“From a young age I experienced domestic violence, and that violence was towards my mother on a daily basis.”
This was one of the opening statements made in the season four premiere episode of ABC’s You Can’t Ask That, spoken by a domestic abuse survivor named Libby in answer to the question “did you ever think this would happen to you?”
It’s a question put to a number of survivors in the episode, both men and women, as they share their stories of abuse, survival and answer a range of difficult questions as part of the TV series that is targeted towards asking the questions no one else wants to ask.
One woman is murdered by her current or former partner every week on average in Australia, according to research obtained by the ABC, with intimate partner violence a leading contributor to homelessness, illness, disability and premature death for women aged 18-44.
This episode of You Can’t Ask That digs a little deeper into the stories behind these shocking statistics, empowering eight survivors of domestic and family violence to reflect on their personal experiences of living in violent, abusive and controlling relationships.
“At the age of 12 we lost our mother from being murdered by her partner,” Libby says to the camera during the episode. “He ambushed her and killed her, then took is own life as well”.
Libby said that experiencing extreme family violence from such a young age had a long-term impact on her in the years that followed and she found herself in a violent relationship too.
“It did affect my life. I just wanted love and security and trust, but unfortunately what I wished for in life did not come”.
“My mum went through it, maybe it’s what I deserved. So I just accepted it. It was 10 years in before I even considered leaving”.
In the same episode of You Can’t Ask That, a woman called Roia tells the story of how she was forced into an arranged marriage at the age of 14.
“He came to Pakistan, where I met him for the first time, got married and then we were in Australia about three days after the
wedding,” she said. “He was really nice to me during the first year of the marriage, even though he controlled every aspect of my life”.