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Domestic violence – a survivor’s story

Lani is hoping that her story will help to empower the community to stand up and speak out against domestic violence. Pic: Lynne Mowbray
Lani is hoping that her story will help to empower the community to stand up and speak out against domestic violence. Pic: Lynne Mowbray

 

Lynne Mowbray

Stabbed, burnt, sexually abused and beaten within an inch of her life; this is one woman’s account of the brutality of domestic violence. This is Lani’s Story.
Lani Brennan was the guest keynote speaker last Thursday at the annual Grafton Domestic and Family Violence Committee’s annual forum which was held at the Grafton District Services Club.
Growing up in an urban aboriginal community in Sydney, Lani, by the age of 13 was already a casualty of drug and alcohol abuse.
A relationship with a young man from her community had trapped her in a situation that almost took her life.
She became too scared to leave him because of his threats to kill members of her family, so she stayed and faced unimaginable abuse.
Lani told of her ex-partner brutally attempting to cut her leg off and having to undergo surgery, resulting in over 100 stitches and clamps, to put her leg back together.
“He dragged me out of the recovery ward and through the hospital and took me back home, where he cut off my cast and bashed my leg again,” she said.
“He held me hostage and beat me black and blue and at times I just prayed and wanted to die.”
“He beat me with a baseball bat, tried to hang me with an electrical cord. I remember waking up in a pool of blood and no one ever came to my rescue.”
Lani was finally rescued by her father who dragged her into the police station (to report the violence against her).
She entered rehab where the fog in her life started to lift and her life began to turn around.
She eventually found another partner and they had three daughters.
After four years, the police finally charged her ex-partner.
He was finally sentenced to 33 years – the biggest sentence ever handed down (for domestic violence).
During this time, she was approached by Blackfella Films (an Indigenous film production company) who wanted to make a documentary about her story.
A week after the documentary aired, the court threw the case out.
Lani was forced to endure the trauma of her violent past, as it went to trial once again.
Her ex-partner was found guilty again and was given a sentence of 24 years.
The unseen painful scars of Lani’s abuse finally had a chance to heal when she was approached by Harper Collins to write a book about her abusive past.
“I put my heart and soul in (to writing) it,” said Lani.
“I found it to be very healing and very helpful.
“My nanna always said that a problem shared is a problem halved.”
Lani was finally able to turn her negative experiences of life into positive.
“I started an education, ‘because I never had an education and then went on to do an advanced diploma on trauma counselling,” she said.
Lani is hoping that her story will help to empower the community to stand up and speak out against domestic violence.

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