My Story - My Life
Well I guess I start where I see my story beginning... I was a happy kids from a pretty 'normal' family and life was sweet....Then we moved from the big city to a smaller town and my life did a flip...I became the target of bullies, not just for a day, or a month but for 4 years of high school. I was verbally abused every chance the 'top group' got because I was different. I was a geek, shy and fascinated by the occult....today I would be classed as a goth.

During my time at school I was tormented daily, verbally abused had my books knocked out of my hands as I walked to class, I was shoved, punched, threatened, my life was made a living hell. I cried myself to sleep at night, begged my parents to change my school, send me to boarding school or to live with my grandparents.... my parents thought I was over reacting. Their response was just walk away, I tried, I walked into the toilets and had my head slammed into the sinks, or got locked in.....eventually I hid in the library as it was the only place they couldnt find me or touch me if they could.

I was raped at 14 at a party by a guy who was supposed to be my boyfriend - I never reported him, for fear of what other people would say.....

Eventually after I got suspended for dumping clay silt over the head of the main instigator my dad came to the school and tried to make the Head Mistress understand as well as he could what I was going through...her response? She brings it upon herself by not standing up to them....I get suspended but they get its her fault?????

Anyway a new girl came to school, an aboriginal girl from the 'wrong' side of town, she was tough and the girls were scared of her because she fought back and hurt them, so I made friends with her and for the last few months of school they left me alone...

She introduced me to her cousin at 16 years old....I saw that they all had such a close family bond, they looked out for each other and were not scared of anyone...for someone who had been picked on and beaten up for so long it was very appealing...we dated for a while but he was a softy compared to the other guys...we stopped dating but were friends. I dated another of they guys for a while and we too eventually just became friends....then one night at a party I met this guy who was attractive, and so confident, and he flirted with me all night, I  eventually went off with another guy (and to my shame today I slept with this other guy) and 2 weeks after my 17th birthday they guy who had flirted with me asked me out and I was dating him.

Within a few month I fell pregnant, but miscarried, I was heartbroken, I was young and pretty innocent about the ways of the world but I thought a baby would love me no matter what. Looking back the first sign of things to come showed that night when I told him I had miscarried, his response was "Well it wasnt my baby, who else have you been with ?" I couldnt believe that he had said that and it threw me so much, all I could think was that he was hurting as much as me and didnt want to admit it...

So I ignored the niggling in my stomach that said saying that wasnt nice and hurt. I continued to see him, the relationship with my parents was deteriorating as they could see he was no good for me and tried to stop me from seeing him. I was still angry with them over what I saw as betraying me all through school, and this guy 'protected me' from bullies (more like protected his possession but I didnt see that until later either).

Time went on and I fell pregnant again and we were laying in bed, at his parents house and he told me he had a confession to make, that he had slept with someone else, he seemed so sad that I felt if I told him about the night he flirted with me it would make him feel better, it was like watching a switch go on, before I even knew what was happening he grabbed my hair and punched me. I was so shocked all I could do was cry.... he apologised right away saying "Im sorry but you just made me so mad", I wanted to leave and go home, but it was midnight and I wasnt going to call my parents while we were fighting, and I couldnt walk home in the dark pregnant, so I stayed. That was the beginning of my second living hell...

He drank and used drugs (though I didnt know the extent of this until after we split

I had my son at 18 years, my daughter at 20, I was stuck in a small house with him, jealous at every turn, beating me on an almost weekly basis to begin with, I was so over my head and felt like I had nowhere to turn. He threatened to take my children and vanish if I left him, he threatened to kill me if I left, he threatened my baby brother who was 10 years younger than me if I left.... I couldnt leave I was so scared of the consequences.

He hit me in front of other people, and only a few rare times did anyone ever lift a hand to stop him, his sister, and his brother in law tried...his grandmother told me he didnt deserve me.... but I didnt have the strength to leave...

Over the 3 years from when my son was born, I suffered amongst other things - broken ribs, bruising, had a butchers knife held to my throat, black eyes, several bites, a gun held to my forehead and the trigger pulled in the dead of the night (not knowing if it had a bullet in it or not), dragged by my hair into the shower and told to 'cool off' when I tried to fight back, then thrown outside in the middle of winter for 3-4 hours- but not able to leave because my babies were in the house with him. Verbal abuse daily, threats, no money often no food, cigarette burns to my legs, and he raped me several times, when I refused after a beating to have sex with him.

I tried to leave half-heartedly a couple of times but never succeeded.

One day he was verbally  abusive in front of my little sister (who was a tough little nut and very protective of family) and she punched him so hard she nearly knocked him out - I was so scared for her I wouldnt let her come back to my house after that....

He cheated on me repeatedly including my so called best friend who was living with us, she fell pregnant with his child and they both lied to me for the whole 9 months while she lived in my home...

Then finally on boxing day night after he had been drinking with his family, he started in on me again, he was hitting me in the head and body so much I was struggling not to pass out, and I suddenly though - he is going to kill me, and for the first time I knew no matter what the outcome I HAD to get away from him and protect myself and my children. The next morning his mum took one look at me and realised that anyone who saw me would know he had beat me, so packed me, him and the kids in the car and drove us 300km to his aunties place in the bush where we stayed until most of the bruising had gone yellowish. I used the time to think about what I was going to do.

When we got home, I waited, I secretly packed a few things and hid them in the bottom of a cupboard, and as soon as I knew he was gone for the day I rang my dad to ask for train fare, he said no stay in Town he has the legal right to see his kids and if you leave you will cause more problems you have to face him. So on January 12th he took me to the local women's refuge.They took me to a doctor to take inventory of my injuries - I had 3 broken ribs, a bite mark on my face, deep tissue bruising all over my body, a black eye which was yellowing, and lose front tooth.

I didnt sleep that night for fear he would find me (not that I slept much anymore anyway). After a few days of speaking with the other women I felt like I had suffered nothing compared to them.

He was demanding to see the children and I was told he had the right (by my lawyer!!!) and so my dad arrange to drop them off to his dad and to pick them up that afternoon (thursday before a long weekend), I agreed reluctantly, but my dad assured me he would pick them up and bring them home, (by this time my dad was feeling like crap as he understood what I had been going through to some extent and I know he was hurting really bad that his eldest child was suffering so), my mum just couldnt grasp why I had stayed so long and angered me by constantly saying I just dont understand why you didnt leave when he hit you.

Anyway the children went and I knew right away it was a bad idea, I could feel it was sooooo wrong, but they had left. They were supposed to be home at 4pm and by 5 my dad pulled up outside without the kids, he was heartbroken that they would not give the kids back - he is a man of his word and he couldnt believe they had tricked him. We went to the police and they told me he had as much right to the kids as I did, my dad told him about the abuse and the cop said Im sorry but thats the law...my dad then said well Ill go home and get my .22 and Ill damn well get them back, they advise dad not to do anything but promised to go check on the kids, after telling us we needed a court order to have them returned. So my babies 3 years and 18 months old were used as pawns, my little girl who had not spend a minuite away from her mum was kept from me from thursay until wednesday the following week until the courts had granted us a return notice....my son returned wetting the bed and st
uttering, my little girl would scream if I left her sight...I was furious at them for harming my children in this way....

To top it off the courts granted him and his family access, as I had never had him charged for abuse I couldnt 'prove' he had been abusive.

I met a lady in the safe house, who was into Wicca and as a women centered religion and involved with the occult I was interested in finding out more and began studying....

But it didnt end there, he would ring me and threaten me, his mum told my dad not to let my baby brother out of his sight, my whole family suffered after I left. He moved in with my ex- friend and they are still together with 7 kids - and she now suffers the abuse, she saw happening to me and still chose to get with him....I tried to warn her away when we split but her excuse was he doesnt love you but he loves me so he wont do that to me....(ah the stupidity of blind love...) She has since lost half a finger, been run down etc, but having said that she is as abusive as him...

Eventually I started to gain some inner strength then one day during access handover he tried to threaten me and I lost the plot, he saw a side of me he had ever seen, and I frightened him...It was then I finally realise he had no power over me any more..

I went through nearly 10 years of counselling, finally being diagnosed with mild depression and PTSD, I suffered from nightmares for years, I still to this day dont sleep through any noises.

I went through series of self destructive relationships and a co-dependant marriage, and started smoking pot as a way of relaxing and getting some sleep. Until 10 years ago when I finally used what I had learned through my studies into Paganism to turn my life around, I acknowledged my feminine power, I worked hard and studies harder until I became a High Priestess, I helped others who had been or were in abusive relationships, and found a measure of peace.

Then just under 8 years ago I met a lovely man, a single father of three girls, who worked out at the gym, was health conscious, caring and supportive....he called me his princess. He treated me like I was made of the most precious substance, he told me every day that I was beautiful, how special I was that he adored me. I finally began to believe him. We were married a few years ago, and he still proudly tell everyone how much he loves me, how special I am, and all my female friends ask me where they can find one like him...I laugh and say he was made especially for me, he is my reward.

Then last year I nearly died several times. I was diagnosed with a tumor in my adrenal gland after 3 years of being sick, I had to undergo surgery with a 50/50 survival rate...I believe I was given a chance, because I have so much to offer others....

and I am thankful every day for the chance I have been given to enjoy this part of my life,to watch our 5 kids grow up get married and have babies, to play with my 7 grandchildren (and more coming this year), I get so emotional, and so thankful every day, just to still be here...life is SO PRECIOUS......

I decided it is time to help where I can, I am now an ordained Pagan Reverend, I share my faith with others when I am asked, I do what I can to help where I can, and if by sharing my story I can help a single person NOT to be telling THEIR story on some online forum in the future, then I consider all I have been through to be worth it.

My 41 years of life have been hard, I have suffered through so much, yet I am so thankful that I can find joy in a sunset, be held with love in my husbands arms, and see my grandchildren smile and call me nan....

My message to you is this, dont accept anything less than you are worth, and you are worth so much more than you believe, life is short and you never know when it can be taken away, so dont allow yourself to be treated as anything less than the precious jewel you are by anyone, YOU are special and unique and you were created for the simple joy of loving life...

Bright Blessings

Reverend Lady Rohanna Ravenswing

A piece of poetry I wrote on my 1 year anniversary of freedom from abuse.

Escape.

I can't believe it's over, that I got out alive...
Now I can really live and not,... just survive
I can walk in the sunshine, feel the wind in my hair...
Stand in the rain and not even care!
I can laugh at the shadows and sleep through the night...
and not have to worry, about another fight...
I can dream my own dreams and start life anew...
I can do my own thing, without explaining to you!
The thing I like most about being free.....Is...
I can relax and have fun....being me!
Kelly Bray