Amanda's Story

Amanda's Story

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At the age of 10 my life changed dramatically with my father suddenly dying. My mother remarried, and we were thrust us into a new world of domestic violence.

At the age of 10 my life changed dramatically with my father suddenly dying. My mother remarried, and we were thrust us into a new world of domestic violence.

As a young child I was very blessed being brought up in the Wimmera during the halcyon days of the wool boom. My mother had been a corporal in the Army and instilled in us strong values, that women were able and capable of achieving anything we put our minds to. My father was a wonderful man who embraced his children with unconditional love and so many dreams. Our home was a sanctuary.

I spent my teenage years at home walking on eggshells, in a level of high anxiety.

After my Father's sudden death we moved to Melbourne. New home, new school, new friends- in hindsight totally devastating for a 10-year-old. Life continued and we settled into a new normal for a couple of years. Then my mother met a charming man whom she later married. With this, they moved back to the country to run the property. What a big mistake. This charming man turned into a controlling, violent manipulative monster. I don’t believe we, my Mother and siblings, factored into his equation at all. He was after the property, the wealth, beautiful home and lifestyle that my father had worked so hard to create.

When he found it was not as easy as he thought to get his hands on the estate, he started his tyranny of fear and wife bashing. This was always when we were away at boarding school, but the damage was apparent on our return for holidays.

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The "damage" had escalated to the point where our mother was hospitalised with a broken jaw.

As time moved on his rages and moods became more apparent. Bad mood swings and the fear of our mother being bashed was forever present. I spent my teenage years at home walking on eggshells, in a level of high anxiety.

 

The "damage" had escalated to the point where our mother was hospitalised with a broken jaw. The police became involved however he was never charged with serious assault. Living in a country area and the loss of face for my mother meant this did not happen; she did not press charges. It was the 1960s and divorce was not the option it is today. I still to this day wonder why she didn’t kick him out. She was an incredible, intelligent, strong woman. It is an illustration of domestic violence being more invasive and complex than physical wounds inflicted.

I still to this day wonder why she didn’t kick him out. She was an incredible, intelligent, strong woman. It is an illustration of domestic violence being more invasive and complex than physical wounds inflicted.

He continued his destructive path and after about ten years this greedy, nasty creature was finally ready to move on. As a leaving gesture, he took what was left of my family’s possessions- valuable paintings, expensive cars and of course money.

 

After he left life became relaxed again, but fragmented as a result of these turbulent years. Our family unit was still bonded however the damage had been done. We had all been demeaned and mentally isolated from the niceties of life.

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I am a firm believer that we must surround ourselves with strong people who can pick you up when you fall

Reflecting on these years is emotion fuelled. My education was cut short due to the sublime indoctrination that we were not intelligent and could not achieve the great heights instilled in us as children. Therefore, university was not on my agenda. I did go on to achieve wonderful working environments and fabulous friendships. Now that I am middle aged I can reflect and gain strength and control. I believe the scars of this experience have had much to do with my inability to maintain relationships. I was married once, and have the two most beautiful daughters anyone could wish for. They ARE intelligent and kind. They are loving people. I have a beautiful grandson who melts my heart every day.

Now that I am middle aged I can reflect and gain strength and control.

No-one can remove the violent images of all our family photos being destroyed by him, or the few surviving covered in our mother's blood as she tried to salvage them. However, my life is now great. I know I can achieve whatever I wish for. I may not be wealthy, but I have a wealth of experience and no one can ever take that from me. Time heals and I am a firm believer that we must surround ourselves with strong people who can pick you up when you fall. Family is the strongest bond of all. I am truly blessed.

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