ONE in four Australian women have experienced physical or sexual violence by an intimate partner, a disturbing statistic rivalled only by each of these brave womens’ stories..
Armidale domestic violence survivor Sarah* has spoken about her abuse prior to next week’s Reclaim the Night rally that aims to take action against all forms of family violence.
She suffered abuse for two years before she escaped the relationship.
“Domestic violence is something that’s hard to understand for somebody looking in,” she said
“People would say, ‘Why didn’t you just get out or why didn’t you just walk off here’?”
“But when you’re in domestic violence, everything is controlled and physical violence will ultimately stop you from doing anything.”
The abuse was minor when it began, but soon Sarah was being pushed, shoved and hit by her partner.
She was forbidden from making phone calls, seeing family or leaving the house unsupervised.
Sarah came to the Armidale Women’s Shelter after an attack left her with broken bones in her face.
For weeks Sarah and the shelter staff planned her escape in secret.
“When I came here I was absolutely scared to death, I didn't sleep at night,” she said
“I used to just sit up and listen to everything and now I am getting the confidence to rebuild myself and find myself again,” she said.
“I’ve got to learn, it sounds strange, but I have to relearn how to talk to people, how to communicate, just like a little child I’ve got to rebuild those skills.
“I’ve got a lot of goals that I will achieve, I’ve got a new lease on life and I don’t ever want to be put in that situation again, you’re nobody’s punching bag, you don’t deserve that, you deserve to be able to think for yourself.”
Domestic violence affects thousands of Australian women and the Reclaim the Night rally will feature guest speakers and markets.
Reclaim the Night welcomes families and will take place on Friday November 25 from 6:30pm in the Beardy Street Mall.
*Name has been changed.
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