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Forms Of Abuseimages from the stories

Marla

I’ve been scared in that car plenty of times. He’d grab me out of the car by the hair of my head and shove my face in the dirt… and he, um…he flogged me… you know how you get those um, bike handles, like the bikes that you push the kids around on? Yeah, with the handle of that, you know, he started beating me up with that. Like sometimes, he’d say, oh, you know, ‘let’s go for a ride, like maybe to a friend’s place or something. But he’d lie, and he’d take me out bush. He’d flog me all over my body. And then when I thought um, you know, that I’m gonna die, he’d chuck me back in the car, drive us home, and he’d just leave me sittin’ out there in the car.

******

Oh, I’d just stay sittin’ there in the lounge with the baby, you know, when his friends and relatives and that would come ‘round. Because, you know, I’d have to watch myself where I look, or if I went outside, while they were drinkin’ and stuff, you know. I’d have to watch myself where I walked, or if I accidentally bumped into somebody, or anythink like that, ‘cause he’d go off his head. Even when my sisters came ‘round, you know, I couldn’t sit and yarn with them for too long, or you know, go outside. ‘Cause he’d get all jealous and say, 'oh well, you know, what you fellas talkin’ about? You talkin’ about other men?’ You know? So…yeah, he always carried on like I was the one runnin’ around with other blokes and stuff, you know. Even though I never went nowhere…I was too scared to go anywhere, ‘cause of what he’d say or do to me when I got home. At night was really bad, ‘cause you know, people would come ‘round late, all hours of the night, and you know, he’d be drinkin’ with them, and he’d put the music up real loud and… You know, when the kids would wake up, you know, he’d yell at me! One time he had the music up real loud and the baby was crying, so I went down… I went into the lounge to turn the music down… and he just pushed me down that hard, eh, You know? He didn’t even care that she fell with me, in my arms, and you know, like that, I hit the table, like near the temple part, and I was just lying there, like I was dead. ‘Cause I couldn’t move my arms, my legs, nothin’. All I could do was move my eyes… I could see, see him freakin’ out over the top of me. And all I could hear was the music and the baby cryin’ next to me on the lounge room floor.

******

At home, you know, like, I’d be that scared if he came home full of drink, you know? ‘Cause he’d be arguing with me about anything and everything, I wasn’t good enough for him at any kitchen stuff, you know? And I was scared if he’d come ‘ome while I was cookin’, you know, because of all the knives and stuff there. Yeah, and he’d just be sayin’, oh, you know, ‘hurry up, hurry up, make me a hot feed’, you know, stuff like that. One time he threw a pot of boiling hot water on me and my girl; my baby. Yeah, she got burnt real bad. And who wants a bloke like that? The kitchen’s just real dangerous, you know, there’s knives, bottles… He’d cut me up like meat with whatever he could get his hands on. The kids were hungry one time and I was waiting for him to come home, you know, to give me food money, to take me shopping… But he didn’t show up, so, you know, I went to his cousin and got, you know, a tin of baked beans off his cousin, to feed the kids, ‘cause they were hungry. And he just comes home bustin’ himself, you know, ‘you got no shame’, he reckons, ‘beggin’ off my family’. And…yeah. Then he just cut me with the lid of the tin. Oh, going shopping could be bad because, you know, if I was to, like, get some hot food for us to eat, you know, before we go into the shop to do our food shopping, you know, he’d grab it out of the packet, you know, chuck it all over me, hot and all…You know, shame me right up, in front of the whole arcade. But then I’d still have to go into the supermarket like that, you know, and do food shopping with people staring at us.

******

I hate that they’ve grown up with it all, you know, they’ve seen all that violence. And, like, my oldest girl, like, the first time she saw me get a hidin’ was probably the first or the second floggin’ I got from him. You know, he just came into the room screamin’ at me, in the kids’ room, you know. I was sitting there with her, talkin’ to her, and he just starts layin’ into me, you know. And kickin’ me in the guts, and in my ribs, and you know, callin’ me slut and a whore and all that kind of thing, you know. I dunno what… Some yarn got back to him, or something, that I was supposed to be talkin’ to someone, or something, you know? I mean, I did nothing wrong, but, yeah, that’s what it was supposed to be about and the whole time, you know, like my girl, she was just screamin’ and cryin’, you know. I was just looking at her while he was floggin’ me and all I’m thinkin’ is, you know, ‘not in front of her, not in front of her’. I just don’t want her to see that. But my boy, he’s eight now, you know he’s gettin’ bigger and… But he says things all the time, like, oh you know, ‘I’m going to smash him, when I get older and I’ll make him pay’, and all this and that. You know, his temper, he’s got a very bad temper on him. He gets that mad, he’s always in fights, you know? But I always tell him, you know, it’s wrong. I hope he doesn’t turn out like my ex. I always say to him it’s wrong to treat anyone that way.

******

I felt like I had no self-esteem, none whatsoever. My face would be all the time swollen, you know. It’d be out here… I was just so tired, you know. I was just tired of wakin’ up in the morning sore, you know, feelin’ ugly. And not just on the outside, you know, on the inside, because I was starting to listen to all the nastiness and that; that he was saying to me. You know, all the stuff about runnin’ around, you know, saying that I was runnin’ around on him. But he was the one, you know, that was always runnin’ around with, you know, I don’t know who. And one counsellor lady that I went to, you know, she said… She said that’s real common, you know? Them turning it around like that? And he did, you know? He had me wondering, is it my fault? Yeah, I’d always feel down, takin’ him back. I don’t know how many times I took him back, you know, with everyone saying oh, you know, ‘what you taking him back for?’ But, you know, like, everything would happen when he was drunk, you know, and then every time he was sober, he would say sorry. And I just… I was hoping that he’d change. But then it took me a long time to realise that things were never gonna change. He’s was always gonna be that way.

******

Oh, I don’t know where I would have been if I hadn’t have made that move to go to the Support Group. Some of the ladies, you know, they helped from the first day that I got there, and they still help me now. Yeah, I remember the first day I walked in, you know, I had the biggest black eye and my head was down. Now I come all the time, and my head’s up. Mmm. It felt really good at the refuge, you know, like it feels safer. You know, you don’t have to look over your shoulder, you don’t get those jumpy feelings, you’re not living in fear any more, you know. And in the end I’d rather be in a refuge, rather than go to my family or my friends’ homes, take all my problems there, you know. When they’ve got enough problems of their own.

******

Yeah, I’m doing a lot of things now, like, I’ve taken the kids to counselling and I’m their basketball coach. And me and some ladies, we’ve been doing some paintings together, and yeah… I’ve put a lot of things behind me. I’m moving on.