Imagine being asleep as your parents are murdered, and at five years of age, waking to find their bodies covered in blood.
Imagine being a five year old boy and spending the day wandering around the house alone, as your parent's blood soaked bodies lay in the house lifeless.
On Wednesday the 21st of January 2015, this was the reality for a little boy. His parents, Renee Carter and Corey Croft, had been murdered the night before in their Upper Coomera home in Queensland. The little boy did not witness the incident, but the horrific trauma of waking to discover his parents cannot be measured.
A little boy orphaned, and police claim Renee Carter's ex-husband, Christopher Robert Carter, was the man responsible for the double murder.
It is hard to imagine what Renee must have been thinking in her final moments – the sheer terror before she was allegedly stabbed to death.
In 2015, there were 79 Australian women murdered in Australia.
Domestic violence is a term that was widely reported on throughout 2015. It was the focus of much media attention, and the focus of reforms and avenues of change. It was also the focus of news reports as the frightening statistics of women affected by domestic violence in everyday lives, and for some, ultimately as the cause of the end of their lives.
No longer is domestic violence an issue that is "hidden behind closed doors" or a "private matter". Domestic violence is a community issue that needs to be addressed by the community.
Domestic violence is a violence that can be one or many things; from financial, emotional, physical, psychological, verbal, sexual and social abuse. A domestic violence victim may suffer all or one, or a few of these abuse types. A domestic violence victim does not "look" a certain away – as the tentacles of domestic violence are far reaching – and infiltrate all kinds of religions, ethnicities, social and financial backgrounds. Domestic violence is evident in the homes of those with wealth, and those living in poverty. Domestic violence does not discriminate, as perpetrators of domestic violence come from all backgrounds and walks of life.
Domestic violence is not a loss of control, but a deliberate act of control.
It is easy for those that have never been the victim of domestic violence to say "Just leave, why doesn't she just leave?" But being the victim of domestic violence – whether repeated or stand alone incidences, are traumatic experiences. There is often isolation, which occurs slowly, and which can socially and financially isolate a victim, making her reliant on the abuser. Often a perpetrator will threaten to harm themselves, emotionally blackmailing the victim to stay in the relationship, and promising that things will change. The perpetrator can also use the children to threaten and coerce the victim in staying in the relationship. Using the threat of harm to the children or removal of the children from the victim, as emotional and psychological forms of abuse, can be very traumatic for the victim, and for the children within the home.
Domestic violence is often heightened as the victim and abuser separate, with the abuser feeling they have lost some of the "control" over the victim and the relationship. The abuser wants to regain the power and control, and so post-separation contact surrounding children can become an avenue that an abuser will utilise to further emotionally, verbally, psychologically abuse the victim.
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