Mum dreads deadly risk for daughter

By Kristin Edge

1 comment

A Northland mum struggling to free her daughter from a violent relationship fears her daughter will die at the hands of her partner.

She is calling for a law change that would allow family members to speak for a beaten woman.

Karen (not her real name) told the Northern Advocate she phones her daughter, who is in her 30s, at least twice a day to make sure she is still alive.

The mother, who did not want to identify her daughter for fear of repercussions, fears her daughter will be left brain damaged or even dead at the hands of her abusive boyfriend.

During the three-year relationship she has seen her daughter's face covered with bruises and her confidence levels plummet.

Karen has tried to convince her university-educated daughter to leave, but she tells her mother she does not have the strength to leave and she "loves" him.

"How the hell can you love someone who beats you? All we can do is wait for her to to get out or die or be severely brain damaged," Karen said.

When a domestic-violence death makes headlines it sends shudders down her spine and has her wondering - might her daughter be next?

Hundreds marched through Whangarei this week, nine days after mother-of-two Patricia McGrath, 32, was buried following an alleged assault in her Kamo home. She died in Whangarei Hospital.

Anti-domestic-violence leader Phil Paikea said this week men had to "man up" and help end the terror and silence surrounding home violence.

Karen said a law change was needed to allow family members to speak for beaten women.

"These women live with fear daily and are unable to reach out for help which takes extreme guts and strength. I know my daughter doesn't have the strength," she said.

"A spokesperson has to be involved along with a doctor so the complaint is authentic. Someone has to speak out.

"These cowards continually hit behind closed doors with no witnesses other than the beaten woman.

"As family we witness the bruising time after time. There needs to be thorough investigation by the police, especially when injuries are going on and there seems to be no explanation given."

The anguish was evident: "I know the hell we are living and how helpless we feel ... we are living a nightmare."

The police have been supportive but they have no power to prosecute.

"He does it when there is no one around, no witnesses," Karen said.

Once he had been charged with assaulting her but before the case went to court she had been threatened by one of his uncles. The case was dropped and she had never complained to the police again.

Karen said men who were violent also needed help which was not always readily available in rural areas of Northland.

Figures released to the Advocate show 2011 domestic violence incidents were reported in Whangarei/Kaipara in the 12 months to last June 30, and 1504 in the Far North; a total of 3515, or 67 a week on average.

That was an increase of about 500 reports over the previous year.

- Northern Advocate

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