Finding a better place
NOBODY knows what happens behind closed doors, according to a woman who left an abusive relationship and lived in a Fremantle women’s refuge for three months.
The woman, who did not want to be identified, said she left her husband of 15 years after a physical incident.
“There was financial and emotional abuse and the physical incident was the last straw for me,” she said.
“On the outside he was one person, but behind closed doors he changed; he was narcissistic and controlling.
“He is vindictive now that I’ve left and has made false accusations to make himself look like the innocent one.
“I thought I was going crazy. He made me think there were cameras in the house and that he watched my every move. It was all mind games.”
The domestic violence survivor said having lived through years of emotional abuse, she did not recognise the signs.
It was only after leaving the relationship she started to have “light bulb moments” that what she had experienced was “abusive behaviour”.
“I was told I was good for nothing, that I was fat, that I wasn’t a good mum,” she said.
“I lost four friends. When you go through this you lose more than just your friends or family, you lose yourself.”
The mother-of-three said following several attempts to leave the relationship she finally got the courage to go to the police and leave for good last year.
“I had left before but only for a couple of hours and once overnight, but I came back,” she said.
“I went to the police to let them know that a physical incident took place but I didn’t want him charged at the time.
“I didn’t want him to lose his business but looking back I wish I did do it.
“For a month I was slowly packing stuff to go, getting birth certificates, iPads and crayons for the kids.
“The police passed me on to the women from the Family and Domestic Violence Response Team.
“They gave me options and the day before I left I called them, unsure of what I was going to do, and they supported me.
“The women and the refuges have been fantastic. They never judged me, they treated me like an ordinary mum of three and let me talk whenever I needed.”
After living in the Fremantle Warrawee Refuge for three months last year, she said she was now in a better place but more funding was needed for survivors of domestic violence.
“More funding is needed for refuges because they are so important,” she said.
“I am grateful that I have a roof over my head and there is laughter again in my house.”
One in six woman (1.6 million) have experienced physical and/or sexual violence by a cohabiting partner after turning 15. Source: Family, domestic and sexual violence in Australia, 2018.
Nearly 2.1 million men and women have seen violence towards their mother by a partner Source: Family, domestic and sexual violence in Australia, 2018.