‘I Loved my Dad – Despite the Hidings’ - 14 January 2014

I used to bury my head in the pillow and hum to myself to drown out the sound of my drunken father verbally and physically assaulting my mother.

He'd frequent the pub once a week and each time without fail, come home, scream at her, throw food at the wall and beat her up.

Sometimes he'd wake me and my sisters up to come and watch him go through this weekly ritual. I hated it so much and often pleaded with my mother in my mind, for her to leave him.

Even when he wasn't drunk he had a terrible temper. He loved us but was just out of control. As children my older sister was almost taken out of the home because of bruises the doctor spotted on her from a hiding she'd received from our dad - she was only about 3 or 4 years old at that time.

Through the course of my life we all got hidings. They ranged from controlled whacks with the belt to out of control beatings — I had my head put through the wall on a couple of occasions.

I still loved my dad. It's strange how they can on one hand do this kind of thing but in other ways be a really good parent. He provided well for our family. He worked hard. He maintained a regimented schedule so home life was stable.

When I was 15 years old, my mum left him. By that stage I had very little respect for my mother — when you watch someone get abused for 15 years straight, your own attitude towards them is impacted.

I stayed with my dad rather than go with her to the women's refuge. A few years later I was in a relationship of my own for the first time. I fell pregnant and then began copping abuse myself. I felt like absolute shit. Nothing can describe how horrible that feeling is. To have someone lay their hands on you — as a grown woman.

I prayed for strength to leave him and a couple of years later I did. I still feel wounded by all of this. I love both my parents to this day but look back on my past and wonder how different life would be if I hadn't had to endure that.

I'm successful now but one of my sisters has really been hurt by it all. I don't hit my children but I am a single mother of two. All of this has really affected my ability to have a loving relationship. I also have a short temper that I have to keep in check constantly. I also know I still have issues with self-worth.

I now know how much family violence messes up families and people in ways that might seem invisible but eventually come to the surface.


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