Nicky’s Story of Courage and Hope
I have been an advocate for raising awareness for domestic violence for many years, volunteering at the church back in N.Z and supporting community events such as darkness to daylight. What only a few know however is why this cause hits home to me… literally.
As a young girl my first 9 years was lived in fear, fear for my life. What I didn’t quite understand back then was that regular beatings, black eyes, hospital visits asthma attacks brought on from stress, hiding in my wardrobe and sleeping under my bed was not actually normal for a young girl like me. What made it worse was that I was also physically beaten and bullied at school. One becomes accustomed to this so it seemed.
I have never truly told my story and after 32 years of counselling I never really came to grips with the fact that my dad beat me on a daily basis. I used to run to shelter my mum who received regular ‘touch ups’ and often got in his way so he turned on me. What made it worse was that I was a chronic asthmatic and spent a lot of time in hospital the docs keep thinking that bruises on my ribs was from coughing or falling out of bed with coughing fits. This was not the case. It was also a double edge sword because I would cough so much throughout the night it angered my dad so greatly that he would hit me to ‘shut me up’… which of course never worked.
My dad kept my mum in silence by saying that if mum ever spoke up or left him that he would drive us girls off a bridge and she would loose us forever. So mum stayed, she stayed in a violent marriage for 13 years! She stayed so my sister (11 years old) and I were safe.
As fate had it, I understand my mum went to a counselling session and was told that if she didn’t leave my father that my sister and I would be taken off her. That day I remember getting picked up from a family friend from school and we went to a place with big fences with no numbers on the gates. We were told that we weren’t allowed to look through the fence and that we had to stay very quiet that we were not allowed to call anyone or leave to go to the shops and that we would do our schooling at that place. I remember that I had one teddy bear and my favourite shapes biscuits. I don’t remember much else.
We stayed in hiding for about 6 weeks.
32 years later after doing D2D for 4 years in a row, helping at the tents, watching all the runners, keeping them warm, buying coffees and just chatting to people till it was time for me to do the 5km. I would face time my mum and walk the last couple kms often in tears as I am now. I never really told my story before and then this year when I saw the pins where of handbags and I asked why there were handbags I read that it was because woman, often leave with a handbag… and a flood of emotions came back and I decided it was time to share my story. My mum was that woman that left with her handbag. We left with the clothes on our back and a teddy.
This event is so important to me because it shines a spotlight for something so ‘dark’ in nature yet we know we have hope. I hope that by raising funds and doing this event, by talking about the stories of survival and bravery that if just one woman, one woman (or man) has the courage to leave their home with her babies to keep them all safe that they read my story and know that they too can come out of the darkness and into the daylight and they are never, ever alone. That people care and do not want to pretend that DV doesn’t happen in our communities and that it is something collectively that we must help to stop.
This event mum has decided to share her story almost 40 years later of the abuse she endured and was booked on a plane to come walk with me this year but unfortunately the pandemic stopped it, so here you see her sporting my tshirt from last year and my D2D cap and she treads on the pavement in Canterbury N.Z whilst I do here in Brisbane. We may not be together physically but we walk strong together.
Attached is a pic of mum and I we just did our walk together 😊