Of all the monsters I’ve conquered & achievements that hard work won. ➖ To me, this will always be what success looks like.
I chose the above picture because I felt that it forces each reader to look directly into my daughters happiness, the kind of happiness that comes with freedom and a carefree childhood. A smile I might not see as often had I not gone ahead with the below despite my fears!
TRIGGER WARNING. Graphic descriptions of Family Violence:
Speaking out on Domestic Violence and abuse is very new. For many households it is still not the ‘done thing’. A private matter, one best reserved for closed doors and guarded mouths. However, thanks to Rosie Batty and her fierce demands to be heard, defending yourself and your right to protection under the law are becoming slightly more common place.
Family Violence is a matter so many are probably sick of hearing about. Like poverty, war and Donald Trump, it is a matter they themselves would rather not bother with. It’s a dirty word, a losing battle, a matter of he said she said and more often than not a case of ‘well she must have done something to set him off’.
So often I receive and respond to emails and private messages from people around the country who have read my blog or social media posts, asking advice that unfortunately I am unable to give. I’m not an expert, I can however provide some simple tips to build a plan to protect yourself, your children and even your pets.
The best defence is evidence.
For almost two years prior to gaining the courage to leave, I began to compile an electronic diary, a record of which I kept safely on my computer at work. A diary that depicted each act of abuse down to the finest detail. I detailed unsettling actions carried out by my in laws or the many unsavoury associates of my ex husband.
So much of the digital evidence I collected had originally felt as though they might be of no use. That was until they proved instrumental in substantiating the profound, disgusting and until then, seemingly unbelievable accusations of various forms of horrific abuse I had levelled at my ex husband.
Today, almost four years later, I still often receive news of threats of future custody action made online, in person and even during a seemingly innocent comment made to my mother at a supermarket. In fact, until I had found for myself, vindication in the Judge’s burning comments concerning my ex husbands proven behaviour, these threats had terrified me.
I used to endlessly defend myself with respect to my ‘lies’ and accusations of slander. That is until I realised that these tactics were nothing more than baseless threats designed to shut me up or deter me from speaking out further.
Whilst I admit it can still be extremely stressful, I quietly remind myself that my evidence is overwhelming and that snakes will always bite, no matter how well you care for them. I remind myself that I will confidently and boldly shred any court case or accusation of wrong doing levelled at me, just as I did before. Slander is only slander if the accusations of abuse can be disproven and we are well beyond that point.
I will at any given time, happily welcome a legally levelled accusation of slander, one made in a court of law rather than on social media or via community gossip. Because God and the Family Court of Australia know, that beyond any doubt, I can and have proved every single word of it. I am 100% confident in the proof I hold in my hands. The proof that littered hundreds of court documents and secured the court orders that substantiate every single claim made.
Because the reality is that you must produce hard evidence in order to demand to be heard, you must hassle the police to follow up. You must call organisations such as DVCS ACT and have them follow up because they will. You need to get angry about what happened to you. Not angry enough to engage in reactive violence, but angry enough to commit to fight for relief, no matter how hard, expensive or stressful it is.
It might be considered poor form to air your dirty laundry on social media or in a blog as I do. However, there is a significant difference between airing your dirty laundry and contributing to necessary, well overdue and fierce activism against community attitudes toward victims and the culture of sweeping domestic violence under an already festered rug.
Those who seek to quieten me or frighten me are just wheels in the machine that I have already obliterated with medical, physical, digital and criminal evidence. Undeniable evidence that saved my daughter and I from a life time of hell.
Now I know that no two situations are alike, but here are a few tips that I hope will assist you in garnering enough courage to start that diary, bury your fears and seek out the safety and peace of mind that is your right!
Social media and electronic exchanges – KEEP EVERYTHING!
Start a diary in chronological order. This can be retrospective, just add all of the details in as best you can and hunt through your evidence for something as simple as a text message to back it up. This diary will prove invaluable in compiling an affidavit for court.
While the police pay little attention to digital evidence, or at least was my experience, to the family court it is gold. Do not be deterred if police refuse to accept digital evidence or do not pursue it. The place for this evidence, together with the record that you have reported it to police, is in your affidavit.
I stored away hundreds and hundreds of screenshots of threatening, emotionally abusive and sexually explicit abusive text and whatsupp messages. I saved videos sent to me that apparently depicted my ex smoking outside of my home in the dark whilst he assumed my baby and I were terrified inside.
I still have every single one of the little cardboard cards handed to me by police on each occasion that they visited my house or investigated my wallet and money being stolen during a visit, or yet another breach of the DVO. I screenshotted the times and length of calls to the AFP and DVCS ACT. I kept records of the police officer who called me hysterical and belligerent before hanging up on me.
My crime, demanding to know why he hadn’t followed up on an incident where my ex husband had forcibly entered the day carers home demanding to be given my daughter, despite having been served with a restraining order that prevented him from coming within 200 meters of my her. An incident reported to police both by myself and the day carer. An incident for which he was given ‘a caution’ because ‘he said’ he did not know that staying 200 metres away prevented him from attending the home of the day carer where Eva was cared for (rolls eyes). I then reported all of this to the Victims of Crime Commissioner.
I kept the letter from a child protection agency threatening to potentially take my daughter from my custody if I did not stick to my guns ‘this time’. This was after cancelling the first restraining order as a result of being threatened with a QC which I could not afford to fight and a threat of having my daughter taken from me due to my lack of finances in comparison to that of the paternal family. This was before filing the subsequent DVO, the one that was awarded to me to full extent allowed by the law.
On average, a woman attempts to leave an abusive situation at least 5-7 times before she is successful. During the period after leaving is when authorities consider to be the most dangerous. It was during this time that my ex husband threatened to kill me. A threat witnessed by my APS Managers at the time, which resulted in the police personally collecting me from my workplace. This was the “Threat to Kill’ he was charged, found undeniably guilty and convicted of.
It is information such as this for which I am threatened with slander, yet which any person capable of issuing a subpoena to the AFP, as was was done in my case, can prove beyond any doubt.
I called 000 during instances of violence hoping that not unlike the movies, they would trace my number and come to my rescue. Instances in which my daughter was present, sexual assault was attempted and during which my 20 month old child attacked her biological father with biting in an effort to rescue her mother. During this call I couldn’t speak of course for fear he would discover my phone and as a result instead found myself hung up on. I still noted the times and lengths of the calls.
I scanned Facebook for evidence of my claims of sexually and socially inappropriate behaviour, of anger, drug use and alcoholism. My subsequent screenshots of posts all voluntarily entered into the public domain by those in question, helped to prove my accusations beyond measure.
I kept the text messages stating that my ex husband was outside my home, assuming that both myself and my baby were in it. Messages threatening that I’d need new tyres or ones stating that ‘he knew I was just seeking sexual attention’ by making false DVO applications. These text messages thankfully witnessed by Tuggeranong police station as they were received while I was standing with an officer in the station at the time and not at home as my ex husband had clearly assumed. Had I been at home, I would have been out of my mind with fear.
I kept the text messages threatening that my daughter would grow up to hate me and run back to him. I kept photographic evidence of drugs and drug paraphernalia I had found hidden under my daughters car seat and later delivered to his parents who had refused to believe me. I kept the threats of sexual assault and of public denigration. I kept evidence of strippers, prostitutes and drug dealers he was clearly associated with in photographic evidence who had began adding me on Facebook and intimidating me in the street.
While it is each to our own as to what line of work we choose to pursue, there are certain influences that are simply not welcome in my little girls life and for this, I make no apologies.
I kept records of my daughters stress induced diagnoses, her night terrors, chronic vomiting and constipation. Refusal to eat and inability to seperate from me. Of my inability to go into crowded places with Eva alone, need to drive a different route from work to daycare everyday and reoccurring night mares. I swallowed my pride and accepted Mental Health Drug Treatment plans for the two of us and began to plan our recovery.
All of the evidence catalogued above, together with hundreds of unmentioned articles of evidence subpoenaed from the Hospital, our GP, my psychologist, Eva’s child psychologist, the AFP and various drug, anger and alcohol rehabilitation programs helped to prove our case.
So my point is, that in order to substantiate your claims, you must keep everything. Every situation is so different and you never know what could be material to your case. Keep it even if it humiliates you. I have dozens of messages in which I was sent pictures of good looking but completely naked women, with horrible comments comparing these women to my ‘disgusting’ 12 month post partum body.
If I had not kept the proof, no body would ever have believed such outrageous claims of abuse. Proving your accusations is the only way to free yourself and your children from a lifetime of hell.
Keep all text messages, emails and evidence of the abuse shared with old friends, you never know who will betray you. Divorce brings out the worst in people and you will thank god everyday for the hundreds of text messages, character statements and emails you have from those who jumped ship and joint the army that has formed against you. Don’t ever let them call you a liar, don’t even give them the time of day. A good character is invaluable and good people simply don’t do things like that.
Evidence simply does not lie.
If you have any questions, I will happily try and respond to them in time via my contact page.
If you are experiencing violence please contact the police and DVCS ACT: https://dvcs.org.au
If you do not feel the police are doing their job or that you are not being taken seriously, contact the Victims of Crime Commissioner, John Hinchey. http://www.victimsupport.act.gov.au/victims-of-crime-commissioner
Ignore the standard APS email you will receive initially, demand a meeting and tell him that Camille Young said sent you.
I was not entirely happy with the outcome of the investigation as it was so long after the fact, but after a minor written tantrum I did get a meeting with John and some of the most senior officers in the AFP which meant that I was heard and an investigation was initiated.