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Anne's Story

This moving and courageous first person account of domestic violence was written by a former Starick client. We have changed her name to protect her identity.

"Hello. My name is Anne and I’m a survivor of domestic violence. Fortunately I can tell my story because I am still here.

I hope to be able to share with you a part of my journey, to help other women escape from a life of abuse and get free, too.

When I first got married, I thought that I was going to have a wonderful life and fulfil all the dreams a newlywed could hope for. As an A-grade student throughout high school, I went on to run my own business, had just planned an around-the-world trip and was excited about life and the prospect of sharing that life with another.

I thought I’d met a man who was handsome, adventurous and brave but, instead, I was introduced to a crazy world that I could never have imagined or prepared myself for. I had no idea the transformation that was to follow over the next 14 years.

I didn’t understand that domestic violence is like a little microscopic worm that sneaks into your mind and slowly kills you from the inside. You do not realise you are dying until it is almost too late, or someone comes and rescues you from an early grave.

I always thought the worm would look like a big, unkempt, nasty, thug that swore and punched holes in the walls but instead it was quiet and cunning and deadly.

I never fully understood the danger I was in until after I got out.

It started with my partner being disgruntled and a little bit unpredictable. He was not considerate and he was a fraction selfish. I thought this was nothing unusual. After all, newlyweds have their settling in period and I was sure I had a few things he didn’t like, either. I decided to just try a little harder to be a better wife.

Well, to him being a better wife meant I should really spend less time with my friends, give up my business and be a stay-at-home mum. He said that most women would be envious of that privilege, and not to worry about my family too much since they clearly didn’t understand what being a good wife was. After all, he said, they were divorced, so what would they know about how to overcome marital issues? He wanted me to sell my car because he said we needed only one and it was better for us financially.

Slowly but surely the worm continued to eat away at my common sense and freedom until one day, many years later, I had given him my $30,000 of savings, completely cut off all of my family and friends, attempted suicide and let him kill all my beloved pets.

He had sexually abused my daughter, groomed the others, smashed down every door in the house, made me miscarry, beat me up more times than I can remember, threatened to kill us all and stole the beautiful vivacious girl I once was from within me. I never laughed. I never smiled. I was a dead woman walking.

But still I wouldn’t have labelled myself one of ‘those women’ who experience domestic violence. How can a normal, healthy, happy girl be reduced to a shadow of a person and not see anything wrong? Because the worm was eating me away. With each bite, it was making itself bigger and stronger and I was getting smaller and weaker.

Eventually, to my horror the authorities stepped in. What for, I thought? I’m a good wife. I’m looking after my kids. I don’t drink or take drugs or live like a vagabond. I’m married. I’m a good person. I had NO IDEA that all the life had been sucked out of me.

But, fortunately for me, it was the first time a law was passed that enabled a magistrate to take out a Violence Restraining Order WITHOUT my permission, on my husband, to protect us all from this unreasonable and unpredictable man.

It was only then that I began to heal. I needed space and silence.

I didn’t appreciate fully at the time the beautiful people who came along and walked every step by my side to support me and be my strength in times of complete weakness. I thought that they didn't really know my situation or understand, but they actually did. They knew my predicament better than I ever knew and if it wasn’t for their continued support, encouragement and protection I would most definitely not be here today, and my seven precious children would be dispersed among the community, trying to make sense of it all.

I am so very thankful for the women’s refuges throughout Perth, the police who see the destruction first hand yet continue to care in the wee hours when nobody else can help, the magistrates who watch our declining culture day in and day out but choose to protect us, still, by putting boundaries in place, and all the people who become a voice for those who have lost theirs.

I will remain eternally grateful to all the domestic violence support workers who have carried me over the years, in the courtroom and out, particularly the staff at Starick.

I am so very thankful for the women’s refuges throughout Perth, the police who see the destruction first hand yet continue to care in the wee hours when nobody else can help, the magistrates who watch our declining culture day in and day out but choose to protect us, still, by putting boundaries in place, and all the people who become a voice for those who have lost theirs.

I am glad that they didn't grow despondent and give up and that on their hard days they continued to press on and serve their community and in all honesty, by doing so, save lives. They saved my life and the lives of the seven others that were in my care. For that I am thankful.

Because of this support I have now bought my own home and car, am privately educating all of my children and have completed a diploma and a few certificates.

I am running my own business and working part time in a job that I love, educating myself further through university, building healthy and dynamic relationships and, most of all, being the person I was created to be!

Hello. My name is Anne and I’m a happy, healthy, vivacious woman who can now contribute positively to the lives of others and make a difference like others have done for me.”

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