I am a survivor of a violent alcoholic partner whom I enabled during our relationship. I had not been brought up in an environment where violence was a part of life, so like many, I thought if I tried a bit hard, if I loved a little more, if I did everything he wanted, then it wouldn’t happen again. He would always say sorry and how much he loved me and I always gave in AND BELIEVED HIM. It starts slowly, bruises, smashed furniture items, smashed beer bottles, holes in doors, holes in walls, dog is kicked, pushed my head through a plate glass window, mental and physical abuse increases. Also, I have an extremely beautiful daughter. It wasn’t until much later that I found out that I was the breadwinner, the provider – he didn’t work. Small town and no one would employ him. He started making comments such as I’m going to take out a million dollar life insurance policy, I suggest you do the same. I start thinking…..where is this leading. He started staying up late at night, not sleeping. Drinking continuously. Creating arguments so he could storm out of the house and go the hotel. I remember driving home from work thinking how am I going to get out of this situation. It had taken over two and a half years to get to that point. I then noticed when using the computer that when I tried to use the address bar, it kept coming up as tinyrussianvirgins. Concerned, I looked at the history and he had been viewing lots of child porn sites. That was my trigger. I just knew at that point that he had to leave. I told my daughter that I was going to do something about it. I have a pick up from the airport, I drove that person to the camp. I drove home while waiting for my new starter to change. When I got home the kitchen door was shut. His sister was also staying but she was in her room asleep. I tried unsuccessfully to open the door. He got angry, pulled door back then slammed it onto my hands and stormed out. I walked to the computer and looked at the history. He was viewing the sites again. Very calmly I walked out and he continued to abuse me. Quietly I just said that he could go then. He said he was going to take my life and take my job. I left his sister there, my daughter was at work, so she was safe. I drove my new starter to site, then drove back and parked in front of the police station. I sat there in tears and phoned my boss and said “I need some help”. I don’t know how long I sat there, but eventually the local policeman came out asked me if I was OK. I said to him that I needed some help. A Temporary VRO was issued. My daughter and stayed at another home. The police removed him from the house we lived in and we swapped out my work vehicle so he wouldn’t be able to identify the house we were in. We were in a state of trauma, so scared that he would find us. The formal VRO was generated and on New Years Eve 2010 was issued to me by the local Police. I asked if he had been served. They said they had not seen him but had spoken to him. My daughter wanted to go back to our house to pick up some items. The Police told us it was safe to go back. So we did. I should have realised that something was amiss when the front screen door was open. It was dark. We opened the door and turned on the hall light and got the fright of our lives. He was sitting in the dark waiting for us. He said ‘Your here then’ and then instructed us to shut the door. I didn’t have a mobile phone on me. The police were not there. I knew the only option I had was to run for the mobile phone in the car and did so. He jumped up and forced the door shut and trapped Brittany inside. I tried so hard to open the door and couldn’t. I could hear Brittany inside trying to get out and her standing up to him and saying ‘You did this to yourself’. I phone the police and said he is here, he is here. I don’t know how long it took them to get to us. Only a couple of minutes. About the same time as their arrival, he let Brittany out of the house, he police moved inside. He then went out into the backyard and we heard yelling and the sound of a tazar being fired. As they lead him back to the paddy wagon, one policeman said. Did you see the knives. We didn’t see a thing. But there was no time for him to get any knives out for the police. They would have to have been placed waiting for us. I had seen a steel and diamond stone on the front verandah and thought he was just trying to scare me. I said to the police, he will hunt me and the response was, we know.
It took a long time to get to trial. He had 5 charges. Initially he was sent to Port Hedland an then on to Roebourne Jail. It was traumatic. My daughter went back to school. I visited the school to advise of our trauma and that for my daughters year 12, it may make an impact. I had to warn them and show them a picture of him. But most importantly to watch for signs that my daughter was not coping. She didn’t and melted down about half way through the year. She picked herself up, but had lost so many marks that although she passed Year 12, she did not have sufficient marks to gain entry to the University Degree she was seeking. Me, well I worked. I felt safest at work. People around me. Secure site. Far enough away from town that it would be very hard to enter on foot. Night time was different. I slept with the outside lights on because I could then see out, but it was very hard for someone else to see in. Bells on the back door to tell me if someone was entering. Dog inside. I asked a friend to come and live in the house for a while. That helped. all the time waiting for the court case.
When the case was eventually heard, it was about 18 months after the event. The case had been through several hands and ended up with a DPP. My daughter and I were witnesses for the Crown. Despite police testimonials, video evidence, knives, he was acquitted. What were were not allowed to present was the information about the viewing of child pornography. It is deemed the it was not an offence to view the material, only an offence if it was downloaded. It wasn’t presented that his marriage to a Danish girl ended in a similar fashion with a VRO in place and he had a history of violence. We were shattered. Were were brought up to believe that the law is in place to protect us. Not only did it not protect us. The temporary VRO was violated. He knew of the long term VRO and while it had not been physically served, he was aware of this and that was violated. He was already on good behaviour for a previous rampage where he ended up being flown out, handcuffed to Graylands in Perth. None of this was considered. My daughter and I told the truth and we were let down by the law. There were no winners. If he thought he was right in being acquitted, this only served to fuel his behaviour as acceptable. God help his next victims. There will be more. Its at this point, that perhaps the juries of these cases and the Magistrates need to consider all evidence that is able to be provided. They need to know a history. We could have had half the town on court to support what happened. It was well known. Instead, we suffered twice and the road was paved for continued domestic violence. Juries may be made up of people that have never seen the level of violence inflicted, so how can they possibly understand. This isn’t a little tiff, a few loud shouts and doors slammed, maybe some furniture broken or a bruise here and there……violent partners can, will and do kill, maim and murder their closest. They do hunt them. VRO’s are not effective. There are harsher laws for far less violent crimes, yet the damage to individuals and society is far, far more than most can imagine. Punishment needs review and needs to fit the crime. Persons such as my former partner should be placed on a persons of interest listing. I would like to see the Government hold a register of persons who are convicted of domestic violence, just the same as the register for peadophiles. Victims of domestic violence have their lives shattered. Sometimes, there is no return and the percentage of deaths from domestic violence far outweighs even the destruction of peadophilia. Time for the spotlight to be turned on Domestic Violence that it is not acceptable by law or by individual act. The law at this stage only supports the accused. Better facilities need to be provided for victims and to help them feel safe once away from their partners. Children and Animals are also innocents that get caught in the dreadful tragedy or are so systematically beaten that, god forgive, it becomes normalised. Time to change and support the victims not those inflicting harm.