Aussie mum’s hell – held cap­tive on Christ­mas Day, how I es­caped my twisted at­tacker

Jane* of Bund­aberg, Qld, was held cap­tive and beaten be­fore she man­aged to es­cape

that's life (Australia) - - Contents -

Hold­ing the phone, I lis­tened to my part­ner’s sooth­ing voice. ‘I want to fix this fam­ily,’ he said.

Hear­ing that, I burst into happy tears. It felt like I had my old John* back.

We had two lit­tle boys, eight and seven, and I was four months preg­nant with our third.

But for the past few months, the kids and I had been liv­ing in a women’s refuge.

After I’d met John through friends we were bliss­fully happy. Dur­ing our first year to­gether though, there were glimpses of a dif­fer­ent side to him.

Jeal­ous and con­trol­ling, John made me throw out cer­tain clothes and ac­cused me of cheat­ing. Even­tu­ally it got so bad that I was made to give up work and barely spoke to my fam­ily.

Then John started be­ing vi­o­lent. He’d whip me with a belt for hours or smack a thong on my legs.

One time, he smashed a cof­fee mug on to my leg so hard that it sliced right through to my kneecap.

Now, John was swear­ing things would be dif­fer­ent.

‘Please don’t be scared,’ he said. ‘I prom­ise I’ll never hurt you again.’

Be­liev­ing him, the boys and I moved back home.

At first it was great and we en­joyed lots of fam­ily time to­gether. But within a fort­night, John started hit­ting me again.

He’d lock me in the closet with no food or wa­ter.

An­other time, he doused me with petrol.

‘I’m go­ing to kill you,’ he spat, vi­ciously.

It was a re­lent­less cy­cle of abuse and tor­ment, and the

whole time I was ter­ri­fied I was go­ing to lose the baby.

I just didn’t know how to leave him though.

Then, in De­cem­ber 2016, my waters broke.

John told me to get in the car so we could go to hospi­tal.

But in­stead, he spent hours driv­ing around – while con­trac­tions ripped through me – con­vinced I’d tell the nurses about the abuse.

At one point he said, ‘I’m go­ing to drive us into this truck and kill both of us.’ Sob­bing, I begged him not to.

Then all of a sud­den he switched and de­cided to take me to Emer­gency.

Be­fore walk­ing in, he forced me to cover my bruises with make-up.

It was such a re­lief when baby Lu­cas* ar­rived healthy.

Doc­tors wanted to keep me in overnight, but John wouldn’t let me stay.

So just six hours after Lu­cas was born, he forced us to leave.

A few weeks later, on Christ­mas Eve, he made me wrap all the gifts and put them un­der the tree.

But at 4am, John woke me. ‘You’re not com­ing out of this bed­room,’ he smirked.

Then he let the boys open their gifts. My heart broke.

Un­able to see their ex­cited faces, I blocked my ears so I couldn’t hear the joy I was miss­ing out on.

After that, the tor­ture con­tin­ued.

On New Year’s Day, John locked me in the garage for five hours.

He put a noose around my neck and tied up my arms and legs, be­fore kick­ing, punch­ing and hit­ting me.

Even­tu­ally I was al­lowed in the house, but only to sleep on the bed­room floor.

Over the next few days, he kept me locked in the room.

He tried to pour bleach in my mouth and smashed a ham­mer han­dle over my arms and legs. As I lay on the bed­room floor with the baby one evening, John was passed out in the bed.

I can’t take this any­more, I thought, des­per­ately.

By now, I’d been held cap­tive for four days.

This was my chance to es­cape.

At first, I went to wake the boys, but there was no chance of get­ting them out with­out dis­turb­ing John.

Heart thud­ding, I care­fully crept down the stairs with Lu­cas in my arms.

Gen­tly pick­ing up the car keys, I tried the front door, but it squeaked.

So I went to the garage door, but I couldn’t get the lock un­done.

Each twist be­came more des­per­ate as the fear of John catch­ing me in­ten­si­fied.

Fi­nally! I breathed as it opened. Then I was at the car.

My legs were so badly beaten that I could barely lift them, but adren­a­line took over and I was soon speed­ing to the po­lice sta­tion.

As I hob­bled to the door, the of­fi­cer’s jaw dropped when he saw my bat­tered body and he rushed to stop me col­laps­ing.

‘Please help me,’ I sobbed.

I was taken straight to hospi­tal where the doc­tors dis­cov­ered I had a bro­ken leg, ribs, cheek­bone and frac­tured fingers and toes.

They had to give me a catheter, as I couldn’t even walk to the bath­room.

When po­lice went to find John, they dis­cov­ered he’d fled the house with the boys.

After an agonising week, an of­fi­cer called – John had been ar­rested and the boys were safe.

I cried with hap­pi­ness as I was re­united with them.

In court, John was con­victed of tor­ture, de­pri­va­tion of lib­erty and in­de­cent as­sault.

He was sen­tenced to eight years be­hind bars.

I put up with the abuse for so long be­cause I thought it was self­ish to take the kids away from their dad. But now I re­alise it was self­ish to stay.

I want other peo­ple to know they don’t have to deal with this. It’s hard to imag­ine leav­ing all your be­long­ings – but they’re just that.

Ev­ery­thing can be re­placed, and most im­por­tantly new, happy mem­o­ries can be cre­ated.

It took years, but I’m fi­nally free and stronger than ever.

If you are ex­pe­ri­enc­ing abuse and need help, call 1800 737 732 (Aus) or

0800 456 450 (NZ).

He wouldn’t let me watch the boys open their presents I fled to a refugewith my kids Thank­fully,my­baby ar­rived­healthy ‘I’m go­ing to kill you,’ he spat, vi­ciously

He tied a noosearound my neck and tied up my armsand legsHave you jailed an abu­sive part­ner?

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