This is Rachel’s (not her real name) story about her experience with domestic violence, by her ex-husband, the father of her children. This is her own account, in her own words.
As I write this, I now truly understand why people keep quiet. Yes, that’s right. Quiet. That taboo subject called – Domestic Violence. I started seeing my ex-husband 15 years ago. I was an innocent Catholic girl who fell in a love with a “naughty boy”. At the start, it was fun and he showered me with expensive gifts. Then the control and the abuse started sneaking into our relationship. Over the years it became more and more intense and controlling. We went on and got married, had the two children, built our dream home and started our own company.
To the outside world, we were the “The Jones”, and I was the “trophy wife”. But in reality, I was the most loneliest, abused wife and mother that had no escape.
He promised over the 15 years – if I ever left him, he would portray me as a drug addict. He was, and still is, a controlling narcissist. So basically, I was held captive in my own home. Everything was in his name, most days I would have to beg him to have our Eftpos card, just so I could buy food. Meanwhile, he would be drinking beer and entertaining most nights in our home, where I was always playing the perfect host to his friends.
I have sustained many physical injuries from stabbings over the years. I was even stabbed when I was pregnant with my daughter.
I never told the authorities that they were sustained from my husband. The last assault happened early this year, where I came home and found a woman in our pool fraternizing with my husband and his male friends. For some unknown reason, I felt I was strong that night; and I finally stuck up for myself. In doing so, I sustained two blows to my face in front of my 5 year old son and 3 other adult witnesses. He knocked me out and I was bleeding profusely.
I finally told all the proper authorities and the paper trail begun. Now my children and I are no longer living in that awful, violent household. It’s been hard, we have had to flee our home and leave all our belongings. So, in a nutshell, my children and I have had to move 1,900 kms from our home and recreate ourselves. Yes, we have happier days now but it’s still a struggle for me financially and emotionally.
My ex-husband was charged with aggravated occasional bodily harm. He has 52 prior criminal convictions and 22 prior criminal charges against his name. Plus, a few years ago, he was incarcerated twice. His latest charge of my last assault, he pled guilty and walked away with a $1,800 fine, back in our matrimonial home and still living the lifestyle he had.
I feel my children and I have been let down by the justice system. What is it going to take? Another death? Is his next partner going to be treated the same, are my children going to witness this horrible behavior again from their father on another woman?
He also has portrayed me as a drug addict since I left him. He lied to the courts and to everyone about my made up status. I’m now having to take random drug tests constantly. This is a bit of an unusual experience for this, once innocent, Catholic girl to take in. The tests have always been clear though.
It’s just bittersweet how I’m still having to fight and justify myself as a mother and a model citizen, when I’m the victim.