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Forms Of Abuseimages from the stories

Craig

It’s a bit strange... Until I had a bit of a wake-up call about how I was treating me own wife and kids, I never really thought much about me own childhood, and all the grief we copped from our step-dad. Now I can’t even go to the dunny without remembering that time back on the farm... I was only about 10 years old, I reckon... He just bashed down the dunny door, he was so furious just to get at mum. I tried to protect her but I was only a little tacker and all I did was get his anger and bull-dust at me. I swore I’d never end up like him... that’s how I ended up. I saw him smash bottles across people’s heads and hit mum. Me mum got up and left, and took off. It just made him really wild with us kids. I know I’ve done stuff to my wife and kids but I suppose I justified it that I thought it was pretty mild compared to what I had to put up with when I was kid. All me mates we all had some sort of domestic violence or child abuse. Now 30 years on, I’m going down the same track.

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Growing up in the bush and farm and whatever... You see, the world’s about survival, and to survive you control the environment... Just with the women and kids, it maybe got twisted around a bit. When I was a kid I used to get outside and never go home if I had to, just to get away from the violence... Unless I needed to get a feed or something, and even then I’d hang around outside, I wouldn’t go inside... I’d be on my own. When I was 14, I went up the station and started doing a bit of jackaroo-ing and a bit of fencing. It’s tough out there. I used to get picked on and then one day I just up and flattened this bloke, and that’s when it started. Unfortunately I was pretty fit, back then. And a few blokes got pretty badly hurt. Violence becomes... You use it to protect yourself and then, before you know it, you’re at home and conversation or a situation or something comes up that you’re not comfortable with. And the next thing you know, you’ve hit your girlfriend. I’ve done that a few times. I’m not proud of it.

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I tried talking to the sergeant about it. I got in a blue one night down the pub after Linda had left. The sergeant comes up to me and said, ‘you silly young prick... if you need to talk to someone just give us a shout and we’ll have a yarn’. Well the next week there was this bloke I just wanted to kill, so I rang up the sergeant and I said, ‘look, it’s time we had that yarn’. He was on the piss. He told me to piss off and get off the line. I just lost it for a while after that. I think blokes from the bush they don’t talk about things and I think that’s what you’ve got to do. You’ve got to just put it all out on the table and have a yarn... You’re out working all day, weeks on end. Work all day then get on the booze, have a few grogs and go out shooting half the night. Next day just do it all again... work... booze... shoot.  Eventually it gets to you and when you go home, the recipe is just not right for the missus and the kids. They want your time, they want to talk to you about this or that or they want to... it just doesn’t bit.

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I didn’t see any sense to the lawyer... He told me to go and see this psychiatrist. And he showed me how to see the signs, you know, when I’ve, sort of, got to take it easy or back off or just not do so much work out there. Sometimes you’ve just got to get off the grog and just back off a bit and just not work everyday.

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Got in late one night, it was her birthday and she’d been waiting up for me and went crook. I threw a cup, it went through the window behind her... I never hit her but as good as. And anyway, I yelled at her and just told her to stop hassling me. I just stormed out and shot through for the night. When I came back the next afternoon, Linda and the kids had gone. She recognised the signs and that was the end of that relationship. We’d been beaut for years. She’d never seen that sort of violence and didn’t want any part of it... ‘Got a ‘Dear John letter’. She was 800 km away at her mums.

Wish we had of talked. Me, I’m glad because now I want to see my girls and I know that I’ve got to change... I’ve got to take things in... I’ve got to sort things out because I don’t want my girls to grow up with the violence like I had to. Like other people have had to grow up with it... it just burns you out.

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Linda’s moved to some pretty rough country town, not real happy. I don’t want the kids growing up there. I’m hoping they’re going to come home and visit, spend some time on the farm.