There’s a shameful temptation to think of domestic violence as something that would never happen to you or the people you know, but an Adelaide lawyer is speaking out to show that nothing could be further from the truth.
Speaking to the ABC, the lawyer, who asked not to be named, was confronted by the dark reality of domestic violence firsthand, when a family member was viciously assaulted by her ex-partner in front of her young children.
“He strangled her, police were called, it took two canisters of pepper spray and eight to 10 police to subdue him – the children witnessed it,” she says.
“When I was called, and I arrived at the house to help with the children who were very distressed I saw that my [relative] had her left eye almost out of its socket, her eyes were bloodshot red.”
She continues, “What I didn’t know at the time but found out later was that her arm was almost pulled out, or pulled out enough that it tore some ligaments down the side of her back.”
Now, she’s spoken out to draw attention to the fact that domestic violence can happen to anyone. “It’s not limited to the poor, it happens in middle class families, rich families,” she told the ABC. “It happens in all the wealthy suburbs… it’s just that everyone is ashamed to talk about it.”
“It might be that a man withholds money so she might wear really nice designer clothes but she’s got no money and she’s got nowhere to go with the children so they stay in these abusive relationships and then the next generation see it and think it’s normal and on it goes,” she says.
The lawyer is calling for more to be done to help women (and occasionally, men) in these situations, saying that while the police were “absolutely marvellous”, adequate financial and psychological assistance often isn’t readily available.