A piece of me that doesn't spark joy

Recently while on an organisation mission, I stumbled across old documents, the first was an ‘Interim Apprehended Violence Order’ and the second was ‘Breach AVO’ from 2002. Neither document ‘sparked joy’, but I couldn’t bring myself to throw them away.

This topic is something I would like to bring to your attention, but it’s easier to hide. It’s something that comes with hurt, embarrassment, isolation and regret, but it can be overcome. Domestic Violence. The reality is 1 in 3 people (male or female) will experience domestic violence at one point in their life. 1 IN 3! That is 30,000 of my insta friends and that statistic is alarming!

I’m going to share a little piece of me from my younger days.

To celebrate my 18th birthday I ordered myself a bowl of juicy, green peas. I was having a pregnancy craving. I was pregnant on my 18th birthday. Once the initial shock of being a teen mum had subsided I was overjoyed. I have always been a happy-go-lucky, positive and bubbly person. Those characteristics were almost taken from me. One month after my ‘wild’ 18th celebrations, the father of my beautiful baby bump (X) was attending a concert. While X was attending the concert he locked me in the laundry. I was trapped in that laundry for seven hours. X returned home intoxicated and punched all the artwork around the house, breaking the glass and cutting his fists. He opened the laundry door and flicked his bloody hands at me. I was embarrassed and desperately wanted a ‘happy family’. I never told a soul.

Promises of finding a job, getting married, a happy life and midnight orange runs to fulfill my pregnancy cravings kept us together.

Our beautiful baby arrived and after going into protective mum mode, I gave her my surname. Which created many disagreements. The distance between arguments became less and less. By the time our daughter was three months old, I found myself crying constantly. Everything I did became an argument. He urinated on my floor to mark his territory. X became relentless, I felt helpless, alone and trapped. It had now gone on for over a year. Around the one year mark X took it to a whole new level. He told me he wished I was dead, he spat on our precious daughter and questioned that he was the father. The moment he involved our daughter I called the police.

During my call to 000 I was unable to talk, X had taken the phone from me and was hitting me over the head with it. Thankfully, the police arrived. The next day there was an article in the local newspaper that described our situation which published his name. I was embarrassed and ashamed, however that day I was contacted by several family and friends who let me know they were there for me. They gave me a hug and told me I would be OK. They stood beside me in court and helped out with our beautiful baby when I needed them. I remember my mother saying ‘Life is going to through things at you, you don’t need things physically thrown at you too’. It was time to let go of my unrealistic dream of a happy family.

At court X confessed and was incredibly remorseful for his actions. He sort counselling. I never stopped him from seeing his daughter, but it was always in the safety of his grandmothers house. The world seemed peaceful with the AVO in place. Until it didn’t. Until one day X broke into our home through the bathroom window. I was ironing at the time, he took the iron from me and burnt his own arm. I can still remember the smell. He told me, people would think I did it to him. He then found a sharp knife and held it to my throat… I thought I was going to die in that moment and all I could think about was our daughter. Thankfully the neighbors heard my screams and the police arrived.

That was the last time I would ever let anything happen to myself or my daughter.

I wish I found the strength to notify police and walk away the very first time I was locked in the laundry. I wish that I spoke to family and friends sooner. The biggest mistake you can make is to let people stay in your life longer than they deserve. I can only hope that someone reading this who is going through a difficult time knows that you don’t have to accept or live with physical violence or emotional abuse. You are stronger and have more power than you know. You can escape the situation. You are important and raising children in a safe, loving environment is important. If you suspect or know someone is going through a difficult time, be there for them.

Today, 18 years later, my daughter and I have a healthy, distant relationship with her biological father. It took 12 years for me to own sharp knives again and I still cry when certain songs play on the radio, but looking back I’m proud of my 18 year old self. I am grateful to now be in a respectful, kind, supportive and very loving relationship. I am no longer ashamed of my story. If you find yourself in a difficult situation please know that something wonderful is waiting to ‘spark joy’ for you.

There are people waiting to help you.

Australia

1800RESPECT

1800 737 732

Lifeline

13 11 14

America

1-800-799-SAFE

1800 799 7233

Rhianna Bruscella