A BALLARAT family has told of the toll family violence has had as it infiltrated two generations.
The family, who spoke to The Courier under the condition of anonymity said their lives have been turned upside down by family violence which started “out of the blue” a decade ago and has now continued as children have grown and formed their own relationships.
“I know the cycle of violence, I know the trans-generational stuff, and I’m really struggling,” the mother of the family said.
“My children saw that I didn’t put up with it, I left and did everything possible but it’s still ongoing. It’s about removing the perpetrator and never allowing him back into our lives, I hope my children will be able to do the same.
'You must have asked for it’, `you must have made him angry for him to hit you’, `you wore a short skirt so you’re asking to get raped’, that’s all just ridiculous.A family violence victim
“For me there was physical violence but also a lot of emotional and psychological abuse as well. No person should have to hear what was said, it’s simply horrible stuff which hurts even more than having broken bones.”
One of the children who has watched family violence happen around her said there was a feeling of helplessness.
“As a sibling or a daughter, you don’t get listened to,” she said. “There has been times when we’ve tried to help, but the perpetrator has control. It affects every aspect of our lives. We’ve been made the enemy, when all we’ve ever wanted to do is look out for each other.
“A lot went on behind the scenes, people can be manipulative and you fall for it. I was in denial that it was happening for a long time. You hear it so often, but you still think how can it happen to your family?”
For the mother, who has herself found the strength to leave an abusive relationship, she is warning of how easy it can be to fall into the a destructive pattern.
READ MORE: Ballarat’s family violence shame
“You have to be ready, it can happen at anytime,” she said. “I’ve tried and tried and tried to look out for my children. You must be ready to go to counselling, it does make a huge difference.
“There is light at the end of the tunnel, but in no way is it an easy road. It takes an awful lot of strength, but there is the support out there.
“WRISC Family Violence Support has been fantastic for us. Berry Street (child and family services) are fantastic as well. There are counselling services for children affected by domestic violence, but at first it’s all about having the strength within yourself to reach out and knowing that people are not going to think any less of you.
“There is still a stigma around, `you must have asked for it’, `you must have made him angry for him to hit you’, `you wore a short skirt so you’re asking to get raped’, that’s all just ridiculous.
“It’s like suicide, it should be spoken about it more often. Women are particularly worried about how they are being perceived, don’t be.”
The mother said she was encouraged by the introduction of a dedicated police family violence unit.
No person should have to hear what was said, it’s simply horrible stuff which hurts even more than having broken bones.the mother of the family
“I know in Ballarat they are doing stuff in the secondary schools in to prevent it from occurring, but I still think we need so much more education because quite often it is a learned behaviour from watching a father or uncle or somebody,” she said.
“Don’t get me wrong, there is family violence in same sex relationships as well, the figures surrounding women are extraordinary, but it never gets reported.
“The family violence unit in Ballarat has got so much better. When I first started experiencing it, when police removed my ex-husband, the unit was very new.
“I went to a seminar a few months ago and one of the officers from the unit came and spoke and I thought, `well it’s about time’.
“There needed to be a lot more focus put on it. It used to be six-week rotations, when I was involved, it was rotations without training, they were normal cops and they’d change all the time and you’d have to start again, this is so much better for everyone now.”
- WRISC 5333 3666
- Berry Street 5330 5000
- National sexual assault, domestic and family violence counselling and information referral service 1800 RESPECT (1800 737 732)
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