But what's in a word?!
In today's society of alter egos and hidden agendas it's hard to know who the 'good guys' are. We don't go out and meet a man and upon request of his personal resume read 'I will turn your life into a nightmare'.
What starts as the ideal relationship can eventually turn into something that is confusing and much more sinister.
Growing up I was privileged to live in a household with both of my parents. I saw their happiest and proudest moments and I saw them argue like any couple would... But most importantly, I saw them work at their relationship. It was an equal partnership built on a foundation of deep love, admiration and respect for one another. I formed the understanding that relationships weren't easy and everything fell back onto the importance of communication.
For me, What started out as the perfect relationship and remained as such for a number of years turned into a battle. Not a battle between 2 people but a battle within myself.
A battle to remain true to who I was. A battle to remember that I did matter and I wasn't 'useless' or 'stupid'.
Looking back now I am able to see that this mans actions towards myself stemmed from his own insecurities and personal problems... At the time it wasn't so easy.
Being told that you can't do anything right, that you don't deserve to be treated with respect really chips away at the person you once were. Slowly you feel yourself disappear into the shadows. You come to believe what you are being told and in turn you become the submissive partner the abuser desires. Someone to degrade in order for them to feel superior.
I came to believe that was the life I was meant to live.
I was made to feel guilty about seeing my family and in the end only saw them at christenings or other big occasions and always without my husband as he 'had to work' when really he was at the gym or home watching rugby league.
My friends were told not to visit me and I was told I wasn't to visit them.
Finances were always an issue and I remember vividly one day when I was told that the 5 minute drive to visit his family was a waste of $2 (in fuel)! Money was always a touchy subject.
Then I fell pregnant... The best thing that could have happened to me. It was no longer about the life I felt I deserved, instead it was about the life my unborn child deserved.
I packed a bag and I left. I stayed with family and friends when I could but due to complications throughout my pregnancy I also spent large quantities of time in hospital. It got to a point where I required care within my home and as a result (and after my then partner begged me to return, that he had changed!) I went home. It was only a matter of time before I was being mistreated and while heavily pregnant made to sleep on the lounge as he 'needed' the bed.
The day my daughter was born was bittersweet. While his newborn daughter was is neonatal intensive care he was going out having 'fun'.
My situation escalated out of control. I worried constantly about the life my daughter would lead if I stayed and I realized we were never safe.
One night I was thrown across my driveway and my head smacked against the pavement. I was able to stand up for a minute then passed out.That night as a result of my injuries I ended up in trauma care at the hospital. I had bruising over my body but I was still in denial about what had happened.
Afterwards, a police issued AVO was placed against my ex husband for this violent attack and in relation to previous acts of domestic abuse.
I returned home but only to pack a suitcase and left in the early hours of the morning leaving everything behind.
Over the following 2 years I received further threats, I was harassed and stalked, even though we were divorced.
I remarried and the threats still came. Only now they were against all of us.
With my husbands support ,I found the courage to speak out and shatter the silence.
Everything that survivors feel is normal. Feelings of inadequacy and rejection. Isolation and fear... The important thing to remember is that you are not alone and there are people out there willing to help, Willing to listen. I was able to rebuild my life and so can you.
I am a queen with scars fighting for a future of #queenswithoutscars