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Family Violence Support

Bec's Story

From the outside, Bec's life looked great. Her and her partner owned a house in "the good part" of town, they had 3 beautiful children, drove nice cars, the family even took trips to the snow each year. Bec was from a great family, she was educated, intelligent, and sensible - she had even gone back to University after having children. However, behind closed doors things were different. Although the relationship with her partner had started okay, it had gradually progressed to tension & fighting and eventually he started using violence and abuse to control her and their lives together. 

Bec says "You picture a certain stereotype when you think of abuse or domestic violence. You think battered wife with a black eye and bruises, low socio-economic position, perhaps even an area of the town they may live in." 

Bec's life didn't fit that label. She didn't see herself as a "victim" or her partner as "the perpetrator" - they were very serious words and carried with them certain feelings and attitudes. However, Bec's life wasn't as rosy on the inside as it appeared on the outside and the cracks were beginning to show. Apart from physically abusing her when they disagreed, there was a lot of controlling behaviour that Bec didn't recognise as abuse - she had no access to money, made no decisions or choices, she didn't even have a key to the house.

Although Bec had thought about leaving the notion of actually leaving was paralysing. Bec says "The fear would become too overwhelming - where would I go? What would I do? What would happen if I left? What about the kids and school...?" And through all of this Bec hadn't confided in anyone - not her parents or even her best friend. 

Bec found herself at WRISC after the police intervened. Bec still felt she wasn't an appropriate candidate and was hesitant to take up any services. After all hadn't she just had a relationship that was just "going badly"? When Bec met her WRISC case worker she was still struggling with thoughts about how she had let it come to this? "How did this happen to me? It doesn't happen to people like me." Her case worker organised emergency accommodation for Bec and her 3 children. Bec describes that first night in the house "it was quiet and peaceful, the kids were asleep in their own beds instead of all in together, we weren't afraid.....we felt safe." It was at this time that Bec realised the full extent of what she had been living through.

Although Bec was overwhelmed with the fact that she needed to accept help, she was amazed at the care and assistance that was offered to her. Her case worker assisted with applications for private rental properties, with the financial costs of setting up a house and buying food and essentials, she continued to check in with Bec regularly to see how she was going and to make sure the children were also okay. The children were provided with counselling and programs through WRISC's Children's worker. Bec says "there was a great balance of keeping an eye on us, but it was not intrusive." 

What about now?

I have gone from fearing for my life and simply trying to survive the next 24 hours to living life, making plans and having a future.

It is now over 2 years since Bec started her new life. She has finished her University degree and works in Psychiatric Services, she has remarried, and the children and doing really well at school and at home. She says "I have gone from fearing for my life and simply trying to survive the next 24 hours to living life, making plans and having a future. I can honestly say that if I had not left I would have become a statistic. I also feel that if it hadn't been for WRISC's help the recovery would have taken much longer and been a lot more challenging."

Domestic violence and abuse can happen to anyone from anywhere, at any age, in any stage of life.

Finally, Bec says there is an important message that the community needs to know "Domestic violence and abuse can happen to anyone from anywhere, at any age, in any stage of life. We need to break down that stereotype. I was an educated, intelligent and sensible person and through no fault of my own found myself in this situation. You don't know what happens behind closed doors, sometimes even your own. We need to recognise the process and what's happening and try and help others... before it gets to the pointy end. If I had have know that services like WRISC were available, I would have left sooner. I never thought I would have the chance to make plans and decisions for my future. I now have that."

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