Sarah’s Story

I lived in a violent marriage for years. I was very naive at first and really didn’t know people like him existed. He would kick me, slap me, push me, trip me over, throw things at me, stand on my feet, yell abuse, call me names like ‘social cripple’, the list goes on and on, but he never punched me. In fact he would say to people that he couldn’t stand ‘wife bashers’. He would tell me that he didn’t want the children to play with other people’s children because they were a bad influence. He tried to isolate us from all those who loved us and new people we met would go through character assassinations by him. Life was continuous hell, fear and horror and he always blamed the children or me for his violence. Things got a lot worse towards the end. He would threaten to run us all off the road in the car and kill us. The violence became a daily occurrence if not several episodes a day.

I coped by trying to keep him happy so he wouldn’t do these things to us. I believed for a long time that it was my fault or the children’s. I cried a lot when he wasn’t home. I lost all my belief in myself. I was totally isolated and spoke to no one about what was happening. I don’t think i really did cope except to hide it from the world and from myself.

The situation did change and his violence became much worse and was being directed at the children I changed. I began to read about self-esteem and positive affirmations. I contacted a friend I used to know who worked in a Woman’s Centre and speaking to her made me realise we were not alone. Finally I began to see the reality of what was happening. When we left I believed he was going to kill us.

The Minerva staff have helped me so much. The support and understanding and sharing of experiences has helped me with my journey. When the Family Court recognised what hell we went through and ordered absolute no contact for him with my children, was a big turning point in my healing. Good friends and family have been wonderful as well.

What I would say to others experiencing family violence is If I could come and help you leave I would but it is you who has to do it. Leaving permanently is the only thing that will change the situation. You can’t make him better no matter how much you love him. It is NOT your fault, it is his. You are a wonderful person and deserve so much better.

You are not alone; there are many people who know what you are going through. Reach out to people and contact Minerva or WD they are the experts. Most of all believe in yourself and know you are strong.