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Disabled woman repeatedly raped in sleep by carer husband, Family Violence Royal Commission hears.

By Jean Edwards

A disabled woman has given a harrowing account of how she was repeatedly raped in her sleep by her husband, who was also her carer, before Victoria’s Royal Commission into Family Violence.

The woman told the commission she endured a decade of abuse, culminating in an attempt to kill herself when her husband assaulted her four times in one week.

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“I took an overdose. I didn’t feel that there was any other way out from the relationship that I was in and the situation I was in, and I couldn’t handle it any more,” she said.

“He left me knowing that I’d taken an overdose and left me on the floor to die.”

family violence royal commission
Many victims have chosen to remain anonymous at the royal commission. (Image: ABC News)

The woman said her son was the one who called for help.

She told emergency department doctors why she had tried to take her life, but said she could not leave her husband for fear she would never see her children again and would no longer have a carer.

The woman told the commission her husband was allowed to pick her up from hospital.

She said child protection workers eventually came to the family home, where her husband admitted abusing her.

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“He just said, ‘Yeah, I’ve done that. So what? All husbands do this and I can’t guarantee that I won’t do it again,'” the woman said.

She said her husband used her fragile mental health as an excuse for his abuse.

‘I felt I was let down’: victim

The woman said she was shocked when police applied for a family violence intervention order on her behalf and begged them not to do it.

But in hindsight, she said, she was grateful.

“The only way out would have been I killed myself or he killed me,” she said.

“I didn’t realise that I was a lot stronger than I thought I was.”

“They could have saved me possibly five years of abuse by my husband if something had been done sooner, if they had been under obligation to report it.”

The woman told the commission the doctors and support workers she saw in the mental health system should have reported the abuse.

“I felt I was let down,” she said.

“They could have saved me possibly five years of abuse by my husband if something had been done sooner, if they had been under obligation to report it.

“I wish they had been able to report it.”

The woman said reporting of sexual assault should be mandatory, regardless of a person’s age.

She told the commission she had to wait eight weeks for someone to help her have a shower when her husband was first removed from the house.

“That’s pretty degrading, so I was desperate for him to come back,” she said.

The woman also described the ordeal of attending many court hearings and the consequences of her husband repeatedly breaching intervention orders and bail conditions.

She said he would harass her through Facebook and other social media, using his parents’ phones.

The woman told the commission she felt intimidated being forced to sit in a court corridor with her husband and sometimes went without legal representation.

The man is now serving a jail term.

This post originally appeared on the ABC News website. It has been republished here with full permission.

 © 2015 Australian Broadcasting Corporation. All rights reserved. Read the ABC Disclaimer here. 

For more on Australia’s domestic and family violence issues:

Children’s brains changed by severe family violence, royal commission hears.

Family Violence: ‘We’re talking the talk, but we’re not walking the walk.’

Larissa Waters: We must return funding to family violence services.

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