Forced into a life of fear


Southern Gazette (South Perth) - - Front Page - Su­sanne Reilly

STALKED, abused, iso­lated; this is how 41-year-old Sarah (not her real name) lives.

Two-and-a-half years ago, the south-of-the-river mother met a man who would change her life for­ever, but not in a good way.

One year into their re­la­tion­ship, he be­came abu­sive and con­trol­ling, and iso­lated her from any fam­ily and friends.

She was liv­ing the hell many women around the world fear the most: an abu­sive part­ner from whom she and her chil­dren could not get away.

For the past 18 months, Sarah has had to move house three times and is fight­ing to get a vi­o­lence re­strain­ing or­der after her first ap­pli­ca­tion was thrown out by the mag­is­trate.

“He is a con­vinc­ing liar and the mag­is­trate be­lieved he never threat­ened or abused me,” she said. “He just de­nied it and was backed up by his mother.”

Her part­ner was “con­trol­ling” and “very men­tally abu­sive”. She said he still tor­mented her.

“I got out but he keeps find­ing me,” she said.

“He knows where my mum lives and where I work and just fol­lows me.

“I nearly lost my job over it be­cause he has been caus­ing me so much stress. It is so drain­ing and ex­haust­ing.”

Sarah ex­plained how he would scream and knock on her win­dows at 1am and she would have to let him in to avoid him break­ing the win­dows of her rental prop­erty.

“We just get no peace from him,” she said.

She now lies on the floor when she thinks she can hear or see his truck com­ing down the road.

“I am scared he will see me through the win­dows,” she said.

As a re­sult of the abuse in the house­hold, Sarah's teenage son has be­come angry and with­drawn.

“He is very pro­tec­tive of me but gets very up­set,” she said.

“I don't know how I can keep go­ing on like this. He (the part­ner) has no re­gard for the law and broke the in­terim re­strain­ing or­der; it is caus­ing me so much stress.”

Novem­ber 25 is White Rib­bon Day, an Aus­tralian male-led cam­paign to end vi­o­lence against women.

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