Sis­ter set to be hon­oured

Central Otago Mirror - - NEWS -

Ar­row­town stone sculp­tor Shane Wool­ridge knows only too well the pain of watch­ing a loved one en­dure suf­fer­ing at the hand of a vi­o­lent, abu­sive part­ner. His night­mare be­gan, aged 13, in his home­town in Eng­land. His sis­ter, 15, whom he was ex­tremely close to, fell preg­nant to a 19-yearold known lo­cally as a vi­o­lent trou­ble­maker and eas­ily en­raged. ‘‘When she mar­ried him, we all mar­ried him. He threat­ened all of us. There were reg­u­lar acts of vi­o­lence at our house and the only time we got a rest was if he was in prison, where he went twice for 18 months.’’ He re­calls stand­ing by help­lessly des­per­ate to in­ter­vene as a young boy, while his sis­ter, who was be­ing beaten, would give him that re­as­sur­ing look as if to say ‘‘it’s OK, I can han­dle this’’. Forty years later as Mr Wool­ridge re­counts the story, the pain is still raw. A suc­cess­ful mu­si­cian and win­ner of the first BBC Tele­vi­sion Bat­tle of the Bands se­ries, he wrote a song while liv­ing in New Zealand in 2004. Vi­vas­tar 12 is a trib­ute to his sis­ter and the abuse she’d en­dured. He’ll per­form it as part of Queen­stown’s White Rib­bon anti-vi­o­lence event at Earnslaw Park tomorrow. ‘‘My sis­ter was one of the tough­est women I know – a very prac­ti­cal, head­strong lady – but she re­alised she’d dug this hole and there was no es­cape. She’d have to leave the coun­try or he’d come af­ter her. ‘‘He was very clever, ma­nip­u­la­tive and ex­tremely para­noid, prone to ex­treme bouts of vi­o­lent rage.’’ She en­dured the night­mare for 20 years: ‘‘She couldn’t leave the kids or take them with her, so she waited.’’ As soon as her chil­dren had left home, Mr Wool­ridge, by then in his 30s, went back to Eng­land and helped his sis­ter es­cape to the United States, sneak­ing her be­long­ings, out bit by bit. ‘‘This guy could smell a lie at 100 yards.’’ She stayed with a friend of her friend’s in the United States, where her hus­band could not track her. The pair mar­ried and have been happy and to­gether now for 15 years. Mr Wool­ridge urges fam­ily mem­bers wit­ness­ing any abuse against women to step in and for women to lean on fam­i­lies and friends for sup­port. ‘‘Th­ese women feel trapped, as there are nor­mally chil­dren in­volved. It’s a ter­ri­ble thing. ‘‘Th­ese guys just go on a mis­sion and their whole 100 per cent in­ten­tion is to hunt th­ese women down,’’ he said. He chal­lenged men in­flict­ing any fam­ily vi­o­lence to ‘‘man up’’ and get help.

Photo: SUE FEA

What: White Rib­bon Ride - Queen­stown pic­nic event and Maori wel­come. Bring your lunch, pic­nic rugs pro­vided. Where: Earnslaw Park When: Thurs­day, 1pm. Join the ride: Mo­tor­cy­clists meet at Lake Hayes Pavil­ion at 12.30pm to join the ride into Queen­stown with Queen­stown Lakes Mayor Vanessa van Uden. Trib­ute: Ar­row­town stone sculp­tor Shane Wool­ridge will per­form his song ded­i­cated to his sis­ter, a vic­tim of do­mes­tic abuse, at tomorrow’s White Rib­bon Ride.

Newspapers in English

Newspapers from New Zealand

© PressReader. All rights reserved.