‘I nearly lost my sister to abuse’
FROM the moment Lisa* met her sister’s partner, she knew something wasn’t right.
What started as some weird, and inappropriate behaviour from her sister’s husband morphed into a horrifically abusive relationship.
But Lisa could do nothing about it.
What would follow was a decade of abuse between Lisa’s sister and her husband, with little she could do to help.
“From pretty much a year after they got together, I started to notice that he was showing traits of being very controlling, and very demanding,” Lisa said.
He would make shrewd comments to Lisa, and she would see the control he exercised over her older sister in every facet of life, including isolating her from her friends and family.
Lisa would witness small moments of control between the perpetrator and her sister, but what she saw was only a small part of the abuse that plagued Lisa’s sister in her every day life.
“It felt like that was their life, and that he would be doing that when no one else was around as well,” she said.
“My biggest fear was that she would not wake up and realise that he was controlling her and she does deserve better.”
While she did witness some elements of abuse, the worst of it stayed behind closed doors.
As much as Lisa wanted to help her sister, she felt she was in a helpless position.
“You don’t know the extent of it,” she said.
“You’ve got all these things in your head about what he is doing when nobody else is around.”
It was only after the relationship ended that the stories began to unravel.
“That was the heartbreaking part when she left him,” she said.
“It broke my heart afterwards to hear that many times she had thought about committing suicide. That never went through my head, and that’s when I realised it was much worse than I realised.”
When the time came that Lisa’s sister did leave the relationship, it was like she had her sister back.
She still remembers the day her sister messaged her two important words: “It’s over”.
“There were times at the end of the relationship that I’d go and visit her and there’d be no spark in her eye,” Lisa said.
“She just wasn’t her normal self. The first time I visited after, she was so happy and so sparky.
“I cried and said, ‘this is the sister that I’ve missed’.”
But the fear that it’ll happen again still lives.
“It still haunts me that he’ll somehow win her back and isolate her again,” she said.
But for now, Lisa has her sister back.
*A pseudonym has been used to protect the privacy of the interviewee.
If you or someone you know is a victim of domestic violence, do not hesitate to make contact with a professional or contact one or more of the following:
DV Connect Womensline: 1800 811 811
DV Connect Mensline: 1800 600 636
1800RESPECT: 1800 737 732
Sexual Assault Helpline: 1800 010 120
Kids Helpline: 1800 551 800
Lifeline: 13 11 14
Domestic Violence Action Centre: 4642 1354
Sexual Assault Support Service (Toowoomba): 4616 6950
Queensland Indigenous Family Violence Legal Service: 1800 88 77 00
Dalby Crisis Support Association: 4669 8499
Safe Connections - Lifeline Darling Downs: 1300 991 443.
Domestic Violence Regional Service (South West): 4639 3605
Working Against Abuse Service (Roma, St George and Mitchell Courts): 4622 5230