Steamboats - Chapter 10
The Hidden Problem
I would like you to meet Denise who was the wife of a violent alcoholic . This is a true story with the names being changed of all those mentioned . During my studies as an enrolled nurse I had been on placement in various mental health facilities around New South Wales , in Australia . During this time I became intrigued by stories about people who had claimed to be insane after killing someone . The process involved to ascertain if that was true or not was a long and detailed process . Results of forensic investigations areas with crimes brought up many facts behind a crime that had previously went unnoticed . Abuse is often recognised as a hidden problem in society and if it can’t be seen by others them it has not happened .
Denise was married to Jack and they had four children . Two boys and two girls . They all lived together in a small family home . Before Jack was married he was at sea and had seen many countries . Jack had a drinking problem and a wild temper that he could not tame . He earned the nickname Ratbag Jack because of the way he treated those people who were close to him .
Ratbag Jack came home again tonight, the kids were on the sofa watching on in fear as their he started punching their Mother . She sat in an armchair with bruises on her face . The insanity went on until he decided to go upstairs to bed . He almost climbed up to the top of the stairs but he fell back down again .
“Leave him where he is” She said as one of the kids went to see if he was ok .
“ God knows he's a pain mother .” The second eldest daughter said as she lit up a cigarette . The Mother who was still shaking and replied.
“You know what in the morning he ‘ll say that he'll never do it again . It's always the same . He’s a ratbag .“
Living with Ratbag Jack was a series of regular events with one attack after another .
Everyone in the house felt they were to blame . They never called the cops ,
One night Ratbag Jack came home again and the Mother got thrashed so badly that she ended up in hospital , He was drunk again and another excuse was made to cover for him .
Mum had fallen down the stairs . They said when the ambulance came . Next morning the kids got up and went to school with no breakfast . The other kids at school always asked , “How’s your Mum and Dad ?” and they would always say the same thing , “Yeah they’re ok “ because they were too ashamed to say anything else about their abusive Dad, . They were afraid to mention about Ratbag Jack in case they would become the subject to ridicule from their peers .
After a few days Mum came home from hospital and was sitting shaking in her armchair . The kids were watching TV and Ratbag Jack came home drunk again but this time the Mother hit him with a hammer before he had the chance to to bash her up . She hit him over and over again until he stopped breathing . The kids all sat watching in fear .
This time they rang the cops and the Mother was arrested and charged with the murder of Ratbag Jack . After the court heard evidence form all the kids the Mother was deemed not guilty due to a severe mental collapse due to years of abuse from her husband who was an alcoholic .
So she lived in a beautiful asylum by the banks of Parramatta River in the heart of Sydney . You could say she escaped from the daily nightmare of living with Ratbag Jack but even still she feared him coming home . Every day the kids would come to visit their Mother . As they came to the front gate of the facility in their best clothes they were like little lost lambs with not much to say . They brought her a smile and carried the mail . At least they knew in here she was safe and yet didn’t know how
how she really felt inside because she had found a place where she could hide all the things she really felt .
Who’s to blame in the game when after the entire deck of cards fell to the floor and no can pick up the cards that were badly dealt out in the first place .
When the Mother was released back into the community again the kids had become independent and strong . After some counselling and support the mother secured a job and started to establish herself in a clerical roll for a Government office .
She had a man with money and moved into his beautiful home . They had a small circle of friends who often commented they were the perfect couple who had everything .
She bought French perfumes and silk stockings and she put on a well painted face for everyone she met . She had a large wardrobe filled with designer clothes .She left her office job to do home duties and put her feet up on fluffy foot poofies and she watched the midday TV shows . She walked on polished floors through French louvre doors and she was slowly becoming more and more pale as she waited in fear for him coming home again . She stared at the chiffoniers and the chandeliers ,
and everything was in its place, just like her , Its unfair that she had to face again the same fears she had before when Ratbag Jack was around . It was sad , all she had
was empty and untrue . The love was gone and she stayed on because she was too frightened to go . She told no one what she was going through and tried to cope with the things no one knew. The angry screams , her broken dreams , the endless tears and the wasted years of living in her beautiful jail .
She went out once a day to check the mail and waved hello to her neighbours . The kids didn’t visit her anymore . They all had their own lives now because they had to manage without her for so long .
She spend her days alone locked inside her mansion home while he worked as a chartered accountant in a very high paid job . At nights the fights continued and the hidden problem was never known to anyone who looked from the outside at this perfect couple with everything .
Underneath the heavy make up there were black bruises from all the blown fuses he had after coming home from work . History was repeating itself again and she could hear the sound if the bell which was starting to have its toll on her .
With no where to run she was imprisoned in her beautiful jail . He had taken all the cars keys and locked her up inside where she was tied up in knots by her nerves until she broke free from the hold he had over her . She kissed him goodbye when she said farewell to it all and made a noose for herself and hung loose from the bathroom door to welcome him home .
She had done the time for a committed lifetime but the crime of abuse went unpunished . Now she was free from the daily tyranny of a violent alcoholic.
For most of her life she had been a victim of the hidden problem called abuse . She was never able to disclose the hidden problem because it was too difficult and too frightening for her .
To live with an abusive partner is not easy to accept and even harder to escape from Some people seem attract similar people into their lives . This in like an inherited problem with too many unanswered questions . There are so many who , what , why where and when issues that need to be addressed but seldom are . Some of those issues relate to the method of the abuse that is used .
Non Verbal abuse – Harassing or assaulting . Messages sent through written notes and text messages . Unspoke threats that are made with whispers and stares . These abusive behaviours run rampant before and after physical abuse has occurred on an innocent person .
Financial abuse has a crushing effect on the freedom of movement and ability to escape that situation . It is Illegal and destructive to withhold money from someone in order to control them .
Neglecting to show mercy on someone during verbal onslaughts in vicious name calling . Making yyo stories and lies as well as blackmailing with threats of violence can escalate a fear where the victim is trapped with any where to go and remains in a no win situation deprived of decent food or support . The growth of humiliation of others is an enjoyable process for the abuser . This psychological abuse on another person is very intimidating with an intent to demoralise another’s dignity .
Physical abuse is traumatic especially when it comes from the hand of someone you once loved . The acceptance of getting hurt is a crime made by someone who has resorted to hitting , kicking , punching or using a weapon to damage someone who is innocent .
The evidence that some of the perpetrators of abusive treatment have had issues with alcohol are widely known . They were said to have been under the influence of alcohol when the crime was committed . Any behaviour which causes harm to another person is abuse .
Any person who is hurt , distressed , or made to feel humiliated or silenced is abuse .
Any person who is the victim of the abuse requires justice , compensation and healing before any kind of forgiveness or reconciliation can begin .
For some of the victims this has never happened and they have passed away from a life of daily torment without finding any peace of mind .
In every situation or relationship the victim is usually isolated with no one ever knowing what is going on . The victim can feel ashamed that someone they trusted has been violent with them and then fear what will happen if they tell somebody about this . At times the victim or victims feel that he, she or they are to blame .
In this story of Denise her abusers were known to her and in one instance was known by other family members as well . The abusers had alcohol problems and mental health issues which ended up making a bigger problem for Denise who lived a life of fear .
The reason why Denise became angry with Ratbag Jack was due to stress and trauma that she found it hard to cope with . Her children also were affected by Ratbag Jacks’ drinking problem .
In the second relationship that Denise went through she had become abused by financial and emotional control by her abusive partner who enjoyed seeing her suffer mental and physical pain . One thing that immediately presents itself with Denise was the fact that she did not care about herself and surrendered to the abuse handed out by her alcoholic husbands who no longer respected or cared for her .
Denise ended up with having to cope with a hidden problem .
She felt helpless and fell to her knees with emotional harassment and needed counselling and therapy and even medication that never came . She never knew who to trust out there and who she could tell about what was happening to her .
She came to terms with the abuse and put it away as a normal reoccurring event .
Her husbands drinking problems were never confronted to be the issue that required help urgently and so matters became worse
day by day .
Denise had to hide her emotions away . She could not allow herself to speak her mind because of the fear she had of her violent partners .
Both her husbands never could admit they had a problem and continued to keep up the daily abuse and Denise never reported this problem to the police or a doctor or a legal centre that could have stopped the abuse that was going on .
Denise died by her own hand which is a crime in itself however she found a way to escape the nightmare she was living in . Her second husband was able to fight off and suspicion of being responsible for her suicide and today is having to contend with an anger management program as well as his dependence of alcohol .
Strange how cognitive therapy can provide some comfort for people like him who abuse others on the dead end street of life where they live . Its always to late when the harm has been done to change what happened . In many cases of suicide and death , the final reality comes . What is lost is lost and gone forever what is left must be remember and respected instead of criticised or denied by those who have been cruel and abusive to those who once loved them .
Denise was cremated and her ashes were shared by her children. Kind comforting words were said by them to a small group of people who came to the funeral service and her hidden problem eventually was brought out into the open and shared with all who were there to hear . Her wealthy husband was not present at the service and lived a alone in his huge mansion until he was found dead after choking in his own vomit lying on the bedroom floor.
End Of Chapter 10
Link to chapter 11