Television icon Kerri-Anne Kennerley has bravely shared her story of the abuse she experienced in her first marriage.
But I’m not the beloved KAK. And I’m not brave. I can’t share any details with you about my relationship. When it comes to those deeply-buried memories, I’d much rather swim in that river in Egypt – you know, denial.
What I can do is tell you what I’ve figured out since leaving – what I know for sure now about relationships. By no means am I an expert in the field, but I can at least be more brutally honest than a carefully curated DV resource, because I have been you.
I’m talking directly to the women who have stayed. The ones who are reading this and are already blinking back tears because you know I’m talking to you. And I’m talking to the women who are just at the start, who’ve accepted the first apology and are hoping for the best.
So, one survivor to another, but with the benefit of hindsight, this is what I know for sure.
Oprah was right – when someone shows you who they are, believe them the first time. Don’t minimise unkind words; they’re disrespectful, and the first step to unkind actions. You know this, and can feel it in your heart. Don’t ignore the sign. It’s much easier to walk away when you’re not already invested in each other’s lives. Believe him the first time he shows you his character, before there’s too much at stake and it’s even harder to consider leaving.
It’s absolutely possible to have a relationship where disagreements are resolved with mutual respect, and immature bullying behaviour never happens. Those relationships really do exist, and every person deserves to be in one, including you.