SWSLC Family Domestic Violence help

Finding a way out of domestic violence…..

Susan’s story

Finding a way out of domestic violence…..

 

Susan was 17 years old, just finished school and was married.  Her first year of marriage she describes as perfect, she believed her husband would always protect and provide for her.

 

Pregnant with her first child, her husband decided that it would be better for them to commence their family in Australia, so they migrated before their child was born.  Susan had no family or relatives in Australia, and spoke no English.

 

Susan has lived in fear since her arrival in Australia 19 years ago, isolated and subjected to physical and sexual violence, psychological and financial abuse by her husband.

 

Susan tried to seek help when the children were younger, however her family advised her to be patient and told her that things will change, and as a wife she should not talk about her husband in such negative ways.   Susan endured living with the violence and abuse, with the hope that her husband’s behaviours would change to be more caring and loving towards them.

 

Recently, Susan’s eldest daughter confronted her with a conversation about domestic violence and how they are all living with abuse and that she needed to do something to stop it. Susan felt overwhelmed with guilt and shame and was overtaken by anxiety and panic attacks for weeks. Susan made an appointment with the Social Worker at Centrelink and for the first time told her story to a stranger. She accepted a referral to BDVS, and in spite of her fears and anxiety, she attended the first appointment.

 

In talking about Domestic Violence, Susan gained strength and courage to consider options available to her and her children. In considering all the information and reflecting on her experiences of violence and abuse over the many years, Susan realised that her husband does not have mental health problems but his choice of behaviours have been intentional to control her and coerce her through fear. This realisation has given Susan strength and courage to make changes to free herself and her children from his control and abuse.

 

As a first step, Susan changed all the locks to her family home and has engaged with legal support for a private ADVO application and advice on family and property law options. Susan has opened up to her best friend, who knew nothing about the domestic violence and has engaged her children in safety planning.  Her children are really happy and supportive of Susan’s actions.

 

Susan is very scared of what may happen next, but feels strong in knowing that she has support around her and is not alone.

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