Family violence: 'Behind closed doors it was like a war zone'

New Zealand has the worst rate of family and intimate-partner violence in the world. Eighty per cent of incidents go unreported — so what we know of family violence in our community is barely the tip of the iceberg. Today we are telling the story of real victims. Some of this content may be confronting and upsetting. Please take care. Our aim is to raise awareness, to educate, to give an insight into the victims and perpetrators. We want to encourage victims to have the strength to speak out, and abusers the courage to change their behaviour.
Victim: He emotionally, physically and financially tore me to shreds bit by bit. Photo / iStock
Victim: He emotionally, physically and financially tore me to shreds bit by bit. Photo / iStock


In 2004 I met a man who I thought was the man of my dreams.

He was so nice in front of people but behind closed doors it was like a war zone.

At the start he smothered me with love, he was so loving but if I went against his word I was hit by a torrent of abuse.

Day by day he started isolating me more and more until I had no one - well, it felt like that.

I fell pregnant and had a beautiful boy. With baby number two a couple of years later thing escalated.

He emotionally, physically and financially tore me to shreds bit by bit. I became a prisoner in my own home.

He threatened to report me and belittled my parenting.

During the next five years I was subjected to terror, bloodshed, rape, name-calling and black eyes.

I tried to leave four times but each time promises of change were made.

I fell pregnant again with twins but this did not stop him; his rages and torrents of abuse continued.

At 22 weeks, I was thrown to the floor and I went into labour. Luckily It was stopped.

Throughout my pregnancy I was frequently admitted to hospital because I had severe morning sickness. He accused me of having affairs with doctors.

The twins were born and the violence became so bad.

Sex was no longer mutual, he just made me have it. The alternative of saying no lead to a barrage of verbal abuse, taunting and hitting.

I learnt very quickly for my own safety to just do it.

Days after giving birth to my twins I was forced to once again have sex. When I declined I was kicked from behind.

That year I tried three times to leave but he always said he would change.

I will never forget 2010, the day my life almost ended.

During the day I found the courage to leave. I knew today was the day.

Late that night he found me and forced his way through the door. He subjected me to a night-long ordeal.

He raped me, strangled me to the point of me passing out twice.

I have lost recollection of some of that night but the injuries to my neck both external and internal painted a picture of a battle I fought.

Charges were laid. He went to prison.

As of today he still isn't showing any remorse or guilt.

But I hold no hatred. I forgave early on to enable me to heal.

I am a survivor and each day I heal a wee bit more. Each day I am stronger than I was before.

If my story saves one women or makes a difference then I have had a positive outcome from all of this.

Kia kaha - be brave, be strong.

- NZ Herald

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