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Pete's personal story

I am now 18 months since separation but her abuse lay in her ability to draw me back in with promises never fulfilled. Last Christmas I took a stand and I refused spending a night with her after her success at reuniting us the previous month. I took a personal stand against twelve long years of alcohol fuelled domestic violence and abuse which came in all textbook forms.

My brilliance and I guess ironically my downfall was at hiding her abuse from others. I have no witnesses. My own children feel too intimidated to come forward. She assaulted me with her parents in the very next room one night, splitting my head open before attempting to drive from our farm drunk. In trying to get the keys from her, I received a barrage of kicks through the car window and then she forced me to hide my blood stained face by climbing through a bedroom window. I then overheard the humiliation as she returned to her cheerful self, explaining to her mystified family that I had suddenly got tired and needed some sleep.

That is one of about fifteen assaults – always around summer time – always when she's had a skinful. In between I have dealt with economic and emotional abuse, social isolation, irrational and imagined jealousies and gas-lighting, where she would set me up in conflict with people ranging from her sons, to my own brothers and with complete strangers, sit back and watch the carnage and then deny ever having said a thing: building a protective wall around her violence by fabricating evidence that ‘Pete clearly has an anger issue’.

And why was last Christmas so important for me to be strong and make that final break? Because exactly twelve months before, she attempted – drunk beyond comprehension – to kill me in her car in front of our then seven year old son. A Christmas night ruined. Gifts damaged; our son screaming; the night punctuated by a punch to the back of my head: a king hit that would have had a man jailed within about an hour.

It takes time to recover. It takes time to sit back and take stock and after a year apart and the anniversaries of assaults and the overwhelming dread of being alone and realising that your behaviours are due to the trauma you have suffered, it finally dawns. Sadly the twelve month statute of limitations hinders any prosecution. Attempted murder and it was her lawyer gloating to me that the cops had given up before I finally asked them for an update. Their response: ‘oh, yeah? didn't we mention? Must have slipped our mind.’ Her lawyer has threatened me with an AVO and has demanded I make all communication through him. I refuse because it would give that ounce of credibility to her nonsense where there is none: I never hurt or threatened to hurt her or any family member. Or any person for that matter. Ever. The irony in being threatened with an AVO cuts deep. And it shames where there needs to be justice instead. Her lawyer quite hates me: well, he thinks he does. He's blinded by his well-funded heroism with a one-woman audience who knows how well he's being duped. Poor sod hasn't quite worked it out yet and so keeps advising her poorly.

And now she has withheld my son from me for eight long months and I am beside myself with grief for him. What will that first conversation look like? What do I say when he asks ‘where have you been?’

What protects me and him? Is it any coincidence that her two now adult sons from another man never saw their father during their lifetime? Is it any coincidence we only have her word that he needed lawful action taken against him? I raised those two men of hers. Homework. School fees. The sex talk. Scooping vomit, the drop punt and wrong-un (I even built their bloody bedrooms from scratch) and their thanks has come in the form of estrangement. Even in the face of their mother's irrational drunken madness, they show that their blood is still thicker.

She is now doing the same to my son. And there is nothing I can do.

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