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This is Caroline’s Story ♥️

I finally and only very recently have I been able to look him in the eye without feeling any anxiety to tell him he is an abuser and needs to be held accountable for his actions. – Domestic violence survivor Caroline.

Caroline is slowly recovering with the help of friends and fitness ♥️

He always made me feel his behaviour was my fault…

caroline-the-red-heart-campaignIn 1998 I met G.  I wasn’t ready for a relationship but I ended up pregnant to him so we got married and had a baby within 11 months. We never really had the “honeymoon’ period to really get to know each other.  It wasn’t until May, 2001, that his behaviour changed. He wouldn’t let me see my mother for Mother’s Day.  I went and saw her anyway but he wouldn’t let me take my son with me, only my daughter.

I returned with the guilt feelings and apologised to him. Every time we had a fight I would apologise again and again and telling him it was my fault. Sometimes he would kick me out of the house late at night between 11pm and midnight  (and usually when he didn’t get sex from me) which seemed to be the norm in our marriage for years.  I was so used to it.

A few flowers and a card had me trapped in his web…

I would ask my friends to pick me up and I would stay at my parents and the next day he would turn up with flowers and a card asking me to come back which of course I did.  Not long after my third child

was born (a son) he went out drinking one night, he came back drunk early hours of the morning and demanded sex from me. We fought because he wouldn’t take no for an answer and once again I apologised later on.   We decided to move house and start again for a fresh start. I was further away from my friends and family but closer to his friends and family.  But it didn’t seem a problem to me and still saw them regularly.

The first, and last, time he hit me…

In 2004 was the very first time and last time he hit me. It was June, 2004. Winter. Three young kids running around, the heater was on so it was warm inside the house.  I was cooking dinner (stirfry). when G had come home smelling of alcohol. He came into the kitchen asking me why I was still here. I didn’t answer him and as I picked up the wok to serve dinner, he threw the stirfry everywhere.

Then unexpectedly out of the blue hit me across the side of my left face. Then kicked myself and all three children out of the house. I had no time to get jumpers or shoes. There we were.  All four of us walking the cold streets, freezing.  I finally had the courage to knock on a stranger’s door and explain what happened. I called my dad and he took us to the police station where they photographed my face, took my statement and advised me to get a domestic violence order.

I had no idea what domestic violence was…

I had never of domestic violence. Did not know what it was. G came to me with flowers and cards and the sorry and the promises of it never happening again. I kept going back because of the children. He never hit me again but he did start with the constant name calling (every possible name you can think of) and breaking and smashing of my things, taking my key card so I had no access to my money, sometime hiding the car keys.

I felt so isolated.  This happened quite a bit over the next 3 years.   The name calling would happen almost nightly when once again he didn’t get sex and getting kicked out.  The police would come and he would have the glass that was smashed everywhere cleaned up before the police got there and I would feel like a total idiot.  I thought I was going crazy and I thought that the police probably thought I was crazy.

Why didn’t I just ‘give him sex’…

Some people might say “why didn’t you just give him sex?” I used to think to myself “maybe I should to keep the peace” but I was not going to be used as a toy. Finally on the November 7, 2007, G kicked me out again and I never returned back home despite him say sorry and the apologies.

That’s when I first learned what domestic violence was and got my first order.  It’s been 8½ years now  with continuous DVOs on him. Same pattern on behaviour.  Name calling, threats etc. I just got granted a five-year order after G once again abused me and I guess in legal terms, held me and my children against our will.

How I became a rising STAAR…

I finally and only very recently have I been able to look him in the eye without feeling any anxiety to tell him he is an abuser and needs to be held accountable for his actions.   That was the only time I have been the strongest in my life. To be able to stand up to an abuser and say that. In 2012 I joined the STAAR (Standing Tall Against Abusive Relationships) program which has helped me physically, mentally and emotionally stronger so I give credit to the program also. Without it I don’t know where or who I would be now. ♥️

If you are in domestic violence crisis help is available from the Australia-wide telephone hotline 1800RESPECT.  If you want to take part in the “Why I Stayed” project click here ♥️♥️♥️

Photograph by Sherele Moody © 2016.