Woman’s escape from abuse offers inspiration

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Sophie — not her real name — recently left her partner and moved to Albany with her children after years of ill-treatment.
Camera IconSophie — not her real name — recently left her partner and moved to Albany with her children after years of ill-treatment. Credit: Getty Images

After leaving an abusive partner, Albany woman Sophie said she wanted to share her story to inspire others to stand up for themselves and speak out.

Sophie — not her real name — recently left her partner and moved to Albany with her children after years of ill-treatment.

While she said she was never physically harmed, one day she realised not all abuse left bruises.

She said her partner was possessive and controlling. It started with something small — first he controlled her diet and medication.

Soon after giving birth, she had an infection and was advised to take antibiotics by her doctors, but her partner told her not to take them.

“He emotionally blackmailed me into refusing antibiotics because I was breastfeeding the baby,” she said.

“Then there would be small incidents that often led to swearing and things being thrown across rooms.

“At one point he was calling me a “stupid bitch”, but then the next day, he would treat me like a queen.

“I know I’m not stupid but when you hear it so many times, you start to believe it.

“There would be times where he would be lovely and affectionate ... so I just swept it under the rug and ignored the things that were bad.”

After counselling, she wanted to leave the relationship, but her partner refused to let her or their children go.

“I just felt so trapped. It was such a horrible feeling,” she said.

“I just thought, ‘do I have to be in this relationship just to keep him happy?’ That’s when I started thinking of suicide.”

As things hit rock-bottom, she turned to friends and the 1800RESPECT helpline, which gave advice for her and her children.

She then obtained a restraining order and moved to Albany with her children.

Now, she said she wanted to share her story to help other people in her situation – women and men.She said she wanted to share her story to help others in her situation — women and men.

“I just want everyone to know that there is always a way out,” she said

“And to let others know that domestic abuse — both physical and emotional — (is) real and it could be reported.”

Sophie said she would not have been able to share her story without the help she received from Albany support groups.

Organisations such as Anglicare and Albany Women’s Refuge helped her find her feet and build confidence when she first arrived.

“It took a while, but I’m so happy now. I feel so free,” she said.

“I know that I can be the mother that I wanted to be.”

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