Casper. Super dad.
When I took these pictures, I had no idea that Casper was about to propose. I had no idea that before the next Christmas we would host our wedding and welcome twins, transforming our household from three to five overnight. FIVE!!
All I knew was that this man had changed the way my daughter viewed the world. The way that I had viewed the world. He gave her a permanent shine that previously had been reserved only for the quiet moments with her closest loved ones. He gave her a confidence that I was jealous I hadn’t given her, a confidence that I had not previously seen her demonstrate beyond the two of us.
I think perhaps Casper has finally made E feel as though it’s all ok. That she can let her tiny guard down and rest her small but fiercely brave heart. He has unconsciously taught her that it wasn’t her job to protect her Mama and gave her confidence in the knowledge that not everyone is the same. He’s taught her that there really are those special few who just love you with no expectation of anything in return.
Casper has endured my PTSD induced skepticism and caution. Pushed past the barriers that were my uncertainty. He patiently tolerates my cautious forward planning and fear of taking E into crowded public places. He does all this for no reason other than truly good men are patient and observant and protective.
Perhaps until meeting Casper, I had guarded E too tightly, acutely aware of the scars we carried & of the monsters lurking beneath the faces of former friends & family who’d jumped ship & thrown us to the wolves. The strange people who took seemingly secret photos in parks and malls, screen shotted our family photos and who engaged in online ridicule & public banter over the darkest, scariest, loneliest & desperately private moments of our lives.
I made the commitment last year to begin to write often & to write loud, in graphic detail about our experiences with domestic violence. Regardless of who was angered and whatever I might be threatened with. Not because I’m a drama queen, an over sharer or that I sought pity as I’ve so often been accused of. But because what happened to us matters. Because it was wrong and because the culture of revictimisation in our community is alive and it is fierce.
Those who know me well know how I despise pity. They know that despite my fearfulness, I am as solid as they come. I am intentional, intelligent, observant and very well prepared. They know that I will remain that way and that every fight to come will amount to nothing more that water under the bridge.
They know that while Eva and I were victimised and abused, mistreated and scandalised, we are not victims, we are survivors and that we are a force in our own right. They know that a place within our inner circle is a coveted and inspiring one.
Almost four years on from our first restraining order, Eva and I continue to be victimised with stares & whispers. Online trolls & veiled threats of future court action. The situation never resolves, strangers armed with nothing more than sad stories from the other side join the battle, adding fuel to the fire that I’ve worked so hard to put out.
They never seem to last long though and it’s with that knowledge that I’ve learned to ride the waves and sometimes fierce aftershocks that come with living a life after domestic violence.
I write because I have a right too. Because convictions & court orders don’t always speak for themselves, despite the fact that they really do speak for themselves… Because it is my responsibility to raise to raise E to be braver than I was, to be bold & stubborn in her demands for respect and good treatment.
But most of all, to be resilient. Because life can get really hard, very few people are genuinely good people and if you don’t have to ability to navigate yourself away from that, you’re going to find yourself in a really hard place.
Don’t be scared to fight. Even if you find yourself having to fight your whole life. Fate favours the bold & integrity is everything. Don’t ever underestimate a good woman with the truth on her side. Don’t ever underestimate yourself.
A big fat round of 👏🏼👏🏼 to those few truly great men!