At Mamamia, we have a year-round commitment to highlighting the epidemic of domestic violence in Australia. During May, Domestic Violence Prevention Month, we will not only raise awareness of the personal impact of violence, but do our best to ensure victims have access to help, and encourage those who abuse to take responsibility and seek help for their behaviour.
This post deal with domestic violence, and could be triggering for some readers.
Every day Sharon Morgan would turn up on doorsteps across Queensland and tell the frightened women inside, "it's okay, we can protect you, we can help you."
There was one particular job where she arrived to find a woman in her 60s whose husband had been locking her in her room for a decade.
It was a long, exhausting afternoon untangling years of violent, abusive behaviour.
Tired, she arrived home to a slur: "You f***ing pig."
Her uniform was ripped from her body for daring to get home so late and for not having dinner ready.
As she watched the buttons on her Queensland Police Service blouse pop off and fall to the ground she thought to herself, "I've just been to a job like this today, and now I'm coming home to it."
She'd been coming home to it for years. But just like the hundreds of women whose doorsteps she arrived on, Sharon didn't ask for help because she was afraid of the judgement. She was ashamed she'd stayed in a violent relationship for so long, and the truth was — like so many victims of domestic violence — she couldn't afford to leave.
Sharon met Andrew* when she was in Year 11 at high school.
She'd had a sheltered, wonderful upbringing, describing herself as the "prim and proper" private school girl who fell in love with the bad boy.
He was a good-looking tradie with blond hair and big muscles, and just that little-bit older than her — she was infatuated.
Watch: Sharon shares her story. Post continues after video.