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  • Writer's pictureThe Beagle

Here is the problem: Now where is the solution. All we can hear is silence

The Beagle Editor, I’ve dreamt of leaving my abusive relationship for a little while now, actually years. But something was always stopping me from leaving. I just couldn’t. But now that I am trying to, it feels like everything is pulling me back there. Back to what? Easier. Back to all that I know. Back to the abuse. So where do my children and I go now we have fled the violence? We have fled the state, but what now?

Getting approved for a rental in the current housing crisis in Australia is hard. I am a damn good tenant but I can’t secure a house to save my damn life.

I remember starting the year off thinking “this is going to be my year” and what a laugh, it’s now December 2022 and I could not have been more wrong if I tried! I had my daughter in May, and that’s when my life spiralled out of control in a blink of an eye. Everything I worked so hard for was gone. It started the moment I received my notice to vacate letter in the mail from the realestate letting me know the landlord wants to occupy the property in 60 days time. I had been given 60 days to pack my house, my business, my kids, our entire lives up and find a rental all whilst still being a mother to a breastfed newborn, a 6 year old in kindy and a grumpy teenager. On top of that I had my kids father who, is more demanding, needy, and sooky than a toddler & I was at the time still a business owner, dealing with everything that comes with running a business.

The pressure, too much. With the stress followed physical abuse. What more could I take? Now not only was it up to me to do everything from breakfast to school pick up, I had to also walk on eggshells, make and pack customers orders, deal with Australia Post and issues like damaged or lost orders my customers were complaining about. I had to hand over my money whenever he felt like he had to go have a break because he was just so hard done by. He enjoyed gambling my hard earned savings down the drain, he was unemployed and not evening receiving a payment from Centrelink. He had $0 and contributing 0% to the household. My rental was $715 per week, alone. Ah, the pressure. At least I can breathe somewhat at the moment. Whilst he is in prison. If I didn’t pull all nighters in a cold shed in my backyard making stock and doing postal lodgements. I couldn’t pay rent. I couldn’t rely on anyone but me.

Fast forward- 6 months. December 2022. A week before Christmas. I am sitting on a mattress in a cold damp garage below my “ex”in-laws. I’ve managed to fit our fridge, some shelving for my business, a bed, tv and some milk crates I’ve transformed into storage nooks for clothes and toys.

I have had to remove my kids from their school in Victoria and return to my hometown in NSW because we have no where else to go. We left behind our friends, family, routine, and I personally even left behind the woman I worked so hard becoming. All my furniture, sold. Savings blown. Just getting us to NSW cost an arm and a leg, far out. I left Batemans Bay 10 years ago. I was 22, heartbroken, poor, unemployed. And have returned 10 years later the exact same person I was when I left, just with more trauma. More pain, more kids, more stress. More scars.

I’m sitting here, and inside my head I’m screaming. Screaming at the world and at myself for failing. I’ve failed. My business and its reputation is basically unrepairable, my kids have not had a solid routine since I would say at best 2021 and I have not had one single day to actually just switch off and enjoy being a mother to my first little baby girl. She’s crawling. And I have no been present enough to enjoy watching her grow. That regret will honestly stay with me for the rest of my life.

I'm present, physically but mentally I’m in the depths of worry and stress inside my head I can’t be present. My thoughts don’t sleep until I do, when I try to sleep I lay in the dark for hours, doing head miles.

I have no money in my bank, and haven’t purchased one single Christmas present for my kids and I have less than a week until Christmas. I’ve already explained to my kids that Christmas is cancelled this year. Sorry kids.

I dream over and over that my kids and I would be have our first proper family Christmas together in a cute little rental, sadly that isn’t going to happen, not for a long time. If ever now.

I’m playing with fire by staying here, I knew this, but I have no where to go. I don’t have any other option. The caravan parks can’t have us, the women’s refuge won’t take us as they are not only at capacity with women and children in similar situations, but my eldest is 14 and they don’t accommodate families with teenage boys.

February, I have until then to get out of this garage and be somewhere safe away from the control and abuse my ex will eventually inflict if I fail to secure a rental in time and escape his grasp. Now, I understand that there is just yet another damn reason why women stay. It’s easier sometimes to wear the bruises, or the black eyes. Come to think of it, I would actually prefer to be physically beaten than deal with the pressure and constant rejections I am copping. It’s harder walking away knowing we are walking into the dark unknown with nothing but the clothes on our backs facing nothing but rejection after rejection, whilst carrying all the baggage alone. Waking up every morning knowing today is just another uphill battle, of scouring the rental market, and trying to find services in the area that may be able to help with a food voucher of some sort. All you want is your life back. I want what I created. I want me back.

It’s true what they say, you don’t know what you’ve got until it’s gone. What I would do to have my life back, I was happy, my kids were happy, I was running a successful company alone that I absolutely loved, we were living in a massive rental house on acreage on the Surf Coast in Victoria. We were content. I had made something out of nothing. Me, the girl from Batemans Bay, the feral teenager to successful business owner, right back to nothing. Reflecting back on what I worked hard to create for myself and my kids is too upsetting to think about most days because it seems like a faded interrupted dream now. What I’d do to have it all back. Oh gosh, maybe it will happen one day if I can muster the strength to continue.

Unless you’re in it, I don’t think people are really aware of just how damn hard it is with the current rental market. It’s outrageous, the prices alone are hard for anyone to afford, too bad if you’re only receiving Centrelink, you haven’t got a chance in hell, basically. The standard cost for a 3 bedroom house in Batemans Bay is minimum $500 a week. I get roughly $800 per week from Centrelink whilst I’m not working. Yet, Our government say people can afford and can pay up to 50% of their weekly income on rent. Isn’t that just insane? What’s leftover once the rent is paid?

You know with the current cost of living and all that jazz, if something doesn’t shift NOW, we are going to see more and more people living on the street. No kidding. Take a drive out to North Heads at Moruya. Go see the locals that are living in swags and tents. Some have been there since the fires destroyed their homes. They’ve been there throughout the pandemic, and I haven’t seen one mention, one ounce of support from our leaders. These are the true blue Aussie battlers.

The general rental shortage and coming up against 15 other families, couples and singles, who have the ability to offer 3 or more months rent in advance or those that simply appear better on paper compared to others, or just that they don’t have as much baggage as I do.

Whilst there are thousands of empty homes along the coast, especially in Batemans Bay, there are families like myself who are in these situations, which are dangerous, but have no other option.

What the hell is our government doing?

What is our local MP doing?

What are we all doing to help our own?

What have you done this year for someone else? Have you paid it forward this year?

Like really paid it forward?

I’ll be the first to say, I have not actually been able to pay it forward. I can’t even repay my father or sister who lent me money after I spent all my savings relocating.

I have been regularly meeting a support worker through Anglicare Moruya- the closest and best option I have for a refuge is in QLD. A whole state away. This refuge will accept my teenage son and my dog. That’s all I’ve got.

What the hell is our government doing? Why do I vote? Why do I bother? What is the point? And the classic… why me? Why is it so damn hard?

The children’s father assaulted me twice that the police are aware of in the months after I had given birth in May, whilst I was frantically house hunting. Both times have ended up with him doing a sentence in prison, which is a relief. But I’ve been left bruised, and more broken than before and I still had to wake up and breastfeed and pack-up our lives into boxes. But how do I avoid it happening again? We have no where to live now, my only option that I have is to stay in a tiny garage with 3 kids, 1 dog and my business and personal belongings all crammed into one space, one single garage. I have less than two months to find a rental, otherwise the situation I am in can, and will, become very dangerous once he is released from prison. We will be back under his control, his abuse and I know, I won’t survive it next time. If I fail not only will I lose my children to the system, I will lose the person I spent the last 10 years becoming. I won’t be back. I will not return. I have no doubt.

Please if you take anything from this, it’s to appreciate what you’ve got, the warm clean bedding you wrap yourself in at night, or the simple things like the morning sun rays shining through the window hitting the kitchen bench illuminating all the dirty dishes from the last two days. Oh goodness, what I would do to have a sink full of dirty dishes again or even just a home cooked meal, all we have is a kettle, air fryer and a toaster. But hey, better than nothing isn’t that right? Count my blessings? Enjoy the little things?!

Please appreciate what you have because you have no idea when your life will be turned upside down. Never in a million years did I think this time last year I would be rock bottom, sitting on a mattress on a cold cement garage floor, snot all over my face crying. Stressing about how the hell I’m going to afford to get to Victoria to attend my cousins funeral next week on top of the extreme pressure Christmas puts on parents whilst being Alone. Scared. Broken.

This summer please be kind, the person in line next to you, could be having a rough time, maybe their biggest achievement today was literally just getting out of bed. We will never know how much pressure someone next to us under. Maybe they may just need a smile from a stranger or $5. If you can pay it forward, to someone in your community. Please do so.

This year, all I ask for is a safe place for my children, and I. That we can call ours. That we can create memories in. I ask that this current situation will be soon nothing but a stepping stone.

I will write in again this time next year, because.. 2023 is my year to shine. I can feel it. All I’ve got left is hope. Name supplied

NOTE: Comments were TRIALED - in the end it failed as humans will be humans and it turned into a pile of merde; only contributed to by just a handful who did little to add to the conversation of the issue at hand. Anyone who would like to contribute an opinion are encouraged to send in a Letter to the Editor where it might be considered for publication

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