*Names have been changed
On the 25th of March 2017 I stayed home doing housework, I didn’t want to go anywhere at all. My partner went to the club; his daily routine of drinking. He got back home late that afternoon and started verbally abusing me and making accusations – nothing unusual - but I couldn’t take it anymore and I wanted out. This was my second attempt at taking my own life, the first time being the previous December when I took sleeping pills. I had ended up in hospital and after I was released I stayed with my daughter for two weeks. I was ok until he wanted to see me and my daughter arranged an appointment. He wanted me back and promised he would slow down on his drinking.
It didn’t last of course. This time, I took pills again and text my daughter to let her know what I had done and why. She rang the ambulance and it seemed to take forever, my daughter was texting me asking if he was drunk and I replied yes. There was a knock on the door and it was the police with the ambulance waiting outside. The police officer escorted me to the ambulance, and I remember him asking if I had been smoking drugs. I said no, I don’t smoke drugs and I don’t drink alcohol. I was taken to hospital and treated, and also introduced to a mental health worker. They told me I wasn’t mentally ill, but a person who had been abused.
The next morning a social worker came to see me and contacted DV Connect, and the next thing I knew they were looking for alternative accommodation for me. I was informed they had found a safe place for me, and they arranged a taxi to take me to the train station. I ended up at a shelter for women and I was welcome there and felt safe. I only had the clothes I was wearing and they gave me clothes, food, and the support I needed. The shelter looked for accommodation for me and referred me to the refuge with Ozcare. Already I was getting a little excited to begin a new life.
When I stepped off the train I was met by Joyce*, who I recognised at once as she had a folder in her hands. I felt we connected straight away and my life was going to be safe again. Once we arrived at the refuge I was shown to my room, then Joyce made me a coffee while we filled out the paperwork. I felt safer than I have in a very long time. I met the other staff and I knew then I was in a good place with good people. The staff helped me with food, clothing, and a handbag in my room filled with toiletries, creams, and other goodies.
The staff at the refuge helped me with my everyday requirements, health, housing department, and gave me support. My daughter has also been very supportive, getting me a job cleaning within four days of my arrival in my new town.
I’m a person who’s very active and needs to be kept busy, Joyce helped me with Centrelink, finding a unit that felt right for me. I now have a unit that I’m going to move in to this week and I can begin to start my new life, having my independence back and being responsible for me.
I couldn’t have achieved this without the support of the staff in the refuge. I have now closed the door behind me and re-opened a new door to my future. This is a new beginning and a new chapter in my life, and from the beginning to now I feel a change in myself for the better. Thank you to DV Connect, the shelter, and Ozcare for being there for me, and the support you have given me to be safe again. Without your support, caring, and understanding I may still be in a relationship with abuse. I will never go back or place myself in a position like that again.
Ozcare has five confidential women's refuges around Queensland. If you or someone you know is experiencing domestic violence, call DV Connect on 1800 811 811.