Domestic Violence Prevention Personal Story: I Am Sheree
In our mission to improve the lives of everybody affected by domestic violence, we want to shine a spotlight on our strong and successful lived-experience contributors.
Read on to discover the story of Sheree Lucas Neto (I Am Sheree).
As a child, I witnessed my own mother get abused by her partner for many years, to the point where I felt as though I could become a murderer during those frightful moments, at the age of nine.
I held a knife to a grown man and tried to hurt him for hurting my Mum.
I had four younger siblings that I needed to protect and take care of when my Mum was in a sensitive state after having been beat down to the point she could no longer open her eyes or her mouth to eat, or even be able to get out of bed.
By the age of ten, I knew how to cook, clean and take care of my family. Of course, this made me grow up extremely quickly and before I knew it, I had lost my childhood. In fact, I hardly remember anything about my childhood, only the bad parts.
Unfortunately, without being aware of it for a long time, I continued this family cycle and entered into an abusive relationship at the young age of 16. At first, the relationship was incredible and I thought I had found my soulmate. Although soon enough, the abuse began, 3 months in to be exact. My first experience of abuse was when my ex partner slapped me so hard on my face after a phone call, for talking to a friend. The abuse didn’t stop there. Not only was it physical abuse, it was emotional, verbal, financial, mental and sexual. I endured 16 years of this nightmare, day in, day out. I was not living. I was just trying to survive. Praying that I would make it out alive and live to see another day.
The abuse I had suffered has left me emotionally and mentally scarred. Since this, I have been diagnosed with PTSD and I now have ongoing treatment with my psychologist to help deal with all the trauma I suffered but also to help learn how to live and not just to survive. I still have flashbacks and I can get very paranoid and become hypervigilant about everything.
Whilst in this relationship, I had 2 beautiful children. Sadly, they witnessed the abuse their own father handed me along with all the other illegal things he took part in. Eventually, one day I finally realised I had the courage to break this cycle. The cycle that I had entered as a child and continued into my teenage life and adult life. I needed to break it more for my children so they wouldn’t fall into this toxic cycle themselves. I needed my children to know what a loving, respectful relationship looked like and felt like. Most importantly, I wanted them to know that real love doesn’t hurt you.
Unfortunately, the abuse the children witnessed has also left them with emotional and psychological scarring.
With this being said, I am now wanting to be the voice for domestic violence. It has taken me a very long 19 years to be able to speak out about my abuse and what I went through. I am wanting to let other women and men out there know that you CAN get out! You CAN build yourself a better life and live the life you truly deserve.
I am wanting to get into high schools and other educational places to speak to the next generation of men and women, on what abuse really is, how to identify it and how to prevent it. I want to share how to have a respectful relationship, for people to know that abusing someone is wrong and the effects it can have.
The less we talk about domestic violence, the more we have to lose.
Facebook: I am Sheree