Here is a shortened version of a letter received by Yarredi Services:
"I'd like to take this opportunity to express my heartfelt thanks to the wonderful staff of Yarredi Services, Port Lincoln. Earlier this year) I found myself in the depths of despair trying to think of a way to end my life without causing anyone else to become inadvertently involved... From the moment I was put in touch (with the service) the high level of professionalism, encouragement, compassion shown...is a credit to (Yarredi)... (resulting in) a successful outcome. Each time I rang or visited I found the Staff to be at all times friendly, cheerful, helpful... and I have no hesitation in recommending the service to anyone in need.
A short excerpt from My Domestic Violence Life - A Survivor's Story, a booklet written by a client of the Port Lincoln Regional Domestic Violence Service.
My name is Melissa (not her real name) and I am 36 years old. I lived in a defacto relationship with my partner of 13 years. Throughout the years of staying involved with him I had 6 children who I adore and protect with my life, but I paid the price of putting my children in a dangerous cycle of domestic violence in which we were traumatised, physically and emotionally and mentally, and he abused us financially so that we had little help living day to day.
We had no outside communication, being held as prisoners in our own home. He locked us indoors, no family members were allowed to visit, and even his own family wasn't to know how he treated us. He had a drug and alcohol problem... he was coming home drunk and drugged off his face and would abuse me sexually every day and night. I can't remember a lot of it as I used to shut my eyes and hope it would all be over. He would beat me and argue if I did not give in to him. When I did try to leave he would blackmail me and use the kids against me.
He would blame me for everything... if the kids were hungry we would have no money because he used it on himself. He would get jealous of his mates and beat me all over my body in places that he knew no-one would see my bruises. I would forgive him every time and h would say 'give me one more chance'. I lost count of the times I gave him 'one more chance'.
He was the father of my children but he had no love for them. He showed no love towards us. We loved him so much we endangered our lives for him. He would show no mercy towards us, only hatred. I wasn't allowed to be sick because it wasn't his nature to take responsibility of caring for the kids and he would argue about it until I would break down and cry. When he would come home it would be for an argument. "What the hell had I been doing all day, putting me down saying I was ?lazy and worthless", I "wasn't a good mother and I didn't know how to look after my kids".
He would put my family down a lot saying they were useless and I was never allowed to speak about them. My children were never allowed to socialise with anyone or talk to anyone about how we lived at home. Eventually I told him the relationship was over but he refused to believe it and said he loved me. I kept saying "No, it's over." I contacted the police, had a restraining order put in place, went to the women's shelter for accommodation and had counselling for me and the kids. I moved to another house that me and the kids call home. We moved into the house with no furniture, but since moving into the house we love our freedom. We can move about whenever and wherever we want and I've got friends that come over and socialise with me and my family. I am in a new relationship and I have a full time job. I am also studying.
Thank you to Melissa who decided to share her story with others who, like herself, have been subjected to domestic violence. Her story is a message of hope that women can break free from domestic violence and move on with their lives.