FAMILY violence is a hard topic to talk about at the best of times, but Lindsay MP Emma Husar has used White Ribbon day to open up about her personal experiences with domestic violence.
Speaking to Parliament, Ms Husar told of her family’s battle with domestic violence over her lifetime.
“The first 13 years of my life was marred with physical domestic violence, committed towards my mother, at the hands of my always drunk-when-abusive father,” she said.
“Whilst the blows that landed on my mother during my childhood didn’t land on me physically – they may as well have. The trauma inflicted was the same. I recall it vividly and in great detail,” Ms Husar said.
In her emotional address to Parliament Ms Husar outlined the cycle of domestic and family violence that affected her family and personal life for “29 out of my 36 years” of her life.
“My father had been raised in a house where violence was the accepted norm and at a time when society said these were private matters,” she said. “Each episode of this violence over my 13-years was different but the aftermath was always the same: Dad would apologise, promise to be different, and that would work for just a short time.”
She spoke about the countless nights spent in police stations as her mother would detail the abuse and the numerous hotels rooms and women’s refuges that her family would escape to on nights when the risk of staying at home was too great.
Even though the physical violence eventually came to an end, Ms Husar said other abusive behaviours and tendencies came to light within her family.
“There were 13-police cars the last time physical violence affected my childhood. But this was the end of the physical violence, once and for all. Whilst the physical part ceased other abuse around finance and control ramped up.”
Speaking from her first-hand- account Ms Husar said victims often don’t speak up simply because there isn’t a loud enough conversation surrounding domestic violence and that the emotional response to the violence is to fall in on yourself.
“Sometimes in my experience I have found that, mostly, victims don’t talk about domestic violence because other people don’t talk about domestic violence,” she said.
“For many years I was embarrassed and ashamed. I know that I shouldn’t be but I am,” Ms Husar said as she fought back her tears.
One of the hardest things Ms Husar’s family had to go through was the circle of blame that often comes with domestic violence situations. She said the backlash her mother received did not help their situation.
“I hope that the blame that was launched at my Mum during the 90’s for not leaving, is no longer part of the ‘solution’ around domestic violence – and I hope the questions of ‘why doesn’t she just leave’ quit being asked,” she said. After her speech Ms Husar was given a standing applause and was comforted by her fellow Labor MPs.