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Day to Day Politics: “Please don’t hit me again”

Today is White Ribbon Day. If per chance you are not aware of its significance. You should. It’s a day we put aside to think about preventing violence, by men against women. Many speak up about it while others suffer its shame in silence.

In our Federal Parliament parliamentarians queued up to deliver their support minus a lived experience of it. Partisan politics was replaced with earnest generosity of heart.

But it is only the power of a survived experience that can move an audience. And so it was when Labor MP Emma Husar recounted her personal story of domestic violence that silence insinuated itself on the chamber.

“For many years I was embarrassed and I was ashamed” she began.

“I know that I shouldn’t be [ashamed], but I am.”

And her tears flowed with the revelation of man’s abiding cruelness.

As a writer I can only use words to protest such callousness.

What follows is a story of fiction that I hope contributes to the “choir of the white ribbon movement”

Please Don’t Hit Me Again

By John Lord

I looked up thinking I had not heard correctly. Attending as many conferences as I did often left me exhausted and I was apt to doze off. I felt an elbow nudge my arm.

‘Did you hear what she just said?’ enquired my research assistant Gabby Hyslop.

‘I think she said. ‘History is just an ongoing commentary on the incompetence of men.’

‘How does that make you feel Nathan Peacock?’ she said with a glowing look of mockery on her face.

‘Shut up and listen will you?’ I said through clenched teeth while straining to listen to the keynote speaker. My ears adjusted and I focused on her next words.

At some time in the human narrative…in our history, man declared himself superior to woman. It must have been an accident, or at least an act of gross stupidity. But that’s men for you’

As a journalist I had heard many a feminist speaker utter words intended to be confrontational but this was planned to provoke even if it sounded trite. She went on.

‘In Australia, the incidence of domestic violence is among the highest in the developed world.’ In 2005, the Australian Bureau of Statistics estimated that one in three women (33 per cent of all women) have experienced physical violence since the age of 15. I leaned over to Gabby and asked.

’What was her name again?’

‘Elisabeth Summers. Wonderful isn’t she?’

‘She knows how to stir the pot.’ I replied.

In fact, she had attracted my attention completely. I sat enthralled even mesmerised not only with the empathy of her delivery but also with its understanding. There was so much juice in the content. So much that I was ignorant about. Then she moved onto the millennium goals.

‘You might remember that in the year 2000 world leaders set targets to be met by 2015. One of the targets related to Universal Education with the aim being that boys and girls everywhere would at least finish their primary education. I am here today to tell you that these targets will not be met. Girls are still far more disadvantaged than boys and if we look carefully at the trends we can see’…she went on. ‘Another target was that of gender equality with the aim of lifting the rates of women’s wages and political representation. Again, the progress will be insufficient to reach the targets set.’

At this point, she stopped indicating that it was time for the lunch break and she would be back in forty minutes. The audience applauded enthusiastically. Gabby and I stood.

‘I’ll buy you lunch Gabby.’

‘Not before time’ she protested.

When we were seated in the convention restaurant Gabby asked me what I thought of Elizabeth Summers address.

‘Excellent’ I said. ‘She does not mind being confrontational. I think it’s about time men became more responsible for their actions.’

‘That’s a narrow focus Nathan. There’s more to it than that. It’s also about how society it’s culture and how men have related to women historically’.

‘I’m going to rely on you a lot for this story Gabby. I’m not well versed on domestic violence issues. I hope you are’. As soon as I said it, she looked at me with a sadness that made me look away. ‘Have I upset you?’ I said.

‘No it’s something from the past. Will you excuse me? I need to visit the ladies room. I thought I would be able to handle this.’

When she returned, she was composed and relaxed. I tried to apologise again even though I was uncertain as to what I had said to upset her.

‘Nathan’ she said. ‘I am eminently qualified to assist you for this story. I am a victim of domestic violence.’

Too say I was staggered would be an understatement. I had been working with Gabby for a little over six months. I knew that she had been out of the work force for some time and was recently divorced but this came as a complete surprise. She was always fun to be around and seemed to be well-adjusted emotionally.

‘Did Bert Flannery know about this when he assigned you to me?’ I asked.

‘No’ she answered. He is unaware of my past. (Bert was our editor and handed out all the assignments.)

‘That’s good to hear. It’s just the sort of thing he would do. Do you feel like eating?’

I ordered for both of us and made a small joke about being chauvinistic in doing so. We ate in silence for a while and then I asked her if she would be prepared to tell me her story.

‘Off the record or do you want to quote me in your piece?’

‘I want to write the best story I can and you don’t need to research this one. You are the story.’

‘Just a small part of it’ she said adding.’ There are thousands of women. No millions of women who are mistreated by men throughout the world’.

‘Then let me write your story?’

‘Can I trust you?’ she said looking deeply into the recesses of my eyes.

‘I believe I can Nathan Peacock’ she said with a smile. ‘I have seen you stand up to Bert Flannery on matters of principle. In fact I will give you the ending now. It will give you something to think about’.

With that, she made the following statement. ’The way you think and feel about yourself affects every aspect of your life. When you love, accept, respect and approve of yourself, you validate your existence’.

‘That’s the end.’ I said. It sounds like a beginning.

‘Yes’ she answered. Well it’s probably both. However, it’s a journey we should not have to take. Can we have dinner tonight and I will tell you my story? A bell rang to indicate that the lunch break was over.

I opened the door to the conference room to allow Gabby through. She thanked me and a very attractive sophisticated woman of about twenty-five went through. As she passed she said.

‘Oh, you didn’t need to hold the door open just because I’m a woman.’

‘Well I didn’t open it just because you’re a woman. I opened it because I’m a gentleman.’ I said with a trace of heightened annoyance. When we sat down I told Gabby that I was all for women asserting themselves so long as they didn’t lose their femininity. Men must be allowed the indulgence of appreciation. Gabby congratulated me on my handling of the situation.

‘Some of them take it a bit for granted. Instead of being equal they have a need to be superior.’ she said. ‘They seem to confuse equality with assertiveness where as both require each other.’

Elizabeth Summer’s first words after the lunch recess were. ‘Women need to be free to be strong and men have to be free to be gentle and vulnerable. The Church will never be complete without the fullness of femininity.’

Now it’s the Church’s turn I thought.

When the church shows less inclusiveness care and love than society then it is time for it to re appraise itself. Let me refer you to some recent decisions of the church. In the United States last year, the Southern Baptist Union officially declared that according to scripture women were inferior to men. This decision led to former President Jimmy Carter resigning from it. More recently, Pope Benedict declared that anyone promoting the ascension of women to any form of ministry equal to that of men would be committing a sin equal to pedophilia. She went on to criticise the church for it’s hypocrisy and inaction on women’s issues. I looked at Gabby seeking confirmation of Elizabeth Summers accusations. She gave me a ‘let’s talk later look’ and I returned my attention to the podium. She now launched into a historical summation on the progress of the women’s movement, concluding that in terms of equality women had advanced very little over the centuries. She even mentioned how the early church had debated for almost a century what the correct position was for women in intercourse. ’Wow’ I thought. I am going through a steep learning curve. Her address ended to thunderous applause from a predominately feminine audience. Gabby and I made our way into the lobby where I brought us both a coffee. We agreed to meet at seven for dinner in the hotel restaurant.

Gabby’s Story

Dinner was relaxed and pleasant. Gabby had the most engaging personality and I failed to see how any man could be abusive toward her. When we finished I reminded her that she was going to tell me her story.

‘I haven’t forgotten. It’s just that I may become a little emotional and I don’t want to embarrass you here. Can we go to your room?’

‘Are you okay with that?’ I said.

‘I said I trust you Nathan’ she replied.

She asked for a glass of water and began.

‘I believe he was a product of his upbringing. All the signs were there. His temper was on display early in our relationship. He pressed me to have sex with him and when I refused; his temper got the better of him. He would put me down in front of people and call me all sorts of offensive things using the foulest language. He didn’t abuse me physically, that came after we were married. In fact, at twenty I decided to marry in the hope that he would settle down.’

I interrupted and asked why she didn’t break it off if she knew what he was like.

‘Well Nathan’ she answered. ‘Love can be so blind.’ Even intelligent women are fooled by it. It was only later when I was forced to look back on our relationship, that it all became clear to me. I lived in an alien surreal world of denial. I had been a fool not to see it but my story is common to many women. His temper tantrums at the football club were but one example. In the end, the club banned him. I thought it was only when he was drinking but it wasn’t. He would become extremely angry at the slightest provocation. Everything was always someone else’s fault and his parents seemed to condone his behavior by always making excuses for him. I think his father had a big influence on him. He didn’t treat his wife very well insisting that women needed to know their place in the scheme of things. I think that probably had a large effect on his behavior. He had issues at high school and was eventually expelled. But he could talk. By God, he could talk and he could wrap me around his little finger. He was often sweet and kind and made me laugh at the simplest things. I overlooked his bad behavior mistakenly believing that I could change him. I even ignored my friend’s advice when they doubted the sincerity of our relationship, saying that they were not privy to Paul’s other side. My parents were distraught at the thought of me marrying him and only agreed after my father had spoken firmly to him.’

The first night of our marriage was a disaster. Paul had given a poor speech at the wedding and people were offended at some of his crass references to my family. I told him how spiteful his comments were and that was the first time he hit me. That night I lost my virginity in unspeakable circumstances. Then he told me how he expected me to behave in our relationship. I became pregnant that night and when I later gave the news to Paul, he seemed genuinely excited. He even gave me reason to believe that he might change. It was short-lived however. When the pressures of fatherhood became apparent to him, he drank more and slapped me around.

When Kelly was born he resented her saying he would rather have had a boy. His drinking increased and so did my beatings. I became expert at hiding bruises and cuts. I always carried dark sunglasses to hide my black eyes. As he drank more the less money, he gave me for food. Then he took it out on me when there was no food on the table. He demanded sex whenever it took his fancy and I hated the thought of him coming near me. On many occasions, I asked him to take counselling but this always ended in a tirade of vile abuse that left me with a guilt complex. My husband was really an animal masquerading as a man.

I put up with it for twelve years. I learned to live within myself. To hide within my thoughts and sorrows. Strangely, though, there were some good times. Paul seemed a little more attached to Kelly, as she grew older. Well until she was old, enough to know what was happening. Then she would have nothing to do with him. When she was ten, he made sexual advances. She rejected him by footing him in the crown jewels.

‘Good on her’ I interjected. ‘How did it all end

‘Well I left him a couple of times but he always sweet-talked me into returning. Then one Friday night he came home drunk and demanded his dinner. Because he was late, his had gone cold and when I re heated it he said it was crap. He flew into a horrible rage, threw his plate at me hitting me on my left cheek. I began to bleed. Then he started punching me. I fell to the floor and he kicked me repeatedly. He broke some ribs and my right cheekbone was shattered. The rest is a little hazy because I kept going in and out of consciousness.

‘The next thing I remember was lying in a hospital bed with Kelly and my parents looking down at me. My mother was crying uncontrollably. I found it difficult to put all the pieces together. Then it all came flooding back. I remember Kelly screaming. I saw her hit Paul over the back of his head with the steel pan I had used to reheat his meal. For a girl of twelve she was strong and when she connected, Paul collapsed on top of me and I couldn’t move. That’s all I remember. Apparently, Kelly phoned Dad who in turn called the police. My father told me how courageous Kelly had been. When he arrived, Kelly had let him in and returned to try to get Paul off me. Paul had recovered enough to get to his knees, Kelly hit him again with the pan, and he was out like a light. Dad quickly summed up the situation and called an ambulance.’

‘So what was the wash-up?’ I asked.

‘The wash-up is that Paul got three years for assault causing grievous bodily harm and a fractured skull. Kelly received a bravery award; I got a divorce and a new life.’

When she closed the door to return to her room I knew that something in my life had changed. I wondered if I could ever look at a woman in the same way again. I began to think about my relationship with women. I had been married and divorced twice. I thought I loved both of them but they both complained about the one-sidedness of the relationship. I went to bed and drifted off to sleep with a troubled mind.

I arose early and went down to the restaurant for breakfast. I took a table near the window overlooking Sydney Harbor Bridge, and ordered a coffee. While I was looking through the menu, I heard a voice say.

‘Mind if I join you?’

I looked up to see the smiling face of Elizabeth Summers. She looked even more attractive up close than she did at the podium.

‘Of course.’ I said. ‘I should think it an honour.’

‘How chivalrous.’ she said. ‘Even old fashioned but lovely at the same time.’

‘I guess I was raised on manners of the traditional kind.’

‘Why did you say an honour?’

I told her I thought I had learnt more about women at the conference than I had in two marriages.

‘Now I recognize you. You were sitting with Gabby yesterday.’

‘You know Gabby’

‘Yes we attend the same Church.’

‘Church.’ I said with some trepidation.

‘But yesterday when you mentioned the church I took it to be in a derogatory manner.’

‘Well I’m sorry if it came over that way. It wasn’t my intention. Perhaps I should explain. You see churches in general do magnificent work in many areas of need but sometimes they think they have ownership of righteousness and that’s not true. Many institutions have similar values. Institutional Churches shouldn’t be beyond criticism. The Church that Gabby and I attend is progressive in terms of understanding women’s rights and our search for equality. Gabby is in fact attending a course run by the church for women who have experienced abuse. Her daughter also attends. The course is very successful especially with reintroducing victims to the real qualities of men.’

‘And what might they be’ I asked.

‘I think it’s what I said in my address yesterday. Men need to be free to be gentle and vulnerable’

‘Can you expand on that?’

‘I think some men because of their culture or their upbringing find it difficult to love themselves because society tells them they are superior from birth.

‘I can relate to that’ I said.

‘But there are others who are weak because they inherit all the faults that parents, teachers and other significant people in their lives heap on them in their childhood.

‘That’s fascinating. I said. ‘Would you consider an interview? I’m writing a story on domestic violence. Gabby is my research assistant.’

Before she could answer, Gabby arrived at the table.

‘You’re looking particularly radiant this morning’ I said as she took a chair.

‘Why, how complimentary Nathan’ she answered.

‘Yes but does he understand that gender equality is a moral challenge’ said Elizabeth Summers. ‘That’s the point.’

The end

My thought for the day.

’The way you think and feel about yourself affects every aspect of your life. When you love, accept, respect and approve of yourself, you validate your existence and give approval to it’.

Maria I called

I awoke with a throaty dankness

Of alcohol overindulged

Detestable stupidity

And unmitigated sorrow

The why of it deserted me

Memories vague but real

I had committed a sin

Of unforgiving evil

Then my conscience

Spoke with morose meaning

I had hit her a cowards punch

Destroying her exquisite smile

Maria I called to the silence

But it prevailed

God I said as if to mock my

Self hatred

I pissed and staggered

Through my regrets

To the kitchen

The stench of myself hit me

Where was she and

The noise that children make

Regret insinuated itself

On the absence of love

She had written with miseries ink

Just three words

The last time, on pristine white

I cursed the grog but

Pathetically I sought the

Next bottle of my degeneracy

And took it to bed

Contemplating the me I used to be.

 

15 comments

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  1. All Women Are Easy Targets

    You would go a loooooooooooooooong way before you found a woman who hasn’t been sexually assaulted in some way and just because you haven’t done that to her doesn’t mean someone else hasn’t. A looooooooooooooooooooooong way – if you found a woman at all.

  2. Kaye Lee

    It would be hard to find a woman who hasn’t been groped. I don’t think men even consider this assault.

  3. corvus boreus

    I got some perspective during a conversation with a female colleague of respectable, comfortable family background.
    She blandly stated that, from her early teens, she routinely had to evade the lecherous paws of a number of her fathers friends.

  4. John Kelly

    Not intending any disrespect to the female victims of cowardly domestic violence, but “please don’t hit me again” is what I use to say when being regularly strapped by the Marist brothers for the most trivial of reasons at school.

  5. Kaye Lee

    Those who rail on about feminists and minority advocates and political correctness stifling their free speech, fail to understand how much their words matter. Sure, the person saying the words may have no violent tendencies whatsoever, but the poorly educated frustrated people hearing their words may not choose words to express their anger.

    Denigrating women or ethnic groups legitimises violence.

    But listen to what our privileged leaders and media say…..

    > A major incident that damaged Downer’s leadership was a scandal which happened at a formal dinner. While promoting the Liberal slogan “The Things That Matter”, Downer joked that the party’s domestic violence policy would accordingly be named “The Things That Batter”, referring to abusive husbands.

    > TONY ABBOTT: “If we’re honest, most of us would accept that a bad boss is a little bit like a bad father or a bad husband … you find that he tends to do more good than harm. He might be a bad boss but at least he’s employing someone while he is in fact a boss.”

    > Julie Bishop told fashion magazine Harper’s Bazaar that she is not a feminist and that women should “stop whingeing and just get on with it.”

    “Please do not let it get to you and do not become a victim, because it’s only a downward spiral once you’ve cast yourself as a victim,” Bishop told the fashion magazine.

    > MICHAELIA CASH: “In terms of feminism, I’ve never been someone who really associates with that movement. That movement was a set of ideologies from many, many decades ago now.”

    > “We need a full overview of the child support system and the family law courts to find the answers (because) you know some (women) are going out there and claiming domestic violence because they’re told ‘I don’t like the colour of your dress’,” Ms Hanson said.

    “They (women) are making frivolous complaints and it’s time that our court system (is looked at) – especially for men who are the subject of domestic violence themselves.

    “Men have nowhere to go – (domestic violence against males) is very widely spread.

    > MIRANDA DEVINE: “feminism is now well past its use-by date. It has just become an excuse for unhinged individuals with Daddy issues to indulge a mean streak.”

  6. Harquebus

    I did read an article recently that stated that, it was with the advent of agriculture that strong labouring males evolved and began to dominate women and the weaker males.
    If I can find it, I will post it.
    Cheers.

  7. Kaye Lee

    Harquebus, it was when they started accumulating possessions so men wanted to be sure that their possessions were passed down to their own progeny – hence monogamy, at least on the part of women, was the beginning of capitalism. This is Engels theory.

    The Marxian argument concerning male and female inequality is that male dominance began with the development of private property in agricultural societies.

    The most important work, and basic reference point, in Marxist feminism is Friedrich Engels, The Origin of the Family, Private Property and the State.

    http://uregina.ca/~gingrich/250f503.htm

  8. wam

    Dear Lord,
    What a struggle today rescued by Kaye Lee.

    The rabbott’s private school religious women, like cash, bishop, o’dwyer, susson everything and payne are believers that ‘even intelligent woman’ are not equal to men but they are exceptional.
    Until women embrace the possibility that your thought refers to them and that god didn’t give them a physical and mental flaw to deliberately make them satisfy the rabbott’s assessment
    “I think it would be folly to expect that women will ever dominate or even approach equal representation in a large number of areas simply because their aptitudes, abilities and interests are different for physiological reasons”
    It seems obvious that the god bothering boys avoid any investigation into the beliefs that surround terror in case the beliefs that surround politics come under scrutiny. Women are trapped by these religious beliefs.
    With the proliferation of religious schools not only creaming billions from the federal coffers but worse indoctrinating the future politicians on the gender weakness, there is little chance that violence towards women will abate.
    ps
    john kelly what a brain snap. Millions of us, in hindsight, are lucky the only thing in our hands were the nuns rulers and on our arses were the brothers strap, cane or yardstick but only bullies got ‘please don’t hit me again’ in my day.

  9. Kyran

    Excerpts of Ms Husar’s speech were played on the radio yesterday, which reminded me of a book written by Kay Schubach many years ago, ‘Perfect Stranger’. As with ‘Gabby’s story’, it detailed a relationship that went horribly wrong. Ms Schubach has since become a leading advocate in the DV discussion in NSW.
    As with anything associated with the neanderthals occupying the front bench, there will be lots of shallow, meaningless platitudes offered in honour of the occasion, and then nothing. Silence. Inaction.
    Nothing.
    This bloke, Andrews, in Victoria announced more initiatives yesterday to address family violence. What was truly heartening was hearing advocates speaking to the measures. They sounded hopeful, positive, more reassured. They sounded confident that they were, at last, not just being listened to. It was largely their work through their contributions to the DV RC that was being accepted as fact and acted upon.
    It struck me that it must be soul destroying to be a victim of DV in other states. To have to endure, day after day, an abusive relationship, knowing the only alternative is a broken system. Knowing there will be nothing offered at a federal level other than the meaningless platitudes of buffoons.
    One of the comments from this bloke, Andrews, was interesting. He is, clearly, aware of the reality that nothing will occur on a federal level at the instigation of the federal government. His government and their government just haven’t been playing nicely together.
    The interesting comment was in regard to the funding of the initiatives and the possibility of any federal contribution. He dismissed, outright, any prospect of federal contribution and was adamant that all of the funding promised to date was ‘guaranteed’. He did, however, state he had already had the matter tabled for the next COAG meeting, with a view to getting the other states on board. He appears to be working on the theory that, if he can convince enough of his state counterparts to sign up, they can issue an ultimatum to the federal government to make it a national reform.
    Various state governments have been ‘admonished’ by the federal government regarding their emission targets as they are out of step with the federal governments targets. It is also an agenda item for the next COAG meeting.
    Maybe, just maybe, there is something to be hopeful about.
    Thank you Mr Lord. Take care

  10. Tracie

    I couldn’t read all of this.

    To put it bluntly, most DV incidents are similar to mine – they start off as charming as hell, and then after a while become hell. They usually don’t start off quickly as being DV, as the victim can very quickly figure it out and then leave.

    John, I was never hit. Parts of this article are misleading in how it goes.

    Thanks Kaye. I was able to read your comments. Anyone denigrating Kaye should be ashamed of yourselves. She stands up for people like me, and I will quickly put you in your places, particularly about this topic.

    For those downgrading DV on this site, you can all go to hell. You’re small minded little wankers who should show infinitely more respect than what you do – not just to others but also to yourselves.

    Everything I do relates directly and indirectly to the DV I had the misfortune to experience. Today is a day I take second by second.

  11. Kaye Lee

    Emma Husar’s simple speech was profound in so many respects.

    She explained the childhood trauma that will stay with her forever, even though she wasn’t the one being hit. She feels the guilt of a survivor, she felt the blows the same as if they were landing on her. She feels the shame of the police coming and the displacement of lying in a strange bed in a noisy hotel. She feels the uncertainty, the insecurity, the fear.

    And now she feels overwhelming shame that she “allowed” herself to become a victim. On a conscious level she can say she shouldn’t be the one feeling ashamed but on a gutwrenching visceral level she admits that she does. Society tells her to pull herself together, to be strong, to stand up to the bully, or just leave (like that automatically stops the nightmare). So she feels the despair, the inadequacy, of not being able to make it all better – it’s her fault, her failing.

    My heart breaks for the cruelty we inflict on each other.

  12. Tracie

    I also have had survivor’s guilt, although won’t go into detail.

    I refuse to feel guilt or shame for their actions on me. I know they won’t feel it, and they tried to force me to be responsible for their actions. I refuse that too.

    When he tried to murder me, I didn’t feel fear. Others had felt the fear of what happened to me. They were shocked. For me, he had been manipulating the situation for a long time. He was very melodramatic. It’s ironic what happens in private. Perpetrators tend to make the public believe they are the reasonable ones, when in private they are so incredibly melodramatic. When victims come out and talk about their experiences, due to the melodramatic behaviour it doesn’t really mix very well with the public persona.

    I do have evidence of him being melodramatic. My grandfather had made a clothes horse. It’s part of my inheritance. The ex partner threw it across the room, breaking part of it. I still have to be careful with it. Now I think of my grandfather rather than what that ex had done.

    Another ironic thing is that I can’t recall the exact date and time when the abuse started. I remember him continually telling me that I couldn’t communicate and I needed him to communicate on behalf of me. That was the start of it. I can’t remember the date and time of when he put his hand through the windscreen of the car, although I do know the circumstances behind it. I can’t remember when he threw mobile phones across the room, but I do remember THAT he threw his friend’s mobile phone, smashing it into pieces. I remember when he gave me a really dirty look, before washing his face in the early afternoon and then smoking 6 cones to start his day.

    I never have been able to go to the police, but seeing as I’m now being believed (finally) it doesn’t matter so much.

    It’s been 14 years since all of this happened. Some dates I remember. Due to aspects of PTSD, other dates I don’t remember.

    Unfortunately for me, many older men have decided to sexually assault me, thinking I’m a target. After therapy, I’m never going to allow that to happen again, without consequences. The last guy was given details to the police.

    This is what this society has come to – seeing a vulnerable woman and thinking that she’s a target. There’s such a lack of respect in this society.

    Being strong is being sensitive. Thinking of others. Not seeing people as a target. Letting others talk. Letting others be.

  13. abbienoiraude

    Reading ‘RedHeart’ stories brought me to a place that I can no longer read them….On and on they go, like John’s story.
    Why would someone like me, who has never experienced DV ( my parents were loving and caring and constantly romantic and adoring of each other..and me who was lucky enough to have a long marriage of adoration and kindness) want to steep myself in such pain?

    My daughter.
    DV or FV or VAW should also incorporate Domestic Abuse/Family Abuse/Abuse against Women…for ‘Abuse’ encompasses the slow rise of ‘Violence’. Physical violence is the ultimate extension on abuse. It is so hard to speak of differing kinds of DV when Abuse is abuse is abuse.

    Psychological abuse is intertwined with emotional abuse underlined by Financial abuse. These abuses are also ‘Violence against women’ for all of them incorporate the control factor of DV.

    Britain finally has recognised ‘Coercive Control’ as illegal abuse against women.

    How long will it take Australia to get to this place, when we can’t even recognise, support, help, raise up the needs of women being physically abused.

    There are always signs..slow, gradual, manipulating, controlling signs….( one of the greatest is to see how the perpetrator was shown how to be a ‘man’.)

    We were ‘lucky’ because we got our daughter out ( of Victoria) before the physical started as the signals started ( throwing punches near her head, throwing objects toward her, anger management problems)…but not before her sense of self was almost totally obliterated.

    It has now been two years….with her little one in tow…she is now (finally) in counselling and garnering her life back, but it has not been without trauma and setbacks. As her parents we can only say, do, act in limited ways…she is after all an adult and a mum herself.

    He followed her here…to around the corner from her.
    She got an AVO and it meant nothing. When he tried to approach and hug her the police said: “Well he didn’t hurt you did he?”
    Well…yes actually it traumatised her all over again. So much for AVO/IVO/DVO whatever you want to call them.

    The ‘family lawyer’ she retained in Melbourne took the only money she could squirrel together after 13 years of working…$16k ( after her ex took her $40k she had saved) for NOTHING. No advice, no help no nothing.

    Money is everything to women experiencing DV for without it there is nowhere to go. Abbott took away any support for women’s refuges, Legal Aid has been bled dry ( they said; You have $1000 come back when you have NOTHING then we may help)…there is nowhere, nothing for a woman with a child who is fleeing ABUSE, leaving her home, her career, her friends, her life….and the feeling of failure after being independent since she was 17 to return to her ‘parents home’ in her 30’s was so damaging, but not as damaging as staying.

    Domestic Abuse is complex and at times over ridden by the Men’s Groups calling “unfair unfair/ us too us too”.

    Without us, her parents on DSP we wonder where her and her little one would have been able to go. Nowhere? Then stay and be broken forever and ever.

  14. Kaye Lee

    abbienoiraude,

    I am all in favour of prevention and support programs but, having worked in a refuge, I know the urgent need for there to be somewhere safe to go in crisis time.

    Ours was a refuge for 15-21 year olds who suddenly had to become independent adults. Most of these kids had no role models on how to cope and were thrown into the deep end with few life skills.

    Mothers always have the added stress of their need to protect their children – but they also must provide for them, so they sometimes sacrifice themselves trying to stay for financial reasons.

    I wish we didn’t need refuges – but we do. The cuts to funding by the smiling Mike Baird have been disastrous, exacerbated by the Federal government walking away from their funding as well.

    They quarantine defence spending from any cuts – in fact they have seen huge increases in every Coalition budget – refuges and affordable housing should not be considered when looking for budget restraint.

    They love to talk about how many teaching hospitals we don’t build because of the interest we pay on our debt – or they used to. How many lives do we destroy by failing to provide safe haven and what is the community cost of the damage to those lives and the lost potential?

    I am glad you could help your daughter and grandchild. I hope she can, in time and with support, rebuild her life

  15. Deanna Jones

    Abbienoiraude, our family law act does state all of those things as family violence.

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