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‘He asked me, “Do you raise your voice, do you yell, do you throw things, do you call your wife names, do you swear, do you bash things? ‘Then he went to a filing cabinet in his office, and he pulled out an A4 piece of paper with a pre-printed “Cycle of Violence”, and he whacked that on the table and he said, “That's what you do.” He said, “This is what we call domestic violence.”’Rob kept the piece of paper to himself for days.
Eventually, on his counsellor’s urging, he showed the piece of paper to Deb.
At a local men’s behaviour change program, Nick and the other men in the group were astonished to learn that in the eyes of the law, verbal, emotional, psychological and even financial abuse count as domestic violence.
‘That's the bit that probably really woke up most of the men in the program,’ he says.
A year ago, during an argument late one night, Nick picked Steph up and threw her out of bed.That’s because perpetrators often foster an ‘us against the world’ narrative based on the fact they’ve been badly hurt by others in their life.Women in these situations can be manipulated into believing they are the only person who can protect their partner and help them become a better man.Deb Sanasi’s expertise in perpetrator behaviour is more than just professional.Nine years ago, when Deb decided to return to work after years as a stay-at-home mum, her husband, Rob, began to feel like his life was falling apart.
‘If I had a quid for every woman who said to me over the years, “Give me a black eye any day. It's the words that hurt, it’s the words that stay,”’ says Karen Willis, executive officer of Rape and Domestic Violence Services Australia.