“My family is still in contact with my abusive ex-partner.”

With the frustrations of her young daughters hanging over her, Chelsey has also seen firsthand that not everyone acknowledges the abuse she has suffered.

And it was one of the most difficult experiences of all.

“The other thing is sometimes nobody believes you. It’s ingrained. Even my brother said to me ‘you come from a wealthy background, why do you need food stamps?’ And I said, ‘Are you going to feed me every week?'”

Listen to The Quicky. The message continues after the audio.

Perhaps for Chelsey’s family, some haven’t realized that domestic abuse isn’t just overt or physical. We now have a better understanding of what domestic violence can lead to – emotional and financial abuse, gaslighting, coercive control, the list goes on. Not to mention the lasting psychological impact that abuse can have.

“It’s been an eye opener for me because my family is having a hard time understanding what he did to me – they’re having a hard time seeing that he’s been a bad person,” Chelsey told Mamami.

“The other day my mum liked one of his Facebook posts and left a comment wishing him good luck. In their minds they were supportive but when they keep in touch with him I feel like constantly trying to seek confirmation that I was abused.”

Although it was an emotionally draining experience, Chelsey knows she is better off. And she’s had people in her life who have shown her kindness and empathy — something she wishes for every woman leaving an abusive relationship.

“I was lucky in certain circumstances. I think a lot of women around me saved my life,” she said.

“My real estate agent was an angel because when she saw me in the state I was in, desperate to find a place – I think she knew that. My psychologist is also amazing and helped me get out of the marriage. It’s really hard to try to take your own story or be your own person again. But I’m working on it.

*Chelsea’s name has been changed for confidentiality reasons. Her true identity is known to Mamamia.

If this message raises any issues for you, or if you just need someone to talk to, please call 1800 RESPECT (1800 737 732) – the national sexual assault, domestic and family violence counseling service. No matter where you live, they will take your call and, if necessary, direct you to a service closer to you.

You can also call the 24/7 Domestic Violence Response Line on 1800 015 188 or visit www.safesteps.org.au for more information.

The Men’s Referral Service is also available on 1300 766 491 or via online chat at www.ntv.org.au.

Feature image: Mamamia.

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