WHEN Mary began a relationship with her partner he seemed kind and considerate, but little did she realise it would end in a frightening separation eight years later.
She is now living in another district in what she hopes is a safe place away from any retribution.
Mary, who is aged under 30, had lived in the Warrnambool district until recently.
“There are many women out there just like me who have suffered violence for years,” she said.
“Something has to be done to make family violence a bigger issue so more people will take notice.
“You don’t have to accept it. Too many people are going through trauma without proper support.
“It was only when I sought help from a psychologist I realised I had been accepting it as normal for too long.
“I had experienced extreme physical abuse as a child and later when I moved into a steady relationship with a man I just accepted what he was doing too me was normal.
“And he kept telling me I got what I deserved.
“There was financial, psychological and emotional abuse. No punches, but he would hold me against my will and threatened violence.
“I can’t sleep properly and still fear that he’ll find out where I am.”
Mary said she had difficulty convincing police to intervene because they wanted evidence of her claims.
Eventually she obtained a court intervention order, but that didn’t halt the intimidation, which continued until she fled the area.
“I’ve been lucky to have support from my psychologist, otherwise I would have been in a much worse situation,” she said.
. Names have been changed for confidentiality.