OPINION: Domestic violence perpetrators need to be the one to leave their partners.
OPINION: Domestic violence perpetrators need to be the one to leave their partners. MILLARD RUSSELL

A letter to the father who strangled his partner

IN JANUARY, a 25-year-old father wrapped his hands around his partner's neck, strangling her until she was red in the face and couldn't breathe. He drove his car at her, punched her in the face, then threatened to kill himself and blamed his partner.   

Last Friday, he was jailed for three months for committing four domestic violence offences.    His victim, his partner, was sitting in the back of the courtroom in support of her assailant with three young kids, the oldest no more than five or six, sitting on her lap.   

When I saw the young family I remember thinking, 'Surely they aren't the family of this guy being sentenced today?'  

But as the defendant walked in, cuffed and flanked by police officers, the middle child, a girl of about two, turned towards him and said, "dada". My heart sank.   

That two-year-old who called out to her dad, the two-year- old playing peek-a-boo with her mum in the waiting room of the courthouse, was the same girl who watched her father strangle her mother with two hands.   

The most heartbreaking thing was hearing the Crown prosecutor tell the court the mother of the young child would be happy if her assailant was let off, because she wished to resume a relationship with him.  

To the perpetrators of domestic violence in our community: you need to make an executive decision to leave your partners.   Your anger over your life, your circumstances, your issues should not be taken out on your partners.   

Look at what you're doing to your partner, and your children. What child wants to see their parent beaten within an inch of their lives?  

These victims need protection from people like you: people who fly into a rage over a set of car keys; people who will beat the life out of their partners for sleeping in too late. 

 When you wrap your hands around a woman's neck, when you punch them square in the face and then threaten self-harm, telling them it's their fault - that should be the wake-up call for you.  

That's not love. That's not mutual respect. That's not a partnership any woman or man should have to go through.   

To the domestic violence perpetrators in our community: leave your partners. Enough damage has been done; it is up to you to let them go.