Domestic violence - end the cycle: no silence about violence

End the cycle: stop family violence. Photo supplied

End the cycle: stop family violence. Photo supplied

"HE had his hands around my neck, and I thought, 'this could actually be it'".

This was the night Highlands resident Lisa Jones* called the police and reported her abusive partner of four years.

Lisa remembers the night clearly. She remembers thinking if she screamed, cried or told him to "bug off," he would only get angrier and tighten his grip around her neck. After four years of emotional and physical abuse, Lisa learnt to hide her emotions and instead agreed with everything Tom Smith* was saying.

"He was calling me a psycho and I agreed," she said.

"It worked. It calmed him down.

"It was the first time in that awful circumstance that something clicked, I realised I needed to take back the power and I did."

Lisa told Tom she was going home to get the number of a psychologist. Instead she called the police. Tom followed her home and by the time he reached her house, the police arrived and arrested him straight away.

Tom was convicted of a common assault charge and Lisa took out her first AVO against him.

Lisa and Tom met online about 11 years ago. She remembers being charmed by his humour and the way he always said "the right things".

"Looking back now, I came into it with vulnerability and naivety," she said.

A couple of months into the relationship, Lisa started to get doubts and began to question some of his behaviour. Looking back at it now, Lisa remembers this as the beginning of the emotional abuse and manipulation used against her.

"From there, it didn't take long for him to literally stand over me and scream at my face," she said.

Then, the physical abuse started. Lisa remembers the first time after Tom had been drinking. She remembers recognising how agitated he was.

"He snapped. He changed. I could see it in his eyes," she said.

"He actually shook me like a rag doll."

It continued from there. He never punched her, but she was kicked, pushed, pinned against the wall and dragged by the hair.

"He told me that it wasn't abuse with a closed fist," Lisa said.

"I never even thought of telling the police. It was insanity."

The situation got worse and after a disagreement one night, Lisa was picked up and thrown onto the ground and then picked up and thrown onto her car.

"His strength was unbelievable," she said.

Lisa still didn't report it to the police.

She realised domestic violence was "police business" months later when Tom was trying to choke her. She took out the first AVO against him, but this wasn't the end of their relationship.

She went back to him, but quickly his abusive behaviour returned. It wasn't long until she took out another AVO against him and permanently ended the relationship.

Now, through strength and courage, Lisa remembers the experience as one of the best lessons of her life.

"Through the experience and counseling, I realised that it's not my fault," she said.

"I learnt what I could do to make myself abuse proof.

"He was one of my greatest teachers. I learnt to like me. I don't see myself as a victim of the relationship, I chose to stay. I always made the choices."

*Names have been changed.

If you have been a victim of domestic violence, or if you have been a perpetrator and want to share your story, please contact Dominica Sanda at dominica.sanda@fairfaxmedia.com.au.

Smartphone
Tablet - Narrow
Tablet - Wide
Desktop