For six years, I used the word ‘victim’ to describe my circumstance. Today, that word does not exist in my heart and in my mind. I am free. I am strong. This is my story.
I migrated to Australia from Fiji intending to start a new life with my children after divorcing my first husband. A friend introduced me to a charming Australian man. We fell in love and after a blissful time of getting to know each other, we decided to get married. I thought I was the luckiest woman in the world!
Soon after we were married, I began to notice alarming behaviour and eventually discovered my money was being withdrawn from both my bank account as well as my children’s accounts. And items from our home starting disappearing.
After a painful period of denying reality, I faced my fears and admitted to myself that my charming husband was addicted to gambling. He had stolen my money and my possessions to fund his addiction and his eventual demise. I still stayed with him hoping he might change. It was my second marriage and I had to make it work. But leopards never change their spots.
As our situation worsened, through financial hardship, constant arguments, creditors knocking at our door, mental and emotional abuse, and uncertainty about our future, I finally left him.
That’s when his brutality got worse – he intimidated my children and me, stalked us, used abusive language and made false accusations. He hired a private investigator to follow us and harassed my family and friends. Then, the day arrived when I thought my life was over – he entered my home with a knife and held me captive for over three hours.
We ran from suburb to suburb and state to state in fear of our lives.
I found myself walking the streets with my young children, standing on someone else’s doorstep begging to be sheltered.
Gambling caused so much emotional, physical and mental harm to me and my family.
I’m still haunted by the dark memories of my past. But there is always light if you choose to flick the switch. As part of my recovery, I wrote a book. The Journey of a Gamblers Wife.
I found my voice and I share my story to help others. I’m grateful for the domestic violence services that supported me throughout the darkness. I’m proud to work with my gambling reform theatre group, Three Sides of the Coin, ReSPIN and The Alliance for Gambling Reform. And I’m honoured to be the mother of three beautiful girls. They are my rock and light.