If you or someone you know is impacted by domestic violence, call 1800RESPECTon 1800 737 732. In an emergency, call 000.
What happened at Camp Hill this week was inexcusable. A mother and her three children murdered by the man who claimed to love them. (I won’t be speaking his name in the rest of this article.)
Yet the deaths of Hannah Clarke, 31, Lainah, six, Aaliyah, 4 four and Trey, three, have been followed by all-too-familiar rhetoric…
The man who chose to ambush his own family on their Wednesday-morning school run, ignite their car and leave them to burn, must have been somehow ‘driven to it’.
Watch: Violence against women… the hidden numbers. (Post continues below.)
It’s right there in news stories about his custody battle and “loving” Facebook posts about his family.
It’s in social media comments about him finding ‘the only way to be with his kids forever’.
It’s in stigmatising presumptions that he was mentally ill, or that his limited football career may have caused brain damage.
It’s in language like ‘tortured’ and ‘he snapped’.
On Thursday night, it was even explicit in speculation by a member of the Queensland Police. Speaking at a press conference, Detective Inspector Mark Thompson pondered: “Is it an instance of a husband being driven too far by issues that he’s suffered..?” (The force has since issued an apology and Thompson has been stood down from the investigation.)
With each phrase, each headline, each comment, the responsibility for this crime is leveraged a little further off the shoulders of this man.
‘Driven to it’… as if he was merely a passenger, as if he had little choice.
This was a man who subjected Hannah to repeated violence and abuse throughout their relationship.
Queensland Police have confirmed they’d dealt with him on a number of occasions and that he was under a Domestic Violence Order and the force’s Vulnerable Persons Unit had also been involved, offering counselling to Hannah and the children.
In December, with assistance from her parents, she was able to take her little ones and leave. Unlike so many people in an abusive relationship, she had a place to land, means to survive, a support network. It still couldn’t keep her safe.
This was a man who was controlling, manipulative and violent until the end.
He didn’t become dangerous because Hannah left. Hannah left because he was dangerous.