Dear Awesome Homicide Detective,
Sir or Madam, I applaud you. Not only for the work you do helping domestic violence victims and their families. But for your open letter urging people to speak out, as preventable domestic violence deaths continue.
I am a TV Documentary Producer, but I am also a Survivor of domestic violence. Many of my friends and closest colleagues had no idea about my secret past. I never spoke out about it until only recently.
I was a victim in the 1980s and almost killed by my ex. Back then few cared about domestic violence. It was just that, a ‘domestic’ matter. A private one, a hidden secret, swept under the carpet, one you didn’t talk about. There were many people and many times others could have helped me. But few did.
I have now decided to tell my own story. I want to add my voice to others who have done so, such as the incredible Rosie Batty. I feel able to now. Finally domestic violence is getting the attention and weight it deserves. Maybe now someone will listen?
Telling my story is connecting me to other victims, still going through their ordeals. One of them had Sydney’s Rose Bay Police Station attend an incident, in which her husband choked her. The same police station I walked into 7 months pregnant, in shock, after fleeing my ex who had strangled me.
She tells me it now has a kick-ass female cop who runs a Domestic Violence unit there. I believe it’s one of the busiest stations in Sydney for this type of crime, despite its wealthy neighbourhood. As you know, unlike what many people think, domestic abuse doesn’t discriminate.
Wow, I thought, a dedicated domestic violence unit! Things have changed! But then I read your letter and of course, nothing has changed at all.
Too many times I’ve heard one partner tell me how sorry they are and that they didn’t mean for their partner to die, it’s too late.
Too many times I’ve witnessed kids watch as one parent is taken away in handcuffs, while facing the reality of burying the other.
Too often I hear friends and family say they’ve observed signs of domestic violence, yet they didn’t report it.
I can’t imagine how it must be for you dealing with such senseless tragedies day in, day out. I thank God for good, honest men or women like you.
I also thank you for your words which urge us all to speak out, trust our instincts and make that call. To ‘speak up and don’t be idle while these preventable deaths continue’. I couldn’t agree with you more.
Domestic abuse is not a women’s issue. It’s a human issue. Whilst 1-2 women still die every week at the hands of their partner or ex-partner, it’s an epidemic. One that we can no longer sweep under the carpet and ignore. You end by saying:
Domestic and family violence is a cycle that can be broken.
That is your most important message of all. It can. I know, because I broke it.
Domestic violence is a cycle that passes down from generation to generation. Negative patterns of behaviour imprinted from one to the next. The perpetrator’s lack of empathy and narcissism, instilled early on. The victim’s lack of self-esteem, set in childhood. Their inability to set healthy boundaries. The tendency to put others before themself, making them ripe for manipulation and abuse.
As you know, we victims spend years wasting our energy trying to fix those who abuse us. Waiting and hoping for them to change. That must frustrate the hell out of you, seeing us go back time and again. In the futile belief that the nice, remorseful one that appears after violence, will stay. The abuse will never happen again. Until it does.
It’s a cycle only we can break. I’m not saying we’re to blame for the violence. They are responsible for their actions. But one day it dawned on me. I couldn’t fix him or the relationship. I risked losing my life trying to do so. But I could take responsibility for my own safety. The person I could fix was me.
Once I refocussed all that energy I’d been wasting on him and got help and support. Once I started to heal myself, my life changed forever. I now knew I was worth more than that. I deserved better. I could say no, this is not good enough for me. Mine was one of those potential deaths you are talking about. One of those that was preventable.
Sir or Madam, I am honoured to add my voice to yours. I too will urge others to call out abuse if they see it. I will continue to speak up and tell victims: no love is worth dying for. You can break the cycle of violence.
Here I add my voice with my first Live Facebook video recording:
My domestic violence story, why I am telling it now and why I have created an online video course to help others go from Victim to Survivor
Posted by Vivian McGrath on Friday, June 2, 2017
Domestic violence help and support is widely available. Please see resources here
I’m excited to tell you doors are now open to first ever online video course, to help those of you who are going through what I went through. To take you on the same journey I took. To show you how you can change your mindset from Victim to Survivor in just a few weeks. So that you can:
- know if you’re in an abusive relationship
- understand the tactics narcissists use and how NOT to be manipulated by them
- decide if the relationship’s good enough for you or if it’s time to leave.
Don’t wait another day or week without doing everything you can to be sure you are in a relationship that is good enough for you. Live the life you love and one you won’t look back on with regret. Life is too short. Join START WITH ME: Victim to Survivor now, you deserve it. Watch my VIDEO here: