Today is White Ribbon Day and a plethora of emotions rise to the surface, as do memories. I recall when I was living in a small town, there was a single mum of three little girls. She had been subjected to much violence, and was now starting again. She owned her own business, and she and the girls were finally happy. Her ex-husband starting drinking more, which fuelled his aggression. He was verbally aggressive on the phone and in person, when she dropped the girls to the designated meeting spot for access visits. This lady was a fey-like creature, huge orbital eyes, tiny with long golden hair, and it would break my heart when she recalled the nights of violence she had endured. He was a mountain of a man. I was at her place when he rang one evening, slurring his words. I heard him promise to shoot her when she dropped the girls off in the car park of a fast-food restaurant. He did indeed own a rifle. She had the hide to start her own business and offer her children safety and security. I insisted that I go in her place. It wasn’t an offer, but an order. She was terrified that if she didn’t obey the court order, he would come after her and the courts would again punish her. I got out of the car with the girls, and he appeared startled to see me. This bear of a man was frightened! I nervously offered forth commentary on the weather, and other inane subjects. I got back in the car and my clenched hands were dripping with sweat.
I have had knocks at my door at night, and my home has offered refuge to mums and their kids. One dear lady came by with her little boys, having caught a bus from her house. She had been shoved and she had been hit. I took photos of her bruises. When she went to the bathroom, her seven-year old whispered to me, “he yells all the time.” I drew him close to me, desperate to vanquish this hell from their precious lives.
I have had women come visiting, and delight in keeping me company for ten hours straight whilst I tended the routine chores of everyday life. They have simply not wanted to go home, fearing what may happen. Imagine getting into trouble for talking to a barista at the café, for not having dinner on the table. Imagine flinching when there is silence, and at the screaming to come. Imagine having to deal with rage, not knowing what shall set it off from one day to the next. Imagine being left without money. This heartbreaking pictorial appeared this morning, and I sat and reflected for a while, both on the sketches and also on the description of the women therein. It is up to us all as a society, to be vigilant and to be vocal. It is my dearest wish that the next generation don’t have to be termed ‘survivors,’ for they won’t have any horror to survive.
The hidden, silent epidemic, wounding our children, scarring families and killing partners. We see the end result on television, and picture the scene we have once viewed in a movie. The partner arrives home, after visiting the pub, his dinner is set down in front of him. “What’s this muck?” he yells, before throwing the […]
I tuned into the news a while back, anxious to see what the weather would be doing the next day, and there was a recap of the headline news. I saw a photo of the beautiful Lisa, before hearing of her tragic death, and that a man was on trial, suspected of throwing her off a balcony. I have had this woman in my heart and prayers ever since. Last night, I again looked at the news to catch the weather, and there was a detailed story about the sentencing of this creature, and I listened as her brave mum became a messenger for all women in controlling relationships. It set off my PTSD. It couldn’t help but do so. The events were so similar, only I survived and Lisa didn’t. I had to go out last night, so after a cry, composed myself. I sat in the gardens of this place, a delicate breeze weaving its way down my back, and had a pleasant evening, but my thoughts drifted to this beautiful woman and her mum. I came home early, as my child wasn’t well, and saw her tendrils of soft hair resting on her pillow, her little eyes heavy. Legend has it that the indent above one’s top lip was made when the angels soothed you as a newborn, gently reassuring the bub that all is well in their new world. I think that is lovely. I am bereft that sometimes, things aren’t peaceful in their new world. I watch my child sleep, and pray that she is safe always. Safe from manipulation and control. I don’t know why I survived my fall, and you didn’t, but I now have another girl/woman to honour as I conduct my life. I shall never forget. Today, I lit a candle for you, and another friend, facing PTSD demons by going back to places of pain. I gave my child medicine, and she is laying on the couch. I just want to hug her all throughout this hot day. I think I will.
I was asked to go to one of the largest police stations in Sydney, and give a presentation last week. A friend of mine was running an investigator’s course, and wanted to give her students new perspective on what it is like on the other side. I looked through the Charter of Victims Rights-devised in […]
I have always admired the work of the White Ribbon Foundation, a collective of fine individuals who speak out against violence toward women. I was privileged at my recent book launch to have Mr Don Smith, an ambassador of the White Ribbon Foundation, speak. He spoke with passion, and there was silence as we came to terms with the horrifying statistics he proffered. Each number spoke of a precious woman or girl. Suzanne Grae have been a formal foundation partner with White Ribbon since 2008, and are sponsors of the Breaking the Silence in Schools program. It has been running throughout NSW, implementing programs aimed at developing respectful relationships and education. I was humbled when Suzanne Grae offered to dress me for my launch. The ladies at my local store were beautiful, and I chose ¾ length trousers, perfect for my short stature! I also selected a black top and navy jacket, with polka dots. I noted that they sold hand cream at the counter, and bought a tube for $9.95. All profits go to the White Ribbon Foundation and it is the best hand cream I have ever used! Catherine Baker from Suzanne Grae’s head office came to my launch, and I was filled with gratitude when she bought a book, and asked me to sign it. The support of White Ribbon made me feel validated, heard and that I was saying something important through my book. I shall be forever grateful to both White Ribbon and Suzanne Grae for their kindness.