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 the topic of domestic violence and might be triggering for some readers.
Like any proud grandparent, Sue Clarke's Brisbane home is filled with photographs of members of her family. But there's one wall in her lounge room dedicated to four of them in particular: her daughter, and three of her grandchildren.
Sue likes to sit in that room, gaze up at their portraits, and smile. She thinks about the "wonderful chaos" of the children chasing each other on their scooters outside, and how deeply her "bright, bubbly" daughter loved and lived for them.
The faces on that wall are ones many Australians would recognise. In February 2020 and since, they have appeared on the front pages of newspapers, news websites, and on television bulletins around the country.
The beautiful young family was killed by Hannah's estranged husband, after he ambushed her car on a morning school run. There, in broad daylight, on a normally quiet street in the Brisbane suburb of Camp Hill, he took the lives of the four people he ought to love most. Unwilling to live with the consequences, he also took his own.
Watch: Hannah was among the one Australian women lost to domestic violence every week.
The crime reignited the conversation about family violence in Australia. And, as details emerged of what Hannah and her children had endured prior to being killed, it introduced many to a form of abuse known as coercive control.
Sue Clarke among them. Though she had witnessed up close the devastating abuse that the perpetrator had inflicted on Hannah and his children, coercive control wasn't a term Sue was familiar with at the time.