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Survivor: We spend a lifetime reliving our experience in our heads, and apologising to our children.

September 27 2016 By ANONYMOUS

We are women in our 80's. Our children are in their 50's and 60's. We have carried the scars of domestic violence throughout our lives.

Back of a woman's head Image

Reading Amy Mitchell-Whittington’s piece in the Brisbane Times about “Not now. Not Ever” yesterday, triggered a few bitter thoughts.
 
This admirable report is too late for my generation, with or without amendments.

We are women in our 80's. Our children are in their 50's and 60's.

We have carried the scars of domestic violence throughout our lives. 

There was nowhere to run, nowhere to seek help. We lived secret lives, ashamed and ground down.

We all have stories to tell, but most of us won’t be telling them because it is far too late and we are still ashamed. That’s hindsight for you. We think we could have done things differently. Could we? We spend a lifetime reliving our experience in our heads, and apologising to our children. 

We are nearing the end of our lives, but our children still have far to go and most tragic is their burden - these children, the ultimate victims of domestic violence. 

You don’t hear mention of the grief felt by mothers who witness their adult children struggle with the physical and psychological impact of domestic violence. They were both witnesses to and victims of domestic violence. Their lives were shaped by these toxic experiences. They were deeply damaged. 

Their childhoods should have been carefree, joyous, with home as a safe haven but were instead places of danger and uncertainty, requiring constant vigilance and the need to hide and run at any time.

So when you count the cost to society of domestic violence, remember that cohort of middle-aged men and women who today still bear the scars of a culture that existed 60 or so years ago. With their own children grown, they will end their working lives and drift into old age, still the long-term victims of domestic violence. 

You may not recognise them. They may seem strong, with successful careers, married, with children, homes and so forth.

But you will be wrong.

It is extremely likely their adult lives have been marked by alcoholism, drug addiction, depression and other medical or psychological problems. Some will have chosen suicide - and still might. Every single one of them will always be a victim of domestic violence.

I have four adult children. I speak from experience.

If you or someone you know is impacted by sexual assault, domestic or family violence, call 1800RESPECT on 1800 737 732 or visit 1800RESPECT.org.au. In an emergency, call 000. For more information about a service in your state or local area download the DAISY App in the App Store or Google Play