Content warning: This post deals with suicide, and may be triggering for some readers.
The mother of a university student who suicided after months of abuse at the hands of her partner has released a photograph to raise awareness of domestic violence.
In the image, university student Emily Drouet has crimson cheeks and smudged mascara. According to loved ones, the photo was taken minutes after her boyfriend Angus Milligan tried to strangle her, and sent to a close friend to prove the toxicity of Drouet’s relationship.
Emily died by suicide on March 17, 2016. Last week Milligan pleaded guilty to assaulting the 18-year-old law student, threatening and abusing her using abusive and offensive language, and sending offensive, indecent, obscene and menacing texts. He will be sentenced on July 5.
“I want to jump inside the picture and cuddle her. I want to tell her that she could have spoken to me, that she could have asked for help. We would have been there," Fiona Drouet, from Glasgow, told local media.
“If she had never met Angus Milligan, she would be alive today... Within six months, that man destroyed our daughter and wrecked our lives. He’s just complete evil.
“Our beautiful daughter became a victim of domestic violence at just 18.”
The family struggled to sit through court proceedings as details of their daughter's relationship with Milligan - which included being encouraged to have sex with other people, and using "hand restraints" to tie the teenager down during intercourse - were read aloud.
"He was threatening her with us, telling her that he’d email us and tell us about the sex and the partying," the mother said. Those threats, the Drouets say, compelled their daughter to end her life, seeing no other alternative.
Of the restrictive devices Milligan forced Drouet to use in the bedroom, the mother also shared: “We found them in her room after she had died. It was horrific. That’s what he thought my daughter was worth.”
“The guilt sometimes is overwhelming. I play out conversations we had in my head and what I could have done or said differently.
“We have a generation normalising this type of extreme sexual behaviour. They see it on the internet, on social media," Fiona Drouet said.
“Girls think they have to do things sexually in order to fit in and it is what is expected of them."
“... Angus Milligan has robbed us of our lives, too."
Emily Drouet is survived by her mother Fiona, father Germain, little sister Rachel, 13, and brother Calvin, 11.
If you or a loved one is suffering at the hands of a partner, Mamamia urges you to contact 1800 RESPECT.
If you are struggling with mental health, contact Lifeline on 13 11 14 or visit this website.