Whitlam Institute

What Matters 2017 Finalist Entries

What Matters? Finalists 2017

2017 What Matters? TAS Year 7/8 Runner Up

What Matters

Kiya Beveridge

Reece  High School

The dinner table was blanketed in harsh silence as I hurried through my dinner, eager to escape the tension radiating from my parents’ rigid forms. I stand abruptly, flinging my chair back in the process. The noise brings all attention to me as I turn towards the stairs and move at a near sprint into the serenity of my bedroom. I allow the door to bang before I slide my body down the wood until my petite, anxious form hits the ground. I press my ear firmly to the door, prepared for what is to follow my ungracious exit.

“You are worthless” is what my strained hearing picks up on first. My father’s gruff voice is directing the words towards my mother. I now recognise that she has had too many glasses of wine, as I hear her usual timid voice replaced by cold and heartless words spat back at my father in futile retaliation. The ruthless words turn into screams, filling our cold, desolate house, forcing me back from the door into a resigned foetal position on my bed, whilst still being suffocated by their venomous tirade.

I’ve heard these arguments so many times before that I have grown accustomed to them but what happens next fills me with dread and utter fear. The sound of a palm connecting with a cheek with such force that I can only assume that it was my father doing the hitting.

A powerless whimper escapes my trembling lips as I try to suppress the questions bubbling inside of me. Is it my fault, these arguments? Was it something I said or did? Will I be able to stop my mother from being hurt again? Will my father hurt me?

This question resonates throughout the entirety of my hunched over, feeble form. I am so captured by the whirlwind of feelings inside of me that the crumple of a mass hitting the ground and heavy footsteps making their way up the stairs do not register until my door is flung open, wood splintering as it collides with the soft, pink plaster. The dark silhouette of a man stands in the doorway before pulling me off the bed with such force that my breath is lost as I connect with the floor. I lay limp with no control of what is to happen to me. My body is slammed, slapped and kicked so many times that I feel myself slip into a painless darkness. This blackness will now be my sanctuary. I pray that I will slip into it whenever I hear those familiar footsteps make their way up the stairs in the years to come. It is the only place I know I can go to escape the inevitable pain and betrayal.

In our ‘lucky’ country, one woman is being killed each week because of domestic violence.

This violence is now the leading cause of death, disability, injury and illness in people aged 15 to 44.

Only 23% of men have said to have experienced domestic violence.

In 2016, 71 women died at the hands of domestic violence.

The sad reality of our world is that too many people are being affected by domestic violence, spiking mental disabilities in our victims. These effects don’t just go away, these people are stuck with them for life.

What will it take for people to realise how serious this issue is?

When are we going to enforce new solutions?

These women matter. These men matter. These children matter. Everyone that had fallen victim to domestic violence matters.

Jenna Beck