“I was beautiful the day we met, but look at me now all torn apart.” It’s close to midnight on a Saturday evening in early January 1993, but instead of revelling in the party atmosphere of the New Year like most 20-year-olds, I am lying completely motionless on the cold, hard floor of my living room. I can faintly hear the late night traffic outside the open window of my second-floor apartment facing Pretorius Street in Pretoria, South Africa.
Fighting the blackness, which threatens to consume me, I try to entertain the thought of calling for help. I know it is pointless. I lick my lip and recognise the familiar metallic tang of my blood in my mouth. The dark blue carpet in my living room feels like sandpaper under my bruised and battered face. I close my eyes and let a single tear slip down my cheek, leaving a trail of memories and broken promises in its wake.
Lying broken in a fetal position with one eye still closed, my thoughts turn to my mother. Strangely, I wonder what she might be doing. I think about what she would do if she knew what was happening to her daughter right this moment. Would she pick me up and hold me and pacify me like she did when I was little? Would she be disappointed that I didn’t recognise the warning signs and ask for help?
Deep down in my heart, I know that she would gently stroke my hair and smile sweetly at me and tell me it was going to be ok – I was going to be ok. With that thought in my mind, a smile flickers across my face, and I feel momentarily at peace. This mirage of safety is ripped apart when I feel the sharp spurs of his boots penetrate the skin on my back. And I scream. A deep primal continuous scream as he kicks me over and over again – without mercy, without remorse. What have I done to deserve this? How am I going to escape the pure rage and hatred of this man?
My final thought before losing consciousness is the panicked realisation that this is the night I am going to die. He is finally going to kill me…and it will be a long, slow, lonely and very painful death.”
Author: Azelene Williams
About the Author: As a survivor of domestic violence I am a strong advocate for respectful relationships and personal safety. I work alongside WA Child Safety Services to deliver the “Teen Talk – Let’s talk about healthy relationships” to young people. WA Child Safety Services provides quality child protection and abuse prevention education to children, parents, schools, professionals and community groups across Australia.
Book and program reviews:
“Thank you for sharing your story with our Year 12 students. It was deeply moving and you serve as an inspiration. Thank you also for the 2 copies of your book. We look forward to hopefully having you back in the college in 2018.”