Warning: This post may be triggering for survivors of domestic abuse.
Rachael Taylor is courageously speaking out about how she survived and escaped an abusive relationship.
The 29-year-old Transformers actress/ Bonds model has been silent about her very private horror until now. She was moved to write about her experience for the Australian Women’s Weekly because she knows how important it is that we have a national discussion about the issue of domestic violence.
“One woman per week in Australia dies at the hands of her current or former partner,” she writes. “I don’t think any woman thinks they will become an addition to these statistics. I didn’t.”
It’s been three years since Rachael got herself out and found safety away from her abusive partner, but the way she speaks about it, you can tell it’s still incredibly raw. The shock, denial, and loneliness of being a victim comes through everything she says.
“I remember looking at a domestic violence poster in a hospital emergency room and on it was a picture of a woman, bloodied and bruised. I didn’t relate to her, even though I was her. I thought I was the exception to the rule, but I was the rule.”
Any victim of physical and psychological abuse will know the pervasive fear that haunts you in every waking moment. The most common, seemingly simple question they’re asked is, “Why don’t you just leave?”
Rachael knows only too well how impossible “just leaving” appears from inside a violent relationship. How she describes the isolation and loneliness of being a victim is really beautiful: “It feels as if all the friends you invited up the coast for your summer holidays vanished inexplicably while you were doing the washing-up.
“Then your mobile is lost, your mental road map of how to get back to where you came from is erased and, suddenly, your ATM cards say your money is gone and your car disappears, too. In addition, you notice that ‘the coast’ has now magically splintered off into its own very small, very barren island.
“Worse still, you have lost your voice. Even though there is nobody around to talk to, anyway, your inner voice, the dialogue you can have with yourself, is gone.
“Do you understand? That is my saddest memory, actually. I had lost my voice. It did come back. Sadly, for one woman every week in Australia, the return of her voice is a right she is denied. Put plainly, put shockingly, she is dead.”
Rachael has teamed up with White Ribbon Australia and The Australian Women’s Weekly to launch the Secrets campaign, which encourages women to share their personal stories of domestic violence by submitting a video to the White Ribbon website.