Letters: Domestic violence - one readers personal experience
Letters: DOMESTIC violence has come a long way since I experienced it in the late '60s and '70s.
At least now it is talked about amongst people... it sure wasn't when I was in the middle of it; not even to one's parents, for "domestic violence doesn't happen in good families" was what we were told and one never ever told anyone. In fact, we would probably die before we did.
My first husband started drinking after we had two children and he got mixed up with older men who travelled with him on the long trip from the Blue Mountains to Sydney for work.
He started being violent when I said anything about what had happened to make him late. Later we moved nearer to the City, and having only one car with both of us working we had to share the car to get to and from work.
I often sat in the car for hours on end, next to a public phone so I could phone the children and see how they were going (now had four, aged 14 down to five).
He was obviously drunk the night he crashed the car while I sat for hours in the closed office, where I worked, waiting for him to pick me up, but police did not charge him.
If they had it could have saved our marriage and him going into a terrible life of being a drunk, using drugs, sleeping around, and all that violence, a person with two faces - one a violent drunk (if offended) and the other the nice guy.
If they had arrested him and he had to appear in court he would have been embarrassed and maybe I would have been able to share with others how violent he was at home, how often he waited for the kids to go to sleep before doing terrible things to me.
I know one night after he had fallen into a drunken sleep after assaulting me, I got the old air rifle we had and thought how easy it would be to end it all by putting it against his head and pulling the trigger.
I couldn't hit a cow unless it was side-on, but point blank would have been different. However, I decided it wasn't worth going to jail for and leaving the kids to the care of others, so I smashed the gun to bits.
When he saw the gun all smashed in the morning, he asked what had happened and I told him the truth.
One would expect that to have some effect, but it did not and he got worse until I sought a divorce and became a single mum who struggled on one wage as his then girlfriend told him I was misusing the $20 per child he had to pay for three of the children, because I bought them school clothes and put food on the table for them with it, instead of giving it to them to spend.
I felt sorry when I read on Facebook he had died two years ago at age 70, but boy was it nice to know I would never have to see him again, and now I am 72 it is nice to know that I outlived him and have been happily married for 26 years to a younger man who doesn't drink, doesn't sleep around or take drugs and who simply loves me because I am me.
I hope pressure will force the departments concerned to treat domestic violence as it does any other kind of violence.
I believe the Prime Minister's idea to put tracking devices on to repeat domestic violence offenders (the ones they know about at least) will help, but as my husband said last night, they would have to put one on the wife as well because he could stalk her and still not get caught again.
I thank God that I lived in PNG for 11 years as a volunteer. There are many people there who believe violence is allowable just because they want to be violent to gain something.
I learnt there that with my personality, I would fight in any way I could to stop violence against me by anyone and if I hurt a person who attacked me with ill intent, then that was justice.
I would do the same here, if it happened to me or I saw it happening to someone else, and worry about the consequences later.
Please push on with this goal of having it reported and out there in the face of all people.