Vesna Crnobrnja is not here anymore.

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I know you normally pop in here for a bit of a laugh, but today is not that day.

Today is White Ribbon Day and here at Woogsworld, I am donating the day on the blog to take part on the biggest social media message in history, to put a stop to violence against women.

I recently read something sent chills though my spine. It is a transcript from an actual phone call made a few months ago.

“911, where is your emergency?”
123 Main St.”
“OK, what’s going on there?”
I’d like to order a pizza for delivery.” (oh great, another prank call).
“Ma’am, you’ve reached 911”
“Yeah, I know. Can I have a large with half pepperoni, half mushroom and peppers?”
“Ummm…. I’m sorry, you know you’ve called 911 right?”
“Yeah, do you know how long it will be?”
“OK, Ma’am, is everything OK over there? do you have an emergency?”
“Yes, I do.”
“..And you can’t talk about it because there’s someone in the room with you?” (moment of realisation)
“Yes, that’s correct. Do you know how long it will be?”
“I have an officer about a mile from your location. Are there any weapons in your house?”
“Can you stay on the phone with me?”
“Nope. See you soon, thanks”

Police were dispatched to the address to find a very badly beaten woman, and arrested her boyfriend. It was a situation that I could never imagine myself in.

But the hard cold fact is that one Australian Woman is killed by her domestic parter every week. This week it was Vesna Crnobrnja, who was allegedly killed by her husband in the front yard of their house in Casula. Vesna had two sons and a daughter. She was 49 years old. She is not here anymore.

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Vesna Crnobrnja

Abuse against women comes in many forms.*

Physical abuse – including direct assaults on the body, use of weapons, driving dangerously, destruction of property, abuse of pets in front of family members, assault of children, locking the victim out of the house, and sleep deprivation.

Sexual abuse – any form of forced sex or sexual degradation, such as sexual activity without consent, causing pain during sex, assaulting the genitals, coercive sex without protection against pregnancy or sexually transmitted disease, making the victim perform sexual acts unwillingly, criticising, or using sexually degrading insults.

Verbal abuse – continual ‘put downs’ and humiliation, either privately or publicly, with attacks following clear themes that focus on intelligence, sexuality, body image and capacity as a parent and spouse.

Emotional abuse – blaming the victim for all problems in the relationship, constantly comparing the victim with others to undermine self-esteem and self-worth, sporadic sulking, withdrawing all interest and engagement (eg weeks of silence).

Social abuse – systematic isolation from family and friends through techniques such as ongoing rudeness to family and friends, moving to locations where the victim knows nobody, and forbidding or physically preventing the victim from going out and meeting people — in effect, imprisonment.

Economic abuse – complete control of all monies, no access to bank accounts, providing only an inadequate ‘allowance’, using any wages earned by the victim for household expenses.

If you recognise yourself in any of these categories, you are not alone. Know that you are not alone. I know it is very simplistic for me to say that there is help out there for you, and I know that it is not as easy at it sounds to act on it.  People will always say… “Why don’t you just leave?” and I know that sometimes it is not so simple for many reasons.

But know that you are not alone. I am listening and I am here. I have sworn the oath never to excuse or remain silent about violence against women. You can swear yours here.

Here are some resources that are available to you. I beg you to use them.

1800 RESPECT (1800 737 732): 24 hour, National Sexual Assault, Family & Domestic Violence Counselling Line for any Australian who has experienced, or is at risk of, family and domestic violence and/or sexual assault.

Lifeline has a national number who can help put you in contact with a crisis service in your State (24 hours)
131 114

Police or Ambulance
000 in an emergency for police or ambulance.

Translating and Interpreting Service
Phone to gain access to an interpreter in your own language (free)
131 450

*info from The White Ribbon Day Campaign.