Alison* Opens Up About Her 25-Year Abusive Relationship

June 15, 2017

Alison* has overheard hundreds of conversations about domestic violence.

Whenever a story about an abusive relationship is in the news — it might be a female celebrity seeking an AVO against her ex, or a man in court charged with the murder of his partner — the women in her office gather to speculate about what might have happened.

Alison says the same phrases are always bandied around: “Why didn’t she leave? How could she let her kids see that? How did nobody realise?”

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What they don’t know is that Alison is one of these women. For 25 years she suffered constant physical and emotional abuse at the hands of her husband, with whom she has two children. She finally left him in 2010.

Here Alison shares her experience and explains how the cycle of abuse is so difficult to break.

“I’ve heard many people in conversations who don’t know my situation and they will say ‘If my husband ever hit me, I’d leave straight away’ and I have to close my eyes and breathe each time, because it’s so insulting.

The stats say one in three women will be affected by physical violence. On my floor there are 40 women, so around 12 of them are coming into work and may have been assaulted by their husband and not talk about it. They come into work and can’t talk about it because they feel they will be judged. And I’m mainly judged by other women. It’s like, ‘She must be really stupid. There’s plenty of support out there. If he hit you, why didn’t you just leave?’

I don’t have an answer to those questions. I don’t know. All I know is I wanted our relationship to be perfect like it was at the beginning. With the cycle of abuse, there is the makeup and the honeymoon period after an escalation and I held onto that … those happy days … because that’s what it was like at the beginning of the relationship.

I don’t think a day goes past when I think ‘What this something that happened later on, or was it always there?’

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