECT
1800 737 732
24 hour national sexual assault, family and domestic violence counselling line for any Australian who has experienced, or is at risk of, family and domestic violence and/or sexual assault.

Lifeline
13 11 14
Lifeline has a national number who can help put you in contact with a crisis service in your State.
Anyone across Australia experiencing a personal crisis or thinking about suicide can call 13 11 14.

Share your comments below.

  • A very powerful story and one which unfortunately will keep on happening because too many people either don’t wish to believe it is happening or turn a blind eye especially within some cultures. Many years ago I was part of a social club set up to help those more unfortunate than us in all and every way. We had been told about a family that were being incestual with all the females in the family and the police said they couldn’t take action unless they had proof from a professional, a doctor or clergy or psychoanalyst. We then took action and lobbied the state council and local members until we eventually got the law passed that doctors by law had to inform the police if they saw evidence of misconduct be it beatings, sexual intercourse or mind control over another. That was in the early 1970’s. However these things still go on because evidence is hidden or the perpetrator makes sure no doctor or physician is called to the victim. The particular family our group was concerned with was eventually stopped from perpetrating any more crimes, but it took a long time and many of our members were in fear of their own lives during this time. Girls as young as 2 were being sexually abused by their brothers and it was being kept from the authorities. I am pleased I was able to make a difference then, but I know it still goes on and do hope your plea for all to pledge to stamp it out from this Christmas forward will make a few more dints in this horrible problem.

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  • This story makes me so upset that those that provided support end up those that are exiled when really it should be the other way around..it does shine light on how unfortunately this time of year isn’t always a chance for a family celebration…let’s make sure we’re all looking for the signs and show that we’re there.

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  • This is so sad. Infuriates me and breaks my heart at the same time. There is never and excuse for abuse and people that do that to anyone should rot in jail.

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  • Reading that story breaks my heart, when will it become not OK to abuse your partner and children as well

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  • I never knew until my Nanna passed away that she suffered from domestic violence all through her marriage. My Granddad would always hit her where it never showed and she would never let anyone know. She just carried on like normal and never thought of leaving because in those days you never got divorced. I hope things change soon because no-one deserves to suffer in silence.


    • Oh that’s just heartbreaking what she went through all alone. Im so sorry this happened to her :(

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  • wow… great read. break the silence!

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  • Don’t go quietly! This is why women die every day from domestic violence. It’s still taboo to talk about but good on you for saying something. Wouldn’t it feel worse if you didn’t say anything and something worse happened.

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  • This is so powerful story.

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  • I hear you. I have taken a stand again my in-laws because of their culture and acceptance of domestic violence within their family. With my husband (and our son), we have decided to put an end to the cycle and no longer be a part of it. We’ve tried to fight it, but with no luck. So the best thing for us is to cut ourselves off. I feel such relief and no longer feel sick when I have to visit them or anyone in my husband’s family. It’s taken so long to get to this point, and to feel okay about it.

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  • He won’t change and eventually her shunners will learn. Unfortunately meanwhile it’s often the good people who suffer. Doing something about violence is always the right thing to do.

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  • I’m a survivor of sexual abuse (childhood side covers many years, two incidents as an adult… the last being where I went from *fright* to *fight* mode… kicking him where it hurts… but he escaped before the police could find him… still there’s something good about that feeling of disabling them… even if only for a few minutes!)

    I commend you for stepping up when you saw something wrong… even if there was a cultural thing tied to it (sadly, often why it allowed to happen)

    I wish you had have been there for me as a child… although it probably wouldn’t haven’t stopped it… a society that preferred to sweep things under the mat back then… at least, that’s how my family treated such issues… even when their own children (my sisters) were trying to telling them what was happening, they weren’t believed either, resulting in cruelty from them too for a while (until they were old enough to figure out the truth)

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  • We need to stop closing the door on difficult situations and help out our fellow community with issues like this so it doesn’t have to happen

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  • What a powerful story on Avery touchy subject. We need to decrease the stigma

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  • WHat a powerful story

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  • She is a inspiration to others

    Reply

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