What happened

My father began to abuse my mother when they got engaged. He beat her on their honeymoon. My father had my grandparents fooled and blamed my mother for her abuse. They moved to Australia and he completely isolated her.

I was born and the abuse only got worse. I do not remember a minute of my childhood without violence. My parents finally divorced when I was 18. They say they stayed married for my benefit. I would have preferred to live in a cardboard box under a bridge than see my father put his hands on my mother again.
The police did come one time and told him to leave to a friend’s house for 24 hours. They warned him if they were called to that address again, he would do time in jail. So my father turned to emotional abuse instead of physical.

Now years later, I had to forbid my father from visiting us as he is still abusive, threatening me with his will. I haven’t seen him for a few months and it has been peaceful since.

How I coped

From the age of two (the first time I remember him beating mum) until they divorced, I lied and smiled my way through life alone. When I got older I began talking with my friends and family about what really happened behind closed doors. I was an only child and I suffered in silence. I felt like I led a double life. I looked forward to going to school and I slept at friends’ homes every single weekend to escape the violence.

When I was 14, I turned to alcohol, cigarettes and drugs to cope. I had an almost-fatal car accident while intoxicated and that changed my life forever. I realised at that point I actually wanted to have a good life and live. I had to heal myself.

My advice

Say something. Don’t be afraid. Go to a friend’s home. Report it to the police. Get out before something terrible happens.