Please Note: Potential PTSD trigger warning, particularly for those victims of childhood assault, sexual abuse, domestic violence, emotional abuse
As many of you will know, on 14th February, people were encouraged to share their story, in memory of Reeva
Today, I received an email from an incredibly brave lady. Who wrote to share her story. Her story is one so powerful, It made me cry.
Please don’t remain silent. If you are stuck, please don’t fear that this is it, that you are trapped forever. There is help out there. Please speak out. I know that it can be frightening asking for help. Particularly if you think that nobody will believe you. But as this woman’s story shows. By speaking out, she was able to get out. If you are left isolated from everybody, ask for help from your local domestic violence centre. No matter how bad your situation, or how difficult things are, you can escape. No matter where you are in your journey of recovery. You can recover. You can begin to build a new life.
A readers true story
This is my story I have tried to add to your status regarding Reeva
Stenkamp. I gave this speech for our silent March in November last year which recognises those that have died at the hands of their partner or ex partner. 1 woman a week dies in Australia due to domestic violence. I am assuming the length of my speech wouldnt let me post it. Feel free to add it, I have shared your page and put my speech with it in Memory of Reeva on my page. A victim of domestic abuse never makes it out alive.
A survivor of domestic abuse survives the abuse daily.
A conqueror of domestic abuse is able to break free and tell the whole world
I am a conqueror of domestic abuse, and this is my story.
I survived daily in a relationship that was to last 12 years of my life. I was
already a single mum to a daughter, and was to go on to have 3 more children. I
would love to be able to tell my story in full, but 12 years of abuse is a
novel in the making. Today I will tell you but a hint of my life in domestic
In 1997 I met a man who was to change my world. To me he appeared to be an amazing
man and our relationship progressed very quickly and within a short time I was
pregnant with our first child.
He convinced me I no longer needed to work and I quit my job. I didn’t realise
that he was grooming me by using my lack of confidence in parenting as a single
Slowly, contact with friends and the limited family I had, became rare. I had no clue
how evil this man was that told me he loved me, and the psychological abuse I
was about to suffer.
He began to make suggestions that my daughter would be jealous of the new baby and
he would tell me she was spoilt and ungrateful and it was my fault several times
daily and that he needed to take control of my daughter. He ordered her to
start doing several chores every day. The first time he smacked her, was
because she had left her breakfast dishes in the sink and said this was the
type of discipline needed to pull her into line……after all he was spanked
as a child.
He suggested we get her a puppy, so she had something to focus on when the baby
came. We found a gorgeous staffy pup that my daughter called Bongo. He was
adorable and she loved him.
As soon as we brought Bongo home my ex-partner instructed her that she was
responsible for all the training of him and was not to hold or play with him
unless she was training him. We had a serious argument about this as I didn’t
agree, but as usual he always got his way.
When my partner wasn’t around I would let my daughter play with Bongo, as I
considered it important for them to bond. Whenever my partner caught her
playing with Bongo, he would smack her for being disobedient. I would always
feel guilty about this and curse myself for being such a bad mother. I truly
didn’t see anything wrong with my daughter playing with Bongo.
One day my partner caught my daughter playing with Bongo. He was furious. He
ordered both of us with Bongo into the car. He then went into the shed and came
back with a bag and a hammer. We drove for some time down a dirt road. He
grabbed Bongo, the bag and the hammer and walked off into the bushes. I looked
at my daughter whose eyes were so large with fright, and yet she sat silent.
We heard Bongo’s yelps of pain. We sat frozen listening to the sounds get weaker and weaker.
Finally my ex-partner emerged from the bushes with just the hammer.
He screamed at my daughter and said hehad hated doing that, but it was all her fault, he made her do it.
He also told me it was my fault for letting her play with the puppy.
He would later go on to kill another pet, a cat and then get one of the boys to
burn it and show it as proof of his ability to kill.
My daughter was now getting smacked on a daily basis. If I intervened he would
always smack her harder and more than once, saying it was my fault. I slowly
learnt to stay out of the punishment side of things.
I remember wanting to leave, and I told him this. On the occasions when I tried
to leave he would physically force me to stay. I felt leaving wasn’t an option.
At 34 weeks of pregnancy, my partner discovered that sex brought labour on and so the
doctor ordered no sex, this is when the rapes started.
It became a nightly ritual leaving me physically and emotionally exhausted.
EVERYTHING BECAME TWISTED AND DISTORTED and I felt as if I was in a trance.
My daughter’s chores were increased, and he would smack her harder and for longer,
which made me believe that it was all my fault.
When my son was born, he insisted we leave within the first hour to go home. It was
fine for three days, and then he insisted on having sex. I managed to dissuade
him but I still had to satisfy his needs. I felt so ashamed.
When our first son was two weeks old we moved to another town, and everything
became worse. We were very isolated in a secluded farm house. My ex refused to
pay for my car and license and I could only make local calls.
Two weeks later I fell pregnant with our second son. I was not allowed to attend a
doctor, during this pregnancy. The beatings to my daughter increased I was
becoming emotionally and mentally detached from him, life and my children.
By the time my eldest son was 3, he was being physically punished as well.
During my darkest moments I contemplated suicide, but I could not leave my children
with him, and the thought of taking them with me was more than I could bare.
All this time he never once hit me but financially, emotionally, psychologically and
physically restrained me. He would physically punish my daughter and our other
children on a daily basis afterwards make it very loud and clear that if I
didn’t keep him happy they would continue to be punished.
Many have asked me….”why didn’t you just leave???
My response to that question is…..
Over the 12 years together we relocated 17 times and it was always to isolated or
remote towns or communities. I did not have the opportunity to safely leave
with the children.
On one occasion I had a chance to speak to a doctor telling him my story. His
response was “You need to stop whining and go home and look after your
husband.” I was mortified.
At that point in time I really believed that all this chaos and anger in our home
was my fault. A little voice kept repeating over and over when the abuse was at
its worse that I had made my own bed, and now I had to lie in it!!! Deal with
After that I gave up on the thought of ever leaving. Punishments became more extreme,
and my daughter missed a lot of school due to bruising and swelling to her face.
I went on to have my fourth child in 2003, a daughter. As with all my children I had with him,
we were discharged from hospital within hours of giving birth. My children weren’t seen by child
nurses or clinics until they needed their needles to start school. No-one
questioned why we hadn’t got them at the correct time. Why??? Why didn’t they
Schools didn’t question why we moved so much. WHY??? Why didn’t they question???
My world was a lonely world. Shopping was always attended to with my partner by my side.
Rarely was I given the opportunity to venture to the shop myself, and always I rushed as quickly
as possible for fear he might beat my daughter if I was too long at the shops.
I didn’t know how to change my life or to stop what was happening to my family.
Who would believe me anyway?
In 2010, my eldest daughter ran away, and disclosed to staff at her school that
she was scared for the safety of her baby sister. DCP became involved and
interviewed the children, and although the children told of no abuse I was
asked to attend their office for an interview. I was scared, but if I told them
everything, my children might be safe. I was told that that their father was
sexually abusing at least one of our children.
DCP arranged for me and the children to enter the local woman’s refuge and I
remember how scared I was feeling. The children then went on over the next few
weeks to disclose sexual abuse and that their father had a gun that he held to
my head while I slept. He threatened my son that he would kill me if he ever
told about the abuse.
In conclusion, the children’s father was finally sentenced in March 2013, and
convicted of 22 charges of child abuse, death threats, assaults and neglect
that would see him imprisoned for the next 14 years.
We are still on our journey to healing and I am thankful for the DCP workers and
the school staff that reported the disclosure of abuse. Without them we would
still be living the nightmare or worse.
We are the lucky ones. A lot of women do not have the power to leave their abusive
partner on their own.
The saying “It takes a village to raise a child”, well it takes a community to free
a family stuck in domestic violence.
Community awareness and action is vital to enable women to break free from abuse. The
more people that surround them with support, and offer a safe place to stay as
well as protection from the abuser, the easier it will be for them to leave and
not return to the abuse.
It is hard learning how to live again, doing day to day activities, learning to
smile, to trust and to love. But it is possible and I hope that every other
woman and child living in an abusive home is given the opportunity to break
free with the support they truly do need. I am proof it can be done, and the
strength needed to break free can be built by those that support us whilst we
I am lucky. I conquered domestic abuse. And this is my story……..
Post copyright to the abuse survivor, an incredibly brave woman.
Thank you for sharing.