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This is Erin’s Story ♥️

After 10 years of torture and belittlement I am free. We are happy, we are a family, we are healing and we are learning to live without abuse and violence. Domestic violence survivor Erin.

Young mum Erin hit rock bottom not so long ago but today she is inspiring women in crisis ♥️

Beneath his kind words lurked a dark violent demon…

erin-the-red-heart-campaignMy story began when I was 16. I just had my daughter who was stillborn) and broke up with my boyfriend and had nowhere to live and along he came. I’d met him before at a friend’s place a few times. He seemed rough around the edges but kind and considerate all the same.

He picked up my bags, said “follow me” and started walking – so I followed. We walked to his parents’ place, he offered me his bed and slept on the sofa. The last time he saw me I was pregnant. He asked what had happened.

I told him the baby was born sleeping. His reply was instant and melted me. He said “I would have loved her like she were my own”. That was it I was “in love”. The thought that someone other than myself could have loved my baby even though she wasn’t his. Everything was great for about two years.  We would go fishing, camping, motorbike riding, he taught me to drive, bought me gifts and I had a roof over my head. We were happy.

Then a guy contacted me on MySpace. I didn’t know him, but that didn’t matter.  My  partner he backhanded me and split my lip, then instantly apologised and begged for my forgiveness, saying he was just so scared I would leave him for someone else and that he would never do it again. I believed him.

His jealousy drove him into rage after rage but he was always so sorry afterwards…

Things were great for another six months then another incident occurred.  We were out at the country club having a few drinks with friends and a stranger showed a little too much attention to me. This time it was “only” pushing and shoving.  Again he apologised and swore he didn’t mean it and wouldn’t do it again. I believed him. Then things started to escalate. If someone looked at me the wrong way, I was accused of provoking it. If one of his friends came over and spoke to me too much, he would start to pick a fight as soon as they left, saying things like “oh you want him don’t you?”, ” you wish he would fuck you hey?”.  Soon we moved out of his parents to our own place.

It was good for a while he would take his mates straight to the shed and I would stay inside, then he started to sell drugs and there was always people there. As soon as the door shut at night, there was another argument. This went on even after we moved to a new house and he promised he would stop selling drugs.

When the lease was up we hadn’t found another house yet so we moved back to his parents’ place. Things got worse to the point where he would sit on my stomach while choking me till I was blue. Then he would laugh, call me weak and walk out, leaving me in a crying heap on the bed.

His parents did nothing to stop it, they just sat by and let it happen. One day we had a massive argument because a friend from school had messaged me on Facebook. He told me I was a slut and no one else would ever want me and he told me to fuck off. So I rang my dad and got him to come get me. I left and went to Sydney for three days then flew to my mum’s house in Queensland.

I left and started a new life. Then he sucked me back into his vortex…

Things were looking up. I was catching up with old friends and socialising, enjoying life. I started seeing an amazing guy, we lived in the same town when we were kids and I had been good friends with his sister. Things were going great, then my ex messaged me saying he was miserable and missed me and couldn’t live without me. I ignored it for a while, then he asked me to marry him.

I was shocked because he had not been romantic in years and I never imagined he would ever ask me to be his wife. I said “yes” for some unknown reason. Then three days later he turned up on my mum’s doorstep, stayed for a week and then we left. We went back to NSW to live happily ever after or so i thought. Six weeks later we returned to Queensland for Christmas with my mother. It was then that I found out i was pregnant. He was so exited.

We moved to Queensland in February so I could be closer to my mum during my pregnancy and birth. He doted on me hand and foot. My son was born in August, 2011. He was a happy healthy baby, always smiling and laughing, but our relationship deteriorated once again.

When my nan was put into palliative care, I went to NSW to visit her and took my son with me. While I was away visiting my dying nan, he was cheating on me with a teenage girl. When I found out he told me it was my fault because I went away and his “needs” weren’t being met so he went and fixed the problem. When i told him he was a lying, cheating scumbag he choked me in front of my son. When my son began to cry and ran over to me he pushed my son so hard he hit the wall.

I left again but he charmed his way back into my life…

I left again, went to a friend’s place and told him to pack his stuff and go. When I returned three days later, the house was spotless, the holes had been patched and he was sitting in the lounge room crying and apologising and begging for forgiveness. I laughed and walked back out the door.

He rang me, threatening to kill himself. I felt sorry for him and went back. He was kind, considerate, loving and spoilt my son rotten. Then in June, 2012, my nan passed away and we went to NSW for her funeral. It was then that he asked my dad if he could marry me.

I cried like a baby and wanted to do my nanna proud by being the perfect wife and mother like she was so I agreed. We organized the wedding for that August. We got married. It was a great day – we combined our wedding with my son’s naming day and first birthday.

I only had my darling little boy for five days before he became an angel…

Things were going so well and shortly after I found out I was pregnant again – with twins.  Again he doted on me hand and foot. Just after 20 weeks we found out one of our twins had a severe congenital heart condition. It felt like our world was falling apart, but he seemed so strong, holding it all together while I was falling apart. Then at 32 weeks, I went into premature labour.

Our beautiful twin boys were born on the 3rd and 4th of May, 2013. Sadly one of our sons passed away five days later on the 9th of May. His heart condition was too severe for the surgery he required. For the next six weeks we traveled back and forwards too see and care for our other baby in the hospital. When he was finally strong enough to come home, things got bad again.

Heartbroken, I turned to ice to numb my pain…

My abuser started using ice really heavily and then offered it to me. He said it numbed the pain. He was right – it did. It made me numb. I was able to function again, to care for my other two kids without crying all day long and not wanting to get out of bed. We went on like this until our baby was 13 months old.

With lots of incidents during that time. He took my eldest son and threatened that I would never see him again after punching me in the throat while I was holding the baby. He rammed my mum’s car with the kids in the back seat, dragged me around by my hair, kicked me in the stomach, backhanded me, punched me, threw me through walls, wouldn’t let me leave the house with both kids. I  was only ever allowed to take one of them at a time. He would belittle me, degrade me and made me believe I was worthless.

A young woman’s taunts made me begin to see the light…

One night I snapped. We were at a friend’s place and a girl came over and saw my son’s ashes. She was drunk and asked if I murdered my own baby. I lost it and got in a fight with her. I hurt her really badly. That was when i stopped using ice. The next day he told me I had killed the other woman and we had to leave. I was a mess. I  did what I was told. I was so scared I would go to jail and not be able to watch my sons grow up. We left for NSW that day.

Half way there the baby was screaming for a bottle and I told him to stop at a service station so I could warm a bottle. He wanted to stop to get more drugs first and I said “no”.  It started a massive argument. He drove straight to a dealer’s house instead of a service station. So I honked the horn a few times. He came down to the car and repeatedly punched me in the face, went back and got more drugs then came back to the car. By this time both kids were hysterical and he screamed at them to “shut up”.

Eventually we stopped at a service station and i warmed the baby’s bottle and fed my older son. The cashier at the service station saw my face covered in blood and rung the police, so he started the car and told me to get in or he was leaving with the kids. I got in and we continued on. I was faint and the kids fell back to sleep so I closed my eyes too. When I woke up we were parked in a driveway and the baby was asleep in the back still.  My eldest son wasn’t in the car so I grabbed the baby and ran to the front door.

His friend’s partner answered the door and gasped. I asked where my son was and went inside. He was playing with her kids. She asked what had happened and I told her to ask him. That started another argument. We were made to get in the car again. He took us to his sister’s house then left with all our stuff. All I had was a stroller and a nappy bag. He came back two days later off his face and acting really erratically.

His sister put my eldest son in her car while I was in the toilet and left to take her kids to school. When i came out he left too. I was there with just the baby. When she returned my son wasn’t with her, I was hysterical. She said “he is with his dad”. I put the baby in the stroller and went straight to the police station but there was nothing they could do. had to get the train to Sydney and get a recovery order through the courts to get my son back. It was the longest week of my life, but a week later police removed my son from his care and I picked my son up from the police station.

His sweet words and empty promises cost me my kids…

For seven weeks we heard nothing from him.  It was great. I was staying with a friend. We were all happy and then my eldest son got sick and I took him to hospital. had no way of getting home with a three-year-old old at 2am and no money for a taxi and he just messaged me asking to see the kids. I asked him to drive us home and he could sleep on the lounge and see the kids in the morning then go back to his parents. He never left.

A few weeks later I bought a caravan and we went back to his parents’ place and stayed in the van out the back for two months. Then I woke up one morning to Family and Community Services knocking on the door. They took my kids because I had exposed them to domestic violence and because of his drug use. My kids were removed and put into kinship care with my mother back in Queensland in March 2015.

I left him for the last time, that was the final straw.  I moved back to my hometown and started fresh, then had DNA tests done for my eldest son and found out that he was not the father. My eldest boy’s father was the guy I was seeing when he and I broke up for two months in 2010. I got a house and started seeing someone. I went too TAFE and did everything FaCS asked and more.

That relationship broke down so I left and moved back to Queensland near my mum to be closer to my kids. Things were looking up. I  got a house and got settled, ready for my babies to come home, then on May 31, I had to travel yet again to NSW for family court. I won. They said I had proven enough and made the right changes and that my kids should be restored to my care. It was the longest 13 months of my life but I did it. I now have my kids back, we are happy, my eldest son is getting to know his real dad who has even accepted my youngest as well. We get along great and he treats me and the kids like royalty. It’s not what we are used to at all – but we love it.

It took 10 years to find happiness, but I did it and I will never go back…

After 10 years of torture and belittlement I am free. We are happy, we are a family, we are healing and we are learning to live without abuse and violence. My kids are the happiest i have ever seen them. They are always smiling and laughing and running around the yard playing. It’s been a long hard road but we made it out alive and we as a family are closer having lived through what we have.

It takes time to heal and learn to allow yourself to be happy when you have lived a violent controlled life for so long. The feeling of freedom is amazing. I hate that it happened the way it did, but having my kids removed from my care was the wake up call I needed to know the life I  was living was the wrong one for my kids and I. Now i know it, I’ll never go back to living like that – EVER.♥️

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.

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