Domestic violence: Ask the Aunties

DEAR AUNTIES

I am 65 years old and I left my husband of 40 years a month ago. Some people may wonder why I left it so long, but I never thought I had any options. I am staying with a friend. My adult children are bewildered although they often said they wondered why I put up with him.

My entire marriage was dictated by his wishes only. I was ordered around so much. He criticised everything I did, even to how I cooked a cake, did the shopping, swept the floor, spoke to the children-everything.

We have a farm and own the house-we have no mortgage or debt.

He says now that because I left I will get nothing and that I must go back.

Is he correct? I don`t want to go back but I can`t risk living in poverty. I am too old to start again.

REPLY

What your husband says is not correct. You will both be entitled to a settlement which will be determined by the Family Law Court. It’s very important that you seek professional legal advice as soon as possible to protect your rights. This is important even if you later change your mind. Being fully informed is essential to decision making.

As a start you could contact the NSW Domestic Violence Legal Service. They provide a range of free and confidential legal services including case work, legal advice and advocacy. (PH:02-87456900)

It is never too late to make positive changes and we wish you well.

The Aunties

During the month of January, the Manning River Times is presenting a series of letters under the title ‘Ask the aunties’, focusing on potential scenarios that could lead to domestic violence. 

Some signs of abuse can include: unfairly and regularly accuses her of flirting or being unfaithful; controls how she spends money; decides what she wears or eats; humiliates her in front of other people; monitors what she is doing, including reading her emails and text messages; discourages or prevents her from seeing friends and family; threatens to hurt her, the children or pets; physically assaults her (hitting, biting, slapping, kicking, pushing); yells at her; threatens to use a weapon against her; decides what she uses for birth control.

To seek help, phone 1800 RESPECT (1800 737 732); Lifeline 13 11 14 or the police 000.