This post deals with domestic violence and might be triggering for some readers.
You may have noticed people in Australia have started talking about coercive control, and asking if our government should change our legislation to criminalise this behaviour.
Historically most of us hold a standard picture of what family violence looks like: as a quiet woman with an abusive husband who comes home drunk and leaves her bruised and battered…
Watch: Women and violence: the hidden numbers. Post continues below.
Coercive control includes acts and patterns of behaviour and abuse. Perpetrators (usually men) may do things like monitor their partner’s phone, isolate them from their friends and family, limit access to finances, humiliate and gaslight them, and seek to control aspects of who they are and how they live their life.
Unlike the UK, Scotland and Ireland, Australia currently does not have legislation to criminalise this behaviour.
It’s been five years since I left my abusive ex-partner, and never have I felt more compelled to lobby for this change in law.
Throughout our relationship, I endured many different forms and acts of abuse.
Once a jovial, happy and energised woman, over many years and while being subjected to verbal, emotional, financial and physical abuse I found myself a shell of who I was.
As time went on throughout this relationship I shrunk into myself. Choosing my words carefully and steadfastly putting on a brave face, so no one would know what I was going through.
The secrecy of what was happening in our relationship meant that I became very quiet about my needs, so quiet that to the world they no longer existed. I was alone in my pain.