Q: I am an international student living with my boyfriend, he physically, sexually and emotionally abuses me and threatens to send naked pictures and videos of me to my family if I break up with him as he is on my visa. I have no one to turn to, no friends and no family here in Australia. How can I get help?

Though you may feel alone and isolated, know that you are not alone, as we speak there is help out there for you especially here in Australia. One of the biggest things that stops people taking action is that they feel  isolated. People feel that no one will understand what they are going through. The honest truth is that freedom is only a phone call away so pick up the phone and talk to someone. In Australia we have safe houses where they can put you and your family away from an abusive partner. No matter how sorry your partner says he  is, unless he seeks professional help and changes he is not sorry. If he  uses words like I will kill you, No one is going to help you, I will find you, and it’s all your fault. Don’t fall for any of his threats, while the threat to your life is real, don’t let fear stop you from making a stand. The best thing is that you are not making the stand by yourself, police, the law and the whole of Australia is with you.

This is a combination of sexual harassment, sexual assault, domestic violence and possibly rape, all these acts are illegal in any country. Sexual Harassment and sexual assault carry a maximum penalty of 10-14 years in jail in Australia Qld Criminal Code – Sect 352.  Rape carries a maximum penalty of life imprisonment Qld Criminal Code – Sect 349. Given the seriousness of the matter you have one option that is to take the issue to the police and to the department of immigration, they will in turn place him under arrest and potentially deport him.

In the case of the nude content in his phone. Explain the issue to police and they will make sure that he hands any sexual material to them. Police deal with people like this all the time and are trained to handle situations like these. Australia has a very strong policy when it comes to violence against women especially when it is to such a brutal extent. Police will also send you to a women’s shelter if you do not feel safe. Make sure you have kept evidence via texts, pictures of when and how he has abused you to show to the police, though not essential this makes your case stronger.

Understandably in traditionalistic cultures something like this has far reaching consequences in regards to the social standings of the family. The best way to go about it is to tell your parents what is happening in your life before anyone else does. Unfortunately there is no easy way to go around it, this prepares your parents and family in the event that something is sent to them, it will not be a shock. Your family and parents will be shocked but they LOVE you, hence, they will do all they can to make sure you are protected and safe. In some instances women have  stayed in abusive relationships only to end up disabled, in hospital and sometimes dead.

Before you take any step whether to stay or report make sure you are fully invested into it and you mentally prepare yourself. Various organisations provided below work with various women in your situation and offer strong support to them.

Important Contacts For Support In Australia
Domestic Violence Hot Line: 1800 811 811 Web:http://www.dvconnect.org/sexual-assault-helpline/sexual-assault-helpline/
Sexual Assault Hot Line: 1800 010 120 Web: http://www.dvconnect.org/sexual-assault-helpline/sexual-assault-helpline/
Relationships Australia: 1300 364 277 Web: http://www.relationships.org.au/

Police Link: 131 444 Web https://www.police.qld.gov.au/programs/policelink/
Kids help line 1800 55 1800 http://www.kidshelpline.com.au/



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