DV victim shares story of a lifetime of abuse to help others

"ON SEVERAL occasions he would come back to the flat, intoxicated, demand sex and hold me down. Yes, he would rape me. But what was I to do?"

It's never easy to talk about domestic violence but for a Rockhampton woman, who The Morning Bulletin has decided not to identify, sharing her story of a lifetime of abuse is how she saw the light at the end of a tunnel.

A tunnel is how she has described the past 54 years of her life; a dark, lonely tunnel that, for her, started when she was just six years old.

After suffering through a childhood of physical abuse by a step-parent, the woman went on to live a life of physical, emotional, sexual and financial abuse from three husbands and a boyfriend.

From being beaten as a child, raped on an apartment floor at the age of 21, brutally beaten by the same man in front of his mates, the woman, who says she is now single and living happily in a domestic violence free life, said she wanted to share her story to let other victims know that there is light at the other end of the tunnel.

"When you're a victim of DV you feel trapped like you're in a cocoon or a tunnel that just won't end," she said.

"But when you get out of the tunnel and you look back on everything that's happened to you, you realise that although you loved that person and wanted to help that person, you shouldn't have put yourself in an unsafe and unhealthy environment.

"I put up with a range of abuse and violence from a number of partners until I suffered a major bashing which made me realise my denial.

"I want the message out there that domestic violence is something victims and society should talk about and I want to encourage victims, both women and men, to come forward and get through that horrible tunnel to come out the other end just like I have.

"People always ask the question, why do you stay? Why would anyone stay with a man who beats or mistreats her? I'm not a psychiatrist, a social worker or an expert in domestic violence. I'm just one woman with a story to tell."

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