IT HAS GIVEN ME A SENSE OF FREEDOM AND SAFETY THAT NOTHING ELSE HAD BEFORE
A FAIRYTALE BEGINNING
When Carly* first met Joe* it was a whirlwind romance. Deeply in love, the relationship moved very quickly. Within a few months of being together, Joe had proposed and Carly was pregnant with their first child.
It is only looking back on their long-term relationship that Carly realises how coercive and controlling Joe's behaviours were. She never would have labelled it 'domestic violence'.
"I did not realise it was domestic violence, I knew it was not a healthy relationship, but I thought I was at fault all the time."
FEELING OUT OF CONTROL
Joe's control over Carly was so severe that she was afraid to leave the house even when he was away. Suffering from post-natal depression and severe anxiety, Carly felt scared and controlled. It was several years before she approached the police or services for support.
"How could one go and explain psychological and emotional abuse because you don’t have any proof if you haven’t recorded it or someone has witnessed it? So many times, I cried myself to sleep wishing he would hit me so that I would have something to show."
Before receiving her safety watch, Carly thought no one could help. She was isolated and scared, and felt as though she was the one missing out on living her life.
"Going into a women’s refuge, [you] kind of feel like a prisoner... I know that there are safety measures for you and [your] protection, [but] you feel like you are the one being penalised."
The StandbyU Shield gave Carly the support she needed. The connection she has with her mother and friends means she is no longer isolated and vulnerable. She finally feels safe, both when at home and outside in her community.
"It just gives me my freedom back to freely choose what I want to do, where I want to go."
Her family also feel much better about her, and her children's, safety.
"My mum and dad have expressed their relief, [saying] 'I can see through your eyes’."
Carly hopes that everyone going through domestic violence can experience the benefits of having a StandbyU Shield. Her final words say it all.
"I can’t sing its praises enough, I think it is an amazing piece of technology and I feel so grateful and privileged that I have been fortunate enough to be granted one and I just wish that every woman who was in a DV situation could have access. It is indeed life changing."
*Names changed for safety reasons
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