03 Jun Survivor Stories: Kylie
From the time she was a little girl, Kylie* just wanted everyone to be safe. Even at the age of five, she did what she could to keep her father from harming her mother, even sitting on his lap when she thought her mother might be in danger.
“I would physically sit in between them,” Kylie remembers. “
Kylie made a promise to herself that when she grew up, she would never allow anyone to hurt her. “I really made a commitment to never be in an abusive relationship, but I ended up in one”. After graduating from college with a Bachelor’s degree in Journalism, she married a man who abused her, just as her father had abused her mother.
Like many violent relationships, in the beginning, everything seemed fine. But after the first year of marriage, her husband started abusing drugs and tried to control every aspect of her life, eventually turning to violence as well.
“A year into the marriage he changed,” Kylie recalls. “His mindset was that when we were dating we were ‘just dating,’ but once I became his wife he said he owned me.” She stayed in the marriage because she thought if she could just make him feel better, she could change him.
Kylie felt the need to save her husband from his traumatic past. “When he was a boy, he witnessed his father kill his mother,” Kylie says. “I thought that if I just loved him enough, I could help him forget about his own childhood.”
In addition to the drug addiction and emotional abuse, he threw things at her, hit walls, and destroyed their belongings. “There was a lot of rage, and he stole money out of my purse and my account whenever I got paid.”
But the day came when she knew it was time to leave and never return. She was cooking when the phone rang so she didn’t answer it. Before she knew it, her husband threw a large bottle of cooking oil at her pregnant stomach – her seven-months-pregnant stomach.
“I thought to myself, if my child isn’t even here yet and she’s already impacted, I’ve just got to get out of here.” She escaped first to her parents’ home and then called for an ambulance and then after leaving hospital contacted the Police to commence criminal proceedings against her husband. Although her husband was not immediately arrested he continued stalking her both in-person and via technology as he had installed spyware on her phone watching every move.
“My parents and family felt they were in danger; everyone around me felt like they were in danger, even everybody at work.”
Shortly after leaving hospital Kylie was referred to us for a full property and technology safety assessment. Protective Group conducted a full safety assessment uncovering listening devices, GPS tracking equipment on Kylie’s vehicle and even inside the youngest child’s soft toy, and as expected Spyware software, not only on Kylie’s device but also the children’s iPad’s. Protective Group recommended and actioned a comprehensive security upgrade of Kylie’s property and issued a Teksafe duress alarm watch.
Kylie recalls the day the final security upgrade was completed and when her watch was personally delivered with step-by-step instructions explained. “ It was like I finally had my life back, I felt safe again in my own home, although my now ex-husband is soon to be released from prison it just made me feel less vulnerable and my anxiety is not as bad as what it was for the last decade of my life. I can’t thank Protective Group and the Domestic Violence service enough for the support but most of all giving me back my independence. Thank You from the bottom of my heart, and from my children”.
These days, with her kind smile and peaceful presence that warms up any room, Kylie is now worlds away from the years of abuse that once terrified and consumed her life and those of her children.
What she feels most passionate about now is educating people on the devastating effects that domestic violence has on children, whether they are witnesses or direct victims.
“Children are affected by domestic violence whether they are in the same room or see it or not,” Kylie says. “It took me my whole experience with my husband and children to see what each one of them had to go through individually,” she says.
* Names and details have been changed to protect the identity of the survivor.