"What I did know in my heart... was that if I ever did leave, he would find me"

“Irene”, 82

 Part 2 of 4

He was so controlling, and he used to hit me a lot. When he was angry, and also drunk (he usually drank a bottle of Scotch a day) I used to hide under the house. If he found me, he would throw me around for a bit. I used to take the punishment so the kids wouldn’t have to. He didn’t hit me too much in front of the kids though. Our second son when he was old enough, was the only one who would stand up to him.

Whilst he was all sociable and everyone thought highly of him, no one ever saw me. I didn’t go out anywhere or want to talk to anyone. Sometimes I would have to wait days until the bruises faded before going out.  I also couldn’t talk to anyone about any of this, because in those days, you kept your problems to yourself. Over time, I ended up with no real friends because he used to hit them up and flirt with them every time they came around. And so after a while it was just too uncomfortable and they didn’t want to come around anymore. I had no confidence, and it was just easier to let the friendships go.

I never knew why I stayed with him and put up with all of his abuse.  Although even if I wanted to leave, it was too difficult because I had no money.  I used to earn $45 per week.  Each week on pay day, he would come to my work place and take my pay, always saying he had to pay this bill or that. I only used to get enough money for the groceries and fuel for the car.  

What I did know in my heart however - was that if I ever did leave, he would find me.

Dione Brockwell