Local woman Wendy Robinson was the guest speaker at Cobar’s Reclaim the Night rally last Thursday, speaking honestly and openly about how domestic violence had led to the murder of her parents.
Wendy said she hoped that by sharing her story she might have been able to give others an insight into some warning signs and also give support and strength to anyone who has found themselves in a similar situation.
“On the 3rd December 2014 my parents, Ian and Margaret Settree were murdered.
“Our loving united family broken in an instant. We became statistics in domestic violence,” Wendy said in her opening.
She said domestic violence can be verbal abuse and mental torment; it can be physical, which is assault, harassment – this is threatening behavior and a private nuisance; and it can be stalking – whether it is stalking a family member or an outsider.
“Speak up, seek help and support and report,” she urged.
“Domestic violence can be siblings, parents, sons and daughters, a friend or your neighbour or even a work colleague.”
She said her family was shocked to find out they were now statistics in domestic violence.
“We are a very close, supportive family and very loving.
“My brother, over a lot of years, inflicted upon me, my parents (mostly) and anyone around him emotional abuse, financial abuse, cyber bullying, stalking and intimidation, a lot of verbal abuse and at times physical assault.
“He had power and control, over all of us.
“I’ve seen Mum hurt and in tears.
“I’ve seen her with bruises and so tired from the constant verbal abuse and threats.
“Unfortunately, Mum denied and hid all of this from her friends, family and everyone she associated with.
“You would see her on a daily basis smiling, working and doing her day-to-day things like nothing was wrong in her life. She would tell me that my brother didn’t mean to, he’s sorry and he regrets what he has done. She thought it was her fault,” Wendy said.
She said her brother had also pushed, shoved and threatened their father.
“He endured a lot of verbal abuse, almost daily.
“It broke my heart when he told me he felt like a prisoner in his own home.
“He was tired and frightened. He too, was keeping it private. He too thought it was his fault.”
Wendy admitted she was also scared of her brother and nervous when he was around.
“I would lock myself in at night, as there were times when he stalked me.
“A couple of times he struck out to hit me, but didn’t succeed.”
Wendy said her mother was always very forgiving of her brother’s behaviour
“Mum’s forgiveness and denial was enabling my brother to continue with this power and control. She didn’t realise this. She was his mother and wanted to protect him, as any mother would or any partner/friend would do.
“She honestly believed each time that it wouldn’t happen again.
“He killed them both. Mum and Dad paid the ultimate price! They lost their lives while protecting the perpetrator, their son,” she said.
“I am not saying this is how all domestic violence issues will end up.
“However, I am sending a warning out there to as many people as I can.
“Don’t accept any of this in your life.
“Don’t always accept “I’m sorry” or “I didn’t mean to”.
“Take a stand and protect yourself and others when the threats, intimidation, verbal and physical abuse occur,” Wendy said.
She urged anyone who finds themselves in a threatening situation to seek help.