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It’s been over a year since my perpetrator left me bruised and battered. The days post that last assault were the scariest of my life. I verged on a nervous breakdown, and truly, whole heartedly feared for my life.

There was a moment during those days, while in breach of a court ordered intervention order that this person attempted to run my parents and I off the road. I doubt I will ever fully shake the nervousness of driving again, and always flinch when a black four wheel drive is approaching. It took prescriptions of sleeping pills, and valium, a supportive family, much love from friends, and prayers to get through the days and weeks that followed.

I wasn’t sure I would ever recover, and be the person I used to be. The truth is I won’t. 

This person stole things from me that can never be put back together like they were before – trust, love, security, a wholeness. But these have been replaced with things I may never have, had if it wasn’t for this experience – determination, strength, resilience, and courage. I may not be the person I was before, but he will not dictate my future or steal my happiness. And I thank him for creating in me a desire to be independent, and strong. And a motivation to help those less fortunate than me, who are still stuck in family violence situations. I am a new version of myself – it has changed me, and now it is my purpose to turn those changes into something positive.

The media, and our politicians, and those in positions of power, talk often about the changes happening around domestic and family violence.

I don’t see it. The truth is it’s happening more, and more. And the repercussions and consequences for perpetrators continue to be pitiful and minimalistic. My own perpetrator walks free in another state; despite me immediately reporting the assault, many breaches of the intervention order, and the driving offences. He has access to all finances – leaving my daughter and I with not a single cent. He has paid very little child support, and there is limited ways in which he can be forced to do so.

My beautiful daughter was also present at the time of the assault.

It frightened her to the core, and seeing her hiding, crouched in the bath tub, repeating ‘are you ok? Are you ok?’ is something I will never forget, nor forgive my perpetrator for. My daughter’s speech and language has been very delayed, and I often feel that she is waiting for me to find my voice until she finds hers. We are in this life together, forever, and I walk with purpose because of her.

I share these facts, and my story, not for sympathy, but to highlight how the system still works against the victim, and for the perpetrators. I also share to shed light on the issue.

This is real and raw, and it is happening to people you know.

Since I have begun to talk about my own situation, many people I know have come to me to share their own stories. It is our nation’s dark secret – whispered about occasionally, and often shushed as it makes people feel uncomfortable. I share for other women – still suffering. I am holding you in my heart, hoping, praying, and wishing for you the respect, freedom, safety and happiness you, and your children deserve.

Lastly I share because I love our country. Our beautiful, amazing, fortunate country. We have so much to be grateful for – and yet I see a culture of gender inequality that is at the root of the problem.

The beauty of womanhood is in both her strength, and her vulnerability.

Her wisdom, and her innocence.

Her desire for love, and her search for independence.

I want to see our country change.  Embrace the differences in genders, and respect and value them equally. And for no person, of either gender, to be fearful for their safety.

I want our people to be

FREE

HAPPY

SAFE

INDEPENDENT

And RESPECTED

Source: Supplied

 

Source: Supplied

 

 

Please share to shed light on domestic and family violence, support those still suffering, and demand justice for those harmed, and consequences for perpetrators.

Main image courtesy of Shutterstock.com

  • Thankyou for sharing your story and for helping others to find their way out of bad relationships.

    Reply

  • I am so very sad and sorry to hear what she went through.

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  • Thank you so much for sharing your story. I was only just talking about this situation within my own extended family and how we get to make choices in our life. I don’t mean yours, but I mean those males in my extended family who model their father, who blame everyone else but themselves for their actions and continue the cycle of domestic violence. We made a choice to remove ourselves and my son from that relationship totally. I will no longer enable them or allow them to influence us. Yes, they are wronged by us doing this! They have not done anything, it is all our fault! I’m happy now to be away from the family, the ongoing situation. I’m happy my son doesn’t have to witness or endure what his dad did. We made a choice. And I am so glad the opportunities now exist to bring this out in the open, to talk. I will share my family’s dirty secrets. I will highlight it and them. Because we have done nothing wrong.

    Reply

  • Thank you so much for sharing your story Geraldine by doing so you pass on a little strength for other folk (and like you wonderfully said either gender) who may be experiencing this.
    Sending added strength and much love your way to you and your beautiful daughter. xx

    Reply

  • You are so right, Geraldine. Although governments talk about getting rid of family violence, I see no evidence of it happening. Those who have already spoken out we have heard from so long that a lot of people are becoming blasé, because they cannot see others coming forward, so think it’s not happening. I have heard people say, I’ve never seen this happen, it’s being overdone. More people must be like you and talk openly before something can be done. Also there should be more recompense for those like you who have lost access to moneys and whose antagoniser [I can’t use the word partner in this context] refuses to pay parental support.

    Reply

  • Its wonderful that you found the power and strength to show your daughter that this is not how woman should be treated and hopefully with your example she will be safe when she finds a partner later in life.
    You did good Mum :)

    Reply

  • What a wonderful woman you are!
    I also sorry for what you have been through. Having come from a home with DV from an early age and then being raised by my grandmother I can assure you that your daughter will be ok. She is resilient and so are you. I am half way through completing a new specialist course in DV the first of its kind and hope to work with victims and children to help them and walk with them on their journeys that I personally know to be challenging. I found when I was young seeing a counsellor and psychologist really helped me process what I had seen. For a long time I was feeling responsible for what we went through and very scared and timid. Through a good role model and some professional help she will flourish x

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  • I am grateful for my loving husband. We need truly effective penalties.

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  • You are very brave for speaking out about your experience. I am so sorry for what you went through. I can’t imagine living with so much fear and pain.

    Reply

  • Thank, Geraldine, for sharing this important message with us. I’m very sorry for what you had to pass through. I wish you and your daughter all the best, and I really hope that one day domestic violence will stop in our country and around the world too. Too many women are still suffering. It’s really sad. :-(

    Reply

  • You are very brave to speak up about your experience, and I’m so glad your abuser is no longer around. It’s just sad that he will probably abuse someone else who is unaware of his past. We all face different challenges in life. I doubt anyone goes through life unscathed by personal relationships, and these experiences do change who we are. I wish you and your daughter a happier future.

    Reply

  • Very powerful message. The nasty truth is that it’s happening far too frequently and although we are working hard to remove stigma and more victims are speaking out, more needs to be done. These perpetrators need to feel the full force of the law.

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  • You are amazing! Just coming out and talking about it shows levels of amazing bravery. The fact you got out of your situation. I truly hope you and your daughter find a happy place once again

    Reply

  • You brave lady. I thank you for sharing your story and being brave.
    I’m so sorry you didn’t get justice

    Reply

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