The ugly truth about domestic violence

Peter Garrett, who did the voice over in the film and introduced the film at the launch, and Senior Constable Daniel Greef, LAC Crime Prevention Officer who assisted in the making of the film. MB

The Lachlan Domestic Violence Committee who initiated the film made by Earthstar Productions, with Peter Garrett and Daniel Greef. MB

 

Peter Garrett, Police, the Lachlan Domestic Violence Committee and Fran Dobie, with Amadeo Marquez-Perez, from Earthstar Productions who directed and produced the film.MB

Editorial by Melissa Blewitt.

‘Little Towns, Big Voices’ is a film that lays bare the ugly truth of domestic violence. It showcases the harrowing experiences of local people and the effects it has on their families. It is 28 minutes of raw and confronting truth, which portrays the brutality of domestic violence unflinchingly.

There is no other label, other than monster, that is befitting of the man who inflicted years of physical and mental torture on the woman, whose experiences are the main focus of the documentary.

The abuse began on her wedding night. “He had too much to drink and gave me a hiding,” she said in the documentary. From there it only got worse, and she tried to protect her children as much as possible. She recalled how one night, her husband “had too much to drink” and began arguing with the children about what was on the television.

“I knew what was coming, so I asked him to take it out on me instead of the kids. And he did.” She said he never really touched her face, but chose areas that could be concealed under clothing.

He was a “good looking” man, and this often blinded outsiders to the extent of his sadistic nature.

“When I went to doctors, they never once told me to go to the Police. I wondered later why they never told me to,” she said on the documentary.

If she was two minutes late getting home from work, he would have the masking tape sat on the top of the fridge waiting.

He would tie her up on a chair and inflict unimaginable horror on her body.

Not content with belting her, he would also throw steaming hot cups of coffee over her, as she lay in agony from the beatings.

There came a point where she became “dead inside”. There is no way many of us could understand what it feels like to get to such a point. Why didn’t she leave? “Where would we go?,” was her answer.

On the night she worked up the courage to leave, she took her daughter out of the front door and across the paddock and walked up the road. “I contacted my son, and he told me to hide in the grass, so he couldn’t find me. So I did.

He came and told me that his girlfriend was following him, and that we should get in her car, as he was going to sort him out.”

Not content with the mental and physical pain he inflicted, her husband burned the family home to the ground after she had gone.

“There was nothing left.” “It took the Police two days to find him, and when it went to Court his mother hired a barrister and he got off with 200 hours of community service.”

The fear of him returning haunts her every day. “He always said, if I left him he would come back and finish me. I have a local policeman on speed dial, because I believe he will.”

I want to congratulate the Lachlan Domestic Violence Committee on their brilliant documentary. It just goes to show what a DV Committee in a small town can achieve if it puts its mind to something.

This has been a 10-year long project, which began with a vision to create a film on domestic violence and the effects it has on women, families and children.

And now it has become a reality. What an amazing achievement. A special mention for Heather Blackley, whose determination and commitment ensured the project came to fruition. She is a community force to be reckoned with. Thanks must also go to Director Fran Dobbie, Producer Amadeo Marquez-Perez, Earthstar Productions, LAC Crime Prevention Officer Daniel Greef, NSW Police and Western Plains Regional Development.

It is hoped that a major network will pick up the film and get the message into mainstream media. The DV Committee is now also in the process of having the film put through the Australian Teachers of Media for a study guide, which will then be able to be implemented into all schools PD/H/PE curriculum. This was made possible by donations from Aboriginal Strategic Direction Crime Prevention Grant, NSW Police Force; House With No Steps, Forbes, Forbes Evening CWA Branch and Begderabong CWA Branch.

Domestic Violence can happen anywhere in any home.

It could be happening next door to you.

It took so much courage for this particular woman to come forward and share her story.

I ask, now that the community also have courage, and report any incidents of domestic violence to Police.

We must all speak up to ensure that those that need our help most, know that there is hope.

We must not hide the ugly truth of domestic violence any longer.

MB

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