Hunter abuse survivor: 'Help, he's killing me'

New chapter: Kimmy* (not her real name) said violence "starts to become all you know". "They strip you of everything. But now I feel happy and I feel healthy - and it’s only going to get better.” Picture: Jonathan Carroll
New chapter: Kimmy* (not her real name) said violence "starts to become all you know". "They strip you of everything. But now I feel happy and I feel healthy - and it’s only going to get better.” Picture: Jonathan Carroll

WAKING up in hospital at 5am, Kimmy* didn’t know if she was dreaming.

After six hours of torture at the hands of her ice-fuelled former partner, in which he punched her in the head, held a knife to her neck, sliced her face near her ear and lit her hair on fire, she was alive.

“It was horrific and traumatising - he’s a monster,” Kimmy said.

“Him trying to kill me was the first day of the rest of my life.

“He was slowly breaking me, but he never broke me fully. I’m out and I’m going to make it.

"I’m destined to be someone. I’m getting stronger and stronger every day and starting to forget what life was like with him.”

The attack was the culmination of eight years of abuse, during which she tried to leave the father of her children at least seven times.

He was the subject of several apprehended violence orders.

“He’d physically stop me or would find me and sweet talk me and I’d get sucked back in,” she said.

“You think you’re taking the good with the bad. You’ve got to take the beatings to be spoken to nicely, sleep well or be taken out.

“He’d [also] say if I didn’t come back he’d kill me and the kids, or himself.”

Kimmy was married to someone else when the former acquaintance contacted her via Facebook. He’d just completed three years in jail and was out on parole.

“I had a great life, but he took it away,” she said.

“He was a charmer and made me feel like I was the only girl in the world.”

He told Kimmy he loved her after one night and had her name tattooed on his body after four weeks. She was pregnant after 12 weeks.

But it wasn’t all smooth sailing. A few weeks into their relationship, he received a reminder she had been married and smashed her head into a car window.

“I was shocked,” she said.

“I did not think it was was going to be ongoing, I thought he was sincere when he said sorry.

“He said ‘I need you to help me’ and I wanted him so badly to change.”

The day Kimmy found out she was pregnant, she received a black eye after a fight.

He made her leave her job and stop looking out windows, accusing her of ‘perving’ on men.

“I would come up with excuses, saying I was clumsy and hit myself on the bed head.”

She said one night he dragged her out of the car and kicked her.

“I had my knees up to protect the baby so he was kicking my legs,” she said.

“I had to crawl around on my knees for days afterwards because my legs hurt so much.

“I started thinking there was something wrong with me, not him.

“He would say ‘If you had shut your mouth it would not have happened’.”

Five hours before Kimmy went into labour, the police barged through their front door after receiving complaints about an argument. He was playing Russian roulette with her fingers and a knife.

When neighbours called police again after seeing him “belt me” in the driveway, he went to jail for three months, serving part of the remainder of his parole.

Under pressure from him, Kimmy lied and told authorities she was suffering postnatal depression, was scared he was going to leave her and he had not been violent.

The night he came home, he knocked her down and accused her of speaking to other men.

After more abuse, she called police and he went on the run, but the harassment didn’t stop.

“He’d take the clothes off the line, move ornaments around inside and I could see he was hiding underneath the house.”

After serving the rest of his parole, they were pregnant again.

The week before the child turned one she left, changed her number and started telling her family and friends the truth about his behaviour.

“When he found out I was seeing another guy he wormed his way back in,” she said.

“He found out where I was living and would drive past.

“He got my new number and told me he’d done courses and changed and asked me about the kids.

“I believed him. I wanted to fix him and help him. It took me a while to realise it was not love –  he did not love me.”

They started talking, but she didn’t tell him she was pregnant to her new partner.

“I ended up adopting that child out, out of fear for its life,” she said. “He would have killed that child.”

The pair reunited and separated once more, before the night that changed everything. They were at the table when he dragged Kimmy, who was 35 weeks pregnant, to the lounge.

“He kicked me in the back, threw a fan at me and started laying into me,” she said.

“The kids were screaming ‘Get away from my mum’.

“I told them to run out the door and scream to the neighbours.

“It was the first time he’d done it in front of the kids and that snapped me out of it. Enough was enough.”

The man drove away, leaving Kimmy to call police and take her children to a refuge.

He breached the AVO several times and FACS took the children over concerns for their safety.

When she returned home from a visit with them one night, he attacked.

“I did not say anything or look at him, I just sat there numb. I did not think I was going to get out alive.

“I was thinking ‘What’s going to happen to my kids? Who is going to tell them I am dead?’ ”

He threw her phone at her and she used the Facebook Messenger app to tell a friend, ‘Help, he’s killing me’.

Paramedics told Kimmy she lost so much blood she was lucky to be alive.

She needed a transfusion, plus treatment for a fractured skull.

“When I saw how I looked I thought ‘I’m never going to let another man make me look or feel that way again,” Kimmy said.

“He didn’t kill me - there’s a reason why I lived: to give my kids a better life. I want them to know what they saw or heard wasn’t normal.

“I’d like to think my story can help other people and I can assist others get out of these situations.”

Kimmy said while she has since discovered many resources, they were not well publicised when she needed them.

“I wish I’d known there was so much help out there,” she said.

“If you’re going to leave, do it the first time and don’t go back.

“They don’t change, they have an illness. You’ll lose your kids, your sanity or your life.”

Lifeline: 13 11 14

1800RESPECT: 1800 737 732

Men's Referral Service: 1300 766 491

Kids Help Line: 1800 551 800

Relationships Australia: 1300 364 277