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 deals with domestic abuse and might be triggering for some readers.
November 25 is International Day for the Elimination of Violence Against Women, and today I want to share with you why many of us across Australia will be walking to raise awareness, and why I’d like you to join us.
Being able to live life freely and safely is our basic human right.
However, since a young age I learnt that even though I shouldn’t have to, being a girl meant I needed to take precautions to remain safe in this world.
Watch: Women and Violence - The Hidden Numbers. Post continues below.
I learnt things like; to park my car under lights at the train station, that I should run without headphones in and that I shouldn’t drink too much alcohol around strangers.
This training was provided by those who loved and cared for me. Not because they believed I should have to live my life this way, but because they were afraid of the violence people committed against women and wanted to take every precaution possible.
What was missed in this education was that the place I should be most safe, my home, would become the very place I was most in danger.
To reflect on my own journey I need to rewind a few years where I spent half a decade living with an abusive partner.
It wasn’t always like that. When we first met it was fun, it felt safe, and it was all-consuming passion. But as the years went by things changed. Slowly my partner became my perpetrator and as his power and control over me grew I became less and less sure of who I was.
I remember a time after a particularly brutal onslaught of verbal abuse where I sat on the floor crying, absolutely beaten by his words.
I told him: "I don’t want to be here anymore, I just can’t go on."
He responded… by laughing. I may not have had a bruise or any broken bones that day, but I was seriously injured. This was violence and I was not safe at home.