Daniel Korzeniewski

'I just wanted to shut her up and it worked’

THIS is the story of the power of one.

Joe was an average bloke with an average job, raising an average family in an average suburban home.

He loved his wife and kids and he loved being in control - a disastrous combination that almost ended in murder.

One weekend his wife was driving him crazy.

She was "pressing his buttons", nagging him about mundane household tasks.

He let her "annoy" him for about 20 minutes.

Then he pounced.

He viciously beat her and, when that didn't satisfy his violent urges, he threw her on their bed, pinned her hands by her sides with his legs and wrapped his strong hands around her throat.

Struggling to breathe, and battling to stay conscious, Joe's wife was scared for her life.


She believed she was going to die at the hands of the man who had fathered her children and vowed to stand by and protect her no matter what came their way.

After a few terrifying minutes, he let her go.

Not long after, Joe attended a group therapy session for violent offenders run by Dr Deborah Walsh.

He told the group he was out of control.

Dr Walsh made him re-live every step of the assault, during which he revealed he had planned the assault long before he struck.

"My question was, 'if you were totally out of control, why did you not kill her?'," said Dr Walsh, who spent many years working with female victims as well as male perpetrators.

"He said, 'I didn't want to kill her - I had no intention of killing her - I just wanted to shut her up and it worked'."

Now an academic with the University of Queensland's School of Social Work and Human Services, Dr Walsh said forward planning and control were key features of many domestic attacks.

She said while Joe's acts were shocking and reprehensible, many weeks of group work and a change in attitude had helped him turn his life around.

He was now helping other men come to grips with their violent behaviour and had returned to the family home, which Dr Walsh said had been incident-free for a number of years.

She said providing more men's behaviour change programs and a stronger legal framework compelling men to receive ongoing support beyond six months could see stories like Joe's become the norm.

"We don't have enough resources to actually support men in their change process," Dr Walsh said.

"We need far more resources at the pointy end of working with these men - because, as as a practitioner, to work with the third woman (partner) of the same perpetrator is soul destroying."



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