Forced into a life of fear
RELATIONSHIP OVER, TERROR BEGINS
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As a result of the abuse in the household, Sarah's teenage son has become angry and withdrawn.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.