Bec’s partner isolated her until she felt worthless and alone. After enduring years of emotional and physical abuse, Bec made the courageous decision to reach out for support and leave the relationship for good.
He positioned himself in my life as someone who was going to save me, look after me. He made himself look like the epitome of the “good bloke” that everybody talks about.
I met my perpetrator in my early 20s, at a really vulnerable point in my life. The sudden death of my dad hit our family hard, and I was struggling to cope.
Our relationship started quickly – and looking back, all the red flags were there. He was emotionally and psychologically abusive, but it was subtle. Harder to see. He was an expert at making me think I was making my own decisions. He convinced me to quit my job, to stop talking to my friends. He told me I had mental health issues and couldn’t look after myself. He made me feel that all I needed was him. I was so isolated. I felt like I couldn’t tell anybody.
When I fell pregnant 6 months into the relationship, that’s when the physical violence started. He hurt me so badly I miscarried. I was devastated. But every time I would leave, he would be so apologetic and loving, promising to change. I would always go back because I believed him. The mental scars from his control and abuse ran so deep.
There were several times he was so violent I ended up in hospital. Doctors didn’t ask the question, and I was an expert at pretending everything was okay.
How my situation changed
After around 5 years of being incredibly isolated, I went back to school. Having that time away from him, socialising and making new friends, I started to realise who I used to be. I wanted her back – I wanted to take control of my life again.
The violence escalated around this time because he knew he was losing control. A big turning point was when my nephew was born, and he tried to stop me from seeing him. I put my foot down and he physically assaulted me.
My final lightbulb moment was when he strangled me. I remember saying to myself, ‘if you don’t leave now, you will never leave’. I knew I had to get out, or I would die.
When I look back, I truly have no idea how I survived.
Regaining my sense of self
After he strangled me, I reached out to a specialist family violence service who supported me with an escape plan and a mobile phone. I had to wait two weeks for an intervention order so I slept in my car, moving it to a different location everyday so he wouldn’t find me.
The violence and abuse didn’t stop right away, even though I had left the relationship. Despite having an intervention order, he continued to stalk and harass me. It took a long time for me to feel safe again.
What the experience taught me
It is never too late to leave. I always thought that everything was my fault, and nobody would believe me. I realise now that none of this was my fault, and nobody has a right to determine where my life goes.
When you’re in the midst of abuse, you feel empty and alone. You don’t feel human. It can be hard to see, but there are places you can go for help. You are worth more than nothing, you’re worth everything.
About this story
While some names may have been changed, this story is true and was shared with consent for the purpose of raising awareness about the experience of family violence. Please do not republish or adapt this story without written permission. Contact us.
Telling your own story
Sharing your story of family violence and your journey to recovery can be powerful. It can raise awareness, challenge stereotypes and inspire others. There are many ways you can tell your story. This might include writing it down, expressing it through art, or sharing with a trusted person or support service.