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How Chelsea put an end to her ex-husband's continued abuse after their separation.

Content warning: The following account of lived experience contains references to trauma and abuse which some may find confronting or distressing. We encourage self-care and discretion when engaging with these materials.


“My ex-husband was very verbally abusive. ... He also threatened to kill himself and would emotionally and physically abuse me. He was very controlling and did not allow me to contact friends or family.”

I was living with my twin sister prior to meeting my ex-husband. My twin sister was both physically and emotionally abusive. I spent most of my time locked in my room with the door handle taken off and the cupboard pushed against the door so she couldn’t get in.

I met my ex-husband during this time. After a month of dating, he asked me to move in with him and I happily agreed so that I could get away from my sister. We started living with his parents and after four months of dating, he proposed to me. A month later we moved into our first house together and three months later he asked if we could try for a baby. I was not ready but he kept asking and asking so I said we could try.

We got married when I was five months pregnant. My ex-husband’s parents bought us a house five minutes from their house.

My ex-husband was very verbally abusive. He would constantly say things like “you’re not good enough, I’m going to bash you if you don’t shut up”, “you’re so pathetic and stupid, no wonder no one wants you” and “I’m going to kill you and bury your bones out the back”. He also threatened to kill himself and would emotionally and physically abuse me.

He was very controlling and did not allow me to contact friends or family. Once while bathing our son he held his head under water to ‘teach’ him to swim so I never allowed him to bath my son again. He would also be violent towards me in front of our son. My ex-husband’s mother was also very rude to me.

We separated a year after we moved into the house.

My ex-husband wouldn’t let me pick up any of my stuff. I was left with just a suitcase for me and a suitcase for my one year old son. I had nothing. No home, no bed for me, no bed for my son, no belongings at all except for a few clothes. The hardest thing about leaving was that I didn’t know what was going to happen and how upset I was that my son was in a world that seemed so cruel.

After I left I had support from my friends, family and a number of Micah Projects activities including Young Mothers for Young Women, Participate in Prosperity and Brisbane Domestic Violence Service. I couldn’t have done it without this support.

Following our separation, my ex-husband continued to bully me as did his family and friends. He would threaten me and say hurtful things through Facebook and text messages. There was one incident in which my ex-husband locked himself and Phoenix in his house and would not give him back and I had to call the police. After this, I went and stayed with my parents. I was told by my lawyer I had to allow my ex-husband to spend time with our son so we went to court and he was able to see our son again. My ex-husband would use pick-up and drop-offs as a way to harass and bully me. He would even bring his friends to try and intimidate me.

If you are experiencing domestic violence I know how hard it is to talk to someone, scared in case your partner finds out. Do not be afraid. Make sure you keep your friends close, and always have someone you can turn to and talk to. You deserve to be treated better; no one should experience domestic violence.


Over the years there were many times when my son would return with lots of bruises and other signs of abuse and neglect. There was even a time my son had to be hospitalised. Also, my son would return saying things to me like “I’m going to kill you, you’re going to die” which were similar things to what my ex-husband used to say to me.

My ex-husband continued to threaten me and luckily I had them all in text messages so I had proof of his behaviour. As well I had photos of injuries my son returned with after visits with his father, to show in court. My ex-husband has accepted fortnightly supervised weekend visitation and I also have a domestic violence protection order against my ex-husband.

I am now happily engaged with a new partner. He is a brilliant father figure for my first born son and we have been together for a year and a half and have a beautiful baby boy together. He has a lovely family who straight away accepted me and my son and my family really like him too. I have never felt so happy for as long as I can remember.

It was very hard to start a new relationship. I was scared to trust another man, scared whether I’d have to go through any more domestic violence. I was worried about whether I deserved the treatment or not, wondering whether being treated that horribly by my ex-husband was normal, would every man abuse me or hurt my son like my ex did?

I still carry scars from the domestic violence, but my fiancé helps me get through it, we talk about it, and he is a wonderful support. He helps my son feel comfortable, safe and happy and we are a family of four. We now have a puppy too.

If you have children, remember you need to protect yourself and them. Do not stay with an abusive partner because of your children, get out of there and stay with a friend or family member that you can trust and take your children with you. Talk to people who can help e.g. Brisbane Domestic Violence Service. They helped me through so much, I could not have done most of the things I have done without their help.

Remember, you are never alone. There will always be someone, somewhere that you can turn to for help.

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