“My abuser was placed on a good behavior bond – that means he can contact me as he pleases and he can locate me if he feels the urge. The thought of this just scares me”. – Domestic violence survivor Kym.
Kym is slowly rebuilding her life after surviving domestic violence ♥️
How I survived nine years of psychological hell…
I was with my abuser for nine years. We were married for three years. At first life was great, which I think is why it took me so long to get out of the situation. For most of the years we were together I would constantly suffer with emotional and verbal abuse. At first I never thought anything of it, I just thought “it’s OK, all couples have their fair share of arguments.”
However, while I kept thinking it was normal, deep down I felt as though something wasn’t right. If I ever asked him to help me with something, for example cleaning, I would cop an hour of more of verbal abuse. Despite the fact that I was always the one working to bring in the extra income. I was never allowed to spend my earnings on something for me. He would always abuse me to get his way.
If I denied him what he wanted – for example a new game – he would literally get up in my face and verbally abuse me until he got his way. I got to the point where i didn’t want to suffer more of this trauma, so I just gave in. I guess with me finally giving in he realised that if he wanted his own way all he’d have to do was verbally abuse me until I gave up.
If you hear it enough, you begin to believe it…
Over the years he would constantly put me down and belittle me, calling me fat and useless – among other things. After hearing it so often, I started to believe that I was “fat and useless” and all the other things he said. I would clean the house on my own, but if it was not up to his standards I would cop even more verbal abuse. If I asked him to help clean he would start yelling abuse at me like “what are you? Fucking useless? You can’t even clean a house fucking properly.” In the end, i just gave up asking for his help.
Everybody has a breaking point – this was mine…
The breaking point for me was when I was at work and he came into my workplace and verbally abused me in front of my customers and his six-year-old nephew. After that incident I knew that I had to do something, so on my next day off I went to my sister’s house and stayed for a couple of weeks. I asked him to not contact me as I needed some time to myself.
However, he did not respect my wishes and he continued to harass me. I ended up going to NSW for my cousin’s funeral and – although he knew where I was and why i was there – he continued to harass me. I told him to “leave me alone”, “we are separated”, and that I was already coping with enough trying to come to terms with the sudden death of my cousin. I didn’t need him making the situation worse than it was.
Driving back from NSW, I pulled over for a break.Then the phone rang – it was him, demanding to know where I was and who I was with. I told him that it was no longer his business, we were separated and “you no longer have control over where I go or who I spend time with”. He didn’t like this and I copped even more verbal abuse. The minute he started abusing me I hung up the phone. But that just made him even more angry. He continued to phone me but I was driving and I couldn’t answer. Overtime he called he left another abusive message.
There was just no escaping him…
I arrived back in Brisbane and stopped at the local store to pick up a few things. He was there. He started abusing me, wanting to know why I had hung up on him, why I had not answered the phone, where “the hell” had I been and who I had been with. I told him to “leave me alone” and that I didn’t want to talk to him. I got in my car and drove straight to the police station.
The police took my statement and they took photographs of all the messages he sent me via text and Facebook. The officer spoke to his supervisor. He came back and said “unfortunately” there wasn’t enough evidence for them to place an immediate protection order.
However, I could put in a private application to the courts. He gave me the number for DVConnect, I spoke to a lady about my situation. She said she would call back with arrangements for safe accommodation. After 10 minutes went by I received a call back and the lady said they’d arranged for me to book into a motel for the weekend because there was no bed available in any of the women’s shelters. I stayed in the motel, but due to not being able to contact anyone I felt so alone. I decided that I would go back to NSW to be near my family who would give me the support I needed.
Sometimes it feels like I’ll never be free and that chills me to the bone…
I spent about three months in NSW, apart from coming back to Brisbane to arrange court proceedings. The first court appearance went very well and I was granted a temporary protection order. The second didn’t go as well as I had hoped. My abuser was placed on a good behavior bond – that means he can contact me as he pleases and he can locate me if he feels the urge. The thought of this just scares me.
I guess the moral of my story is I was too blind to see what was happening around me. It took me so long to realise that what was going on was wrong and I think I only woke up to the truth after having a few conversations with a very good friend. My friend saw what it was doing to my health and self-esteem and he helped me realise that what was happening to me was not OK and I needed to get out. ♥️
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.