I always find myself wondering how I got here. Is it bad luck, bad choices, karma from another life? And in some ways it doesn’t really matter, but for a big part it does. Because if anyone can learn from my life, my pain and my experiences, then it makes my pain a little less and my purpose little more. I never want myself or anyone else to feel the pain and heart ache I’ve been through. If I can change a life, build awareness and give strength to anyone currently suffering from any form of bullying, abuse or trauma.
Firstly before I get into this blog, I want everyone to know the domestic violence services, including; Emma House, the Police, Child Protection, Victim’s Assistance Program and more have gone above and beyond for myself and my children and I am so grateful for the ongoing protection and support throughout the last 12 months. I can only wish I had have reached out long time ago, which brings me to my blogs;
So now it’s been 12 months, 1 week and 3 days since the night I took my babies away and left Ex and our family home. And I tell you, life remains a struggle, a roller coaster of up and down battles. As I look back on the last 12 months, I feel the problem lies in two places; the stigma and how we all view perpetrators and criminals, thus fueling their unacceptable behavior and their control on their victims. The second is our justice system. Because I tell you, I sit here with pain and tears, completely weak, feeling let down, forgotten, unimportant and mainly lonely. People say to me a lot, “Oh I don’t know how you’re doing it?” “Your doing so well”, but to me I see it differently. I am expected to soldier on and suck it up for another sense. What choice do I have? Give up? What does that look like? Loose everything I have worked too hard for, become homeless? Stop working? No, I am a mother and my kids depend on me and its my honour as well as my duty to provide for them, no matter how hard. We are dealt with cards and we need to deal with them. But it doesn’t mean it’s not hard, it hurts and let’s face it, sometimes life’s just not fair. It’s our ability to overcome adversity that keeps us moving forward.
Ok So lets go back to the 1st of June, the day I was asked to take my blog down. I was devastated, as these blogs where helping me heal, my blogs are therapeutic and a way I can get my mixed up thoughts and emotions out on paper because let’s face it, I am not the best at having deep and meaningful’s about my feelings. I do tend to bottle it up, feeling like I’m going to burst. And secondly I’m a caregiver, a nurse and a mum so naturally I want to help others, give a voice and support anyone who is suck in any sort of abusive situation.
Now I get and completely respect why I was asked to take my blog down. Ex was in the process of his court cases to be sentenced for the domestic violence charges, and if anyone knows any narcissistic controlling abusers, my blogs and everything they are about would only be fueling his anger and fury and largely increasing mine and my children’s safety. Especially when Ex had proven continuously that he has no respect for the police or justice system and continued to breach the IVO. But me taking down my blogs and hiding unfortunately empowers the perpetrator and takes the victims voice away. It aides in giving him back his control, silencing me with fear just as he did throughout of 12 year relationship. This is what I mean when I say – the problem lies within the stigma and how we all view perpetrators and criminals, thus fueling there inacceptable behavior and their control on their victims. When we choose our actions based on fear for what their reaction could be, who are we making comfortable and protecting? It’s not us its them.
My view, we should be naming and shaming, screaming it from the rough tops. Because all of us humans have choices and he is making his, and when we make a choice we have to live with the consequences and repercussions. Name the criminals, make their behavior known, don’t protect them. Help them? Yes, most definitely but by making an abuser known this is how we get them help and not only that, hopefully it can prevent other innocent victims from being pulled under his spell and also being abused. Because I tell you this, as I recently have been informed I was not the first victim that has been physically and mentally abused by this man and also wasn’t the last.
So the sentencing, well where do I start…. Before I left ex 12 months ago I had pretty much never stood foot in a court room, except the one occasion when we were granted adoption of the boys which was very different experience to this. I’ve now lost count the amount of times I’ve been to court and every time is emotional and physically draining. It’s a big day of waiting full of suspense and that moment your time in called and you walk in not knowing what to expect, my heart races out of control and I have to remind myself to breathe. Palms sweating jaw trembling and to make it worse is having to sit in a room opposite him while he looks at me with disgust and still wondering how did we even get here. Then the wishing it was all just over but you’re asked to come back another day and on it goes.
It took 8 long months for ex to be convicted of his 22 counts of domestic violence which included, breaching the IVO on multiple occasions, causing criminal damage , multiple counts of physical violence, unlawful assault and threats to kill. Ex was sentenced to 5 months imprisonment, 12 month community corrections order, drug and alcohol rehab, anger management program, community service and $1000 fine. Now I do want to make mention of the news article that was posted in the local paper after EX was sentenced, I mean I think we all know that we can’t take all of what we read as gospel but I would like to take this opportunity to clear a few things up for my readers and those that have reached out and are in similar situations; This was not a bad breakup that went wrong. This was years and years of abuse and violence that eventually forced me out due to fear for my life. And then continued intimidation, harassment and financial abuse since I left. The example of physical violence that was mentioned in the paper was one example of the at least 200 occasions of harm that was inflicted on me, that was one particular sentence that had been pulled out of my victims of impact statement that was read out in court.
So big relief when it was all done, right? Well I wish. I was informed at the end of July that Ex had appealed his sentencing to the County Court and successfully was granted a hearing for the end of August, and get this; because he is given a court date he was then able to apply for bail, so be able to wait for his appeal date in the community. Even though he had already been found guilty for his crime, he once again was able to work the system and was released two months early.
The biggest thing that baffles me is, he was allowed to apply for this appeal because he didn’t feel his sentencing was fair. That’s right, this criminal that was found guilty didn’t think his sentencing was fair????? Well EXCUSE ME!!!!! I’m sitting here, again broken and in tears looking around the room and wondering who do I ask for an appeal to mine and my kids sentencing. Who can stop this PTSD, who can stop this struggle and this pain that I and my children face every single day? Because I tell you, when I look around….. There is no one, there is no one that can set us free.
So as I am sure a lot of you are aware, there has been a lot in the media lately about bail conditions and making stronger restrictions on not letting violent people out on bail. And I think of all the people that have not been so lucky due to the early release of convicted criminals.
And I find myself now considering myself in some sense lucky and like I again have dodged a bullet, literally. Ex was not meant to be released until the end of September. My security measures were still in the process of being approved. I had also been I informed that EX had access to guns and that his brother had also recently been charged with procession of multiple guns and the drug ice. So feeling already on edge and unsafe, he was released into the community and to reside in a house that was only 2 blocks from where myself and my children were living.
After only 6 days after EX was released he was found and charged with 3.2g of ice, classed as a trafficking offense. Now you see how I dodged another bullet, from this violent perpetrator, who is using ice, has access to firearms and whom clearly has no remorse for his actions as he feels his sentencing was not fair. And this is the second part of the problem, our Justice system.
Now please understand the intent of this blog, because I most definitely don’t want us to all sit around and have a pity party. I purely want to give some insight into the process of the court system and the views and pain for the victims. I want you to hear my story, as two voices are stronger than one and a 100 is even better than that. I want to change the view and stigma we put on family violence and the way victims are encouraged to hide and be silent, encouraged to hide through fear. Rather I want to influence tightening our laws when it comes to violent criminals and in particular domestic violence. I want to help give the power to the victims and most importantly, let’s empower these victims to freedom! The freedom to fight, to stay in their family homes, the power to the legal system, the power for financial support and the power for a safety without hiding and being silent. Because the problem doesn’t lie in the victim and our voice, the problem lies in the violent abuser and that’s what we need to stop.
BTW, I have not breached any confidentiality in this blog (except maybe my own) and everything that has been stated about charges and court hearing are all a case of public record and have also been realized in the local media.
Thanks for listening
Ps. A little side note!
Those that have come up to me in the street, at the gym at work ect and have given their thoughts and congrats on the blog, a big thank you! To anyone that may see me, my apologies if I give off a snobby or stuck up vibe!! I am actually a pretty shy person when you first meet me and quite frankly I am very socially awkward! But behind all that I am loving and friendly and you can’t shut me up! My door is always open if anyone needs and please don’t hesitate to inbox or e-mail for advice or a chat. Tarah x
Links to the media links