White Ribbon Day: Police officers speak out about domestic violence they've suffered

Domestic violence victims within the police force are speaking out to mark White Ribbon Day, with one officer revealing she was forced to have an abortion and another describing being strangled by an ex-partner.

Thursday is White Ribbon Day, which aims to highlight and promote men who promote healthy relationships and consent.

One police officer *Genevieve, a Senior Sergeant, described how she was once the victim of a violent boyfriend who forced her to have an abortion.

"When I was younger, I was in a relationship which quickly became toxic," she said. "My boyfriend at the time exhibited control over me, was extremely jealous and verbally abusive.

"I was cut off from my family and friends for over a year, wasn't allowed any other men's numbers on my phone and was forced to have an abortion against my personal beliefs."

Genevieve said when she had an opportunity to reconnect with family, they ultimately helped her leave the relationship.

"I realised that if this situation involved someone I cared about, my advice to them would be to get out of it and I questioned why I wasn't taking my own advice."

*Charlotte, a Sergeant, said it was only at police college she first heard about psychological abuse - realising that's what she was suffering in her own relationship.

"Throughout our relationship, he had always been controlling but after graduation, he was even worse. He would check my phone constantly and didn't allow me to socialise with friends or even family, especially not other men.

"This all came to a head one Christmas Eve when I picked him up and he was drunk. I said I'd had enough of his behaviour and went to bed."

Charlotte said that's when it turned physical.

"The first punch he delivered shattered my forearm, then more and more punches followed. I covered my head as much as possible.

"Then his hands were around my neck and I was struggling to breathe. I managed to bite his thumb and he released his grip.

"More punches followed and I gave up. I stopped struggling and thought, 'This is it, I am going to die.'" 

She said she managed to calm him before she went to the hospital.

"I quietly asked for help from the hospital staff, they took me away to another room, and I was finally safe.

"They called police for me. He was arrested at the hospital that night and charged."

Andrew Coster, the Police Commissioner and a White Ribbon ambassador, said in a statement it was an incredibly brave move for the officers to share their stories.

"Police officers are not immune from these types of experiences," Coster said. "But hopefully by sharing their experiences, they will make it easier for victims of similar violence to come forward and seek help."

Three other officers shared their stories to mark White Ribbon Day. You can read all five stories here.

* Names changed to protect identities.

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