Six years of abuse!
LIZ (not her real name) is a talented, articulate and confident young Hills woman who is just piecing her life together after escaping to a safer environment following six years of abuse.
The charming, successful businessman who swept her off her feet was her “knight in shining armour” when they dated. “He said the right things and did the right things.”
Everything changed after the honeymoon
All that changed the day after their honeymoon when he exploded into a violent rage, destroying some much loved belongings.
”It was so out of left field,” Liz said.
The abuse got worse after the children were born
Things got worse after the couple’s children were born.
“People think domestic violence is a punch to the face but there are so many other forms of abuse, stalking, intimidation and financial control,” she said.
“He’d also throw things at me and smash things.“
“I didn’t fear for my children’s safety because the abuse was directed at me, but they became very anxious watching the abuse of their mother. “I had no self-esteem. “For years I was told I was worthless and amounted to nothing without him.
Controlled every area of my life
“I was always a strong person before I married … I would never have thought I could have got to the point where someone else controlled every area of my life.
“People think domestic violence happens in other parts of Sydney, but it happens right here in the Hills.
“Women get stuck, they can’t find a way out and it’s not sociably acceptable to talk about it.”
She said that finding information on what help was available had been really hard.
Left home only after support from counsellor
After several failed attempts to leave home, she finally did it, but says if it hadn’t been for support from counsellor Deborah Sanasi and financial support from her mum she would never have been able to leave.
“I tried to find a lot of help in the Hills area and it wasn’t till I got to the first AVO stage in the safe room that I had access to support networks and legal advice. Until then I didn’t know what to do or where to look.”
Liz now runs her own business and is backing moves by the Lisa Harnum Foundation to establish a refuge and information hub in the Hills.
This article first appeared in the Hills Shire Times newspaper.