Stay Strong – it’s not your Fault - 16 July 2013

I was abused as a young child by a family member, sexualised from a very young age. 

It shocks me now that I have children of my own but at the time I felt guilt and shame. It was every cliché you ever hear, our "little secret" "no one will believe you" and so on. 

From there I started doing drugs and alcohol from around 13 years old — my school and family life suffered. My father was a nasty drunk and my mother had mental health issues, so I think I didn't have a good prospect from that point. 

I went from one bad relationship to another and started getting physically and psychologically abused to the point where I couldn't function normally with day to day tasks, for example I'd have a panic attack at the supermarket.

I got into drugs really heavily to numb myself and then everything I had bottled up for over a decade came spewing out like molten lava. I became physically violent towards others and damaged property, often getting in trouble with the police. 

Things came to a head with my abuser and I ended up getting help from Women's Refuge. I did a Women Against Violence course and other courses to meet other women , tell my stories and empower myself - what I had done had been denied and minimised for so long I felt so liberated when the tutors/counsellors would explain the cycle of violence and power and control.

It was NEVER my fault and I didn't deserve ANY of what was dealt to me. I am married now with beautiful children, with a man I love and have been with for seven years. 

Unfortunately a few days ago he was violent towards me and my eldest child witnessed the event. When he wouldn't leave I rang police. I felt awful as if I was betraying my best friend.

But I had to say to myself "It was his choice, and his actions put me in this position". 

Unfortunately violence is common place these days. Please speak up and get help or if you witness warning signs contact police or Women's Refuge. Things have changed for the better in the last few years, the police have systems and support in place and there are resources and websites for help.

Don't ever feel ashamed of being abused it is not your fault. I am hoping that I can help women/families one day with the life experience of this that I have first-hand. Stay strong.


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