A woman has spoken out about years of abuse at the hands of her husband.
A woman has spoken out about years of abuse at the hands of her husband. lofilolo

DV victim: "I blamed myself and I felt helpless"

AFTER years of violence at the hands of her partner, a Darling Downs woman is opening up about her abuse.

Now separated from her partner, Anna Smith* wants to give other domestic abuse victims hope for the future.

"The abuse started when I was first dating him about six years ago but then I became pregnant and the more serious stuff was when our son was about nine months old," Ms Smith said.

"We were living in the country when the floods happened and the water blocked the roads so we were stuck in the house.

"He had a gambling addiction and I've since read gambling can be associated with family violence but it came to a situation where he was demanding money from me, and threw my things into the yard and ran a lawn mower over them, he cut the phone line and became physically violent.

"I don't drive and the next house was far away but I ran away with my son in the pram onto the highway and to the neighbour's house."

Ms Smith said she returned to the house and was later referred by counsellors to Safehaven, which operates emergencey accommodation in Warwick, before moving to Toowoomba.

Having suffered financial, emotional and physical abuse, the 38-year-old said it was hard to gain the courage to leave her ex-husband.

"During the floods was the worst of it but there were three instances where he hit me on the head repeatedly and bruised all the back of my neck and head," she said.

"He broke my eardrum before my son was born, in one of those instances and, because I was worried people wouldn't believe me, I started carrying around the hospital discharge report.

"Most of my family is (overseas) and they were definitely shocked to learn what was going on because I hadn't really told them we had problems before.

"I didn't know if they would believe and I felt ashamed to say I was in that situation.

"I think in the beginning I loved him and, because we were having a child together, I wanted to stay together and I didn't see problems for what they really were.

"Over time, I started to resent him and I wasn't able to communicate to him but I was fearful he would make me lose custody of my son."

With the abuse behind her, Ms Smith said her case had been through family court and her former partner was allowed to see their young son.

She said the isolation she felt as a victim inspired her to share her story in the hope other victims would seek support.

"Through a lot of it I questioned myself and blamed myself and I felt helpless," Ms Smith said.

"I just think it's important for people to believe victims and give support because there are resources out there and there are people who will support you.

"It's a hard road to seek support but it is so much better than going back."

*The victim's name has been changed to protect her identity.

If you are experiencing domestic violence, phone 1800RESPECT or the 24-hour DV Connect hotline on 1800811811 for assistance.

 

Men who are either victims of domestic violence, or want help with anger issues, can phone Mensline on 1300789978.



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