If it’s as bad as they say it is, why don’t abused women just pack up and leave? In the end Carmel*, Lisa* and Anna* did leave their abusive husbands — but not without pain, guilt and heartbreak.
These three stories about Australian Lutheran women are extracted from Linda Macqueen's award-winning story, 'Leaving him', published in The Lutheran in 2010.
* indicates names have been changed
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‘In the end I became a robot, with no thoughts of my own. My only thought was that so long as I could keep Tony happy, I would survive.’
Carmel* was a first-year student at a Sydney university, living 300 kilometres from home. She fell head over heels in love with Tony*, a fellow student. ‘We loved each other. I held really dear our wedding text, Ruth 1:16, as I changed so much of my life to be part of his.
‘Tony was a control freak. He had a job where he could boss people around, and he thought it was okay to treat me the same way — like one of his subordinates.’
‘But when I look back on all that now, I can see that Graham’s behaviours had nothing to do with love. They were about domination, about his need to own and control me.'
Anna* met Graham* at a youth ‘social’ 30 years ago and fell in love with his ‘manliness’. She’d had a few boyfriends before, but they were not the strong, masculine type she’d always dreamt about. Graham was.
He was charming ... 'I didn't realise then that I was committing myself to years of verbal and physical abuse.'
When Lisa* was 19 she met a charming man, who, on one of their first times together, spent his last $6 on a rose for her.
'I thought he was incredibly sweet and wanted to spend the rest of my life with him. I didn’t realise then that I was committing myself to years of sexual, verbal and physical abuse. I came to know Andrew* as a man who could sell sand to Arabs. He had a way of twisting the truth to convince me to do what he wanted to do.’