I’ve felt really sad this week upon hearing that Matt Newton has allegedly attacked his actress girlfriend Rachel Taylor.   Sad for so many reasons.  Sad for Rachel, sad for her family, sad for his, even sad for him.

A year or so ago, I wrote here about a girl I knew and loved that had been in a violent relationship, but had kept the fact quiet, even to those closest to her.  That girl was actually me.  I admitted this on air at my old brekkie job, and it was by far the hardest thing I’ve ever admitted so far.

It was also a really hard moment for one of my co hosts as he felt that because we were working together back when it was going on, he felt that he should have known, could have done something. But he couldn’t.  Because I was too embarrassed to tell him it was going on.

My boss at the time was the only one that knew.  I can’t even remember now when or how I told him. But he urged me to pack a bag, get out of the house, and go and stay at a hotel, which he’d organised.  He acted in a way that I now know was exactly what others should do if they find out this is going on with a friend or relative.  Get them away from the danger zone immediately!

But that’s the thing about violent relationships, when you’ve never been in one before, you just cannot believe it’s happening.  It’s like a terrible nightmare that you just hope will fade away.

I’ve said it before and I’ll say it again.  There are reasons that women, or men, stay for a time in a relationship that’s violent, and that’s just a fact.  What we don’t need to do, which so many do, is judge them.

Yes, the most important thing for them to do is walk away, but as most people who’ve been in a violent relationship will say, they thought perhaps there was something they were doing that was to blame.  They were embarrassed to say it was going on.  And that they kept hoping that things would change.

I personally felt that some of it was my fault because I was unhappy with myself, and angry as a result.  I would challenge my partner, and I was a bitch at times, so it was easy for him to convince me his behaviour was a one off.  I was to blame.  But there is no excuse, and I was definitely not to blame.  It started in his home when he got punched up at age 3.  And it kept going. Became part of his life.  And now mine.

Once he’d shared his childhood history,  I then moved into feeling sorry for him.  Grieving for the child that he was that had no one to save him.  I wanted to heal that child’s pain, and make it go away.  But that child was now a very strong, and very angry adult, so it made no sense for me to try and mother the child that wasn’t there.

I literally look back at shudder at this time in my life.  I most certainly would never ever allow this to go on ever again.  One push, one punch and he’s gone!

But it was my first time.  I hope my only time.  And I went through motions that I know others have done too.  Others are doing right now.  If you are reading this now I want to say to you, he, or she will not stop hurting you one day.  It will get worse and you may die.  You may end up in a wheelchair, scarred for life, and even blind as I once thought I’d become after having wax thrown in my eyes.

Risking these things because you feel sad, you feel empathy for them or you’re embarrassed of what others might think,  just will not be enough for you to forgive yourself once it’s too late.


  1. I’d also like to make the first comment on this one – I just heard that Matt’s going back in rehab for addiction to drug and alcohol addiction, but that just makes it sound like that issue is why he hits women. It’s not!!!!!!! He hits women, because he hits women. They need to go back into his life and work out why he hits women, instead of hiding behind it being about the drugs and alcohol. I might be wrong and there might be something else planned to cure this guy but getting him sober for the rest of his life may not mean he never hits a woman again.

    • No they shouldn’t. I’m glad it’s the past, and if I can share my story of my own free wheel as opposed to having to because it ends up by accident in the public, then it shows I’m not embarrassed any more, and I hope others might feel the same, especially if they’re currently in one. And this is another great thing about blogs. If someone is still in a violent relationship, then I hope they could ask me or people here for help.

  2. Thanks for this Amber, your bravery in exposing yourself is to be commended. In Adelaide their are places that can help women in this situation. The womens information switchboard is always a good place to start.
    Ph: 8303 0590 or 1800 188 158
    8.30am-5.30pm, Monday to Friday and
    9am-5pm Saturday.

    Also the Spark Resource Centre is able to help kids and sole parents too get out of and work through the whole mess this creates. They are currently raising funds to facilitate a art therapy program to help children who have been exposed to this horror!

    Once again Thank You Amber for adding your voice so passionately


  3. I too have been in a DV situation. As a child, my ex was abused. As a child, I watched my mother be abused (time and time again).

    This was no excuse for him to hurt me, and no excuse for me to stay.

    I have self esteem now, Im 29 and for the first time in my life I feel worthy. And I feel like I am someone.

    I too felt sorry for the little boy he was. Unfortunately contact (to a very minimal extent) is still necessary because we share a son.

    I am stronger now after going through this. But no woman should ever have to endure it, nor feel sorry for the man in any way whatsoever.

  4. bless you for sharing babe. i’ve been there too. all i remember of this time in my life was cheap and awful hotel rooms, lots of sobbing, wondering when it was going to stop, wondering what i’d done to cause the anger. it all unravelled when he also admitted childhood abuse. the hardest thing i have ever done was to walk away. i totally get wanting to “fix” them or “heal” them but unfortunately that is a journey many people need to take on their own.

    thanks goodness you survived it.

    to anyone out there going through it – it is not your fault! confide in someone you trust, and leave.


    • it’s certainly a very sad and very lonely time going through this isn’t it? Worst time of my life…. And yes, it is their journey and pitying them, when they’re hurting us, is definitely NOT the answer. Thanks heaps for sharing your story sweety. The more of us that do, the more the ‘us’ won’t keep going through it as they might be right now.x

  5. Take it from someone else that has been there – he will never stop – and like Amber my friends and co-wks never knew until i decided it was time – and just like Amber they all felt they should have know and done something –

    • yes, there are always people that will help. You just need to own up, and choose someone you trust to tell. Even if you have no friends, ,maybe choose to tell someone at work that you think seems kind or nice. I’m glad you’re safe now.xx

  6. It is not just violence though, but also emotional abuse too. Some will push and emotionally abuse their partner with, nasty pay outs and cruel emotional taunts and humiliation, but claim they never hit a woman. Just as damaging and just as much reason to get out. Matt seems very spoilt and diva like and if he doesn’t get what he wants he lashes out until he gets what he wants and the drugs just support and exacerbate his irrational behaviour and make it 10 fold.

    • I totally agree. Emotional abuse although won’t physically kill you, it can also be soul destroying. It’s equally as disgusting. I really believe most of these people must have grown up with this, so that’s another reason why I urge mother’s, or father’s to take their children immediately away from scenes of abuse because they too may end up with this rage or learnt behaviour. The cycle has to be stopped. Staying because you have nowhere to go, surely can’t be right. I would hope that there is a women’s shelter somewhere in most towns. Although maybe there’s not enough?

  7. I have also found myself to be in an abusive relationship and fully understand why it is so hard to break free. I grew up watching my dad beat my Mum on a semi-regular basis and the one thing that always seemed to be a significant precursor to that abuse was alcohol. I’m not sure if having watched this realtionship between my parents seemed to make it easier to accept the situation that i was in as it also also seemed to be fueled by alcohol. Needless to say that to this day my Mum doesnt know the full extent of the abusive relationship i was in and the abuse that my father bestowed on me. But, i believe that i havent been able to express this due to the embarrassment and shame i feel that it happeed to me.
    I really don’t think that there is a good excuse for being violent! I have been through alot myself and still cant hold my hand against anyone and havent turned to a life of crime. Why is society so accepting and lenient towards these characters. Enough is enough!

    • Can I ask you then, if you found yourself in an abusive relationship again, would you walk away or would you stay? I think if this has been a theme in your life then you need to be very careful you don’t find yourself in it again. So perhaps, you need to have a hypothetical plan in place if it ever happens again.. ie where to go? can you have a key to a friends place? can you always have a secret stash of money just in case? Sounds strange but patterns do seem to appear in people’s lives and the key is breaking them, and removing the theme. I’m sounding like a nut, but I just would like to think that you can be safer if there’s a next time.x

  8. Ditto Amber, dependence on addiction cannot be given as the reason for Violence, neither can Mental Health. This to me is a cop out! Violence and women subjected to violence needs to be openly talked about as the community needs to be educated, it has been a taboo topic for far too long. Your courage and openess on this topic will help other women who can relate to your story, and let’s hope that these women will find the strength to seek support.

    • Hi darling – I thought of you when I wrote this. Are you still in Sydney? I’ve written a version that will be in the Sunday Tele. What a terrible time that was for both of us. I bet life is good for you now? Mine’s is amazing. Feel’s like that all happened to someone else. So strange though we’ve still never met. And you still feel like an old friend. Hope life is treating you well,xx

  9. I grew up being abused by my father (and have only recently found out he used to hit my Mum. She was one of those women who go to work with black eyes).
    After seeing how it’s affected her, and knowing how badly it’s screwed me up, even if somebody I was seeing so much as raised a hand to, or threatened me, I’d be out of there so fast I’d be a blur.

    • oh dear, i’m so glad though there is people that walk away like you rather than think it’s ok cause you’ve seen it before. Your poor mum, and poor you. I don’t think anyone can appreciate unless they’ve been there, just how sad it makes you feel. Even thinking about it all those years ago. I’m very sad this weekend. And I thought I’d really moved on, Not sure we ever do.x

  10. Matthew Newton has got form and he shouldn’t be hiding behind the ruse of “rehab” to weazel his way out of this. I am angered by his repeated evasion of anything more serious than fines and community service. He should be convicted and given a custodial sentence.

    • i think he’s going to get a bigger sentence than any court will give him. australia will never forget what he’s done. But I’m interested to know, where did he learn this behaviour and what is his issue. I have an awful feeling we’re not going to like the answer to this one….

  11. Thanks for your honesty Amber! We need more people in positions like yours to make people aware of what is happening out there!
    People also need to know that spousal abuse doesn’t just happen in straight relationships, it also happens in same sex.
    I was abused by my first partner when we lived together. When we first decided to take that next step and move into together I soon learned who I was living with. It’s not just the physical abuse (it sounds horrible, but that I could handle that to a point), it was the emotional!
    There’s nothing worse than seeing your loved one lash out towards you and then crumble on the floor like a baby saying they are so sorry, it’s my dad’s/mums fault because they were horrible parents to me (the ultimate guilt trip).
    I soon learned this person didn’t want my help, they were happy to keep abusing, and I was stupid enough to stay and let him carry on. You try and help, but in the end you’re fighting a losing battle!!!
    Out of all this, there is one good thing this person gave me through all the abuse; he made me strong, strong enough to never let this happen to me again!!

    • oh sweety! that’s so sad…….you poor angel. And, i feel sorry for him too. But the thing is, we can’t save these people and we shouldn’t have to. i just hope you didn’t take anything he said personally. You know it’s NOT about you, or us, it’s about them. But as I’ve realised this weekend, so long after the fact, it is very damaging…..and just when you think it’s ok and you’re over, it creeps up on you again. To be honest Nick, I’m not coping this weekend. Maybe it’s the come down of my party….I don’t know but I feel sad and hurt just like I did back in those days. Maybe re-living it isn’t always the best thing for me. anyway, i’m sorry this happened to you.xx

  12. Amber, you and Rachel are yet more examples of what so many women and families face…often without much support! As a Board member of The Women’s Housing Association Inc, which is a progressive SA based womens organisation supporting to house women/children affected by domestic violence, I would like to invite you to assist our vision and become affiliated as an ambassador.

    • i have to admit, this week has been alot tougher than I thought. I have been asked to write another version of my story for tomorrow’s Sunday paper in Sydney. And whilst I’m ok to share my story if it helps someone. I have to be honest and say that re-living it this week has been anything but easy. I thought i was over it….but i have had to cancel all my plans this weekend because i am very sad and very teary. I don’t really want to talk to anyone about it at the moment, and it has surprised me that it is still a very raw issue. So i guess maybe when i’m as strong about it as i thought i was…..i’ll be happy to talk about it to other….just for this weeekend, sadly i still think i’m not coping, but i’ll get there!!!!!!!

  13. Well done Amber. If there were more public forums like this women wouldn’t put up with it. These stories also need to be put straight back into the faces of those who do it. I think its also important for us to be educated about what people are going through when they bully and why they do it. I know this is extreme, but a good lesson in understanding psychopathic minds can actually help people if they feel vulnerable to bullying because we apparently all possess traits that can lead us to being cruel individuals, and apparently everyone gets a score on the psychopathic scale (meaning people who are cold and intentionally bully people, and who can possess personality disorders or other psychological problems that lead to this.) It has also been said that people who fall prey to such individuals are often those who are nurturing and pride themselves in being so. The problem with being over nurturing is that you care too much, and this can lead you into trouble. This is a different thing than being compassionate for someone at a safe distance. I know because I have also been one of these “nurturing” people and have found myself in trouble because of this, but have NEVER gone back there because I understand what created the pattern for me. If we understand abuse as simply that – something which is often cruel, cold, calculating and intentional and stop feeling sorry for these people then those of us who are more nurturing than others will simply learn to walk away. P.S. You should do as many chats about this as possible, we need more strong voices!

  14. My daughter tried to get away and was living away from her former partner, with monitored alarm, police on call etc but he still got to her. She is another victim of domestic homicide. I found this on a DV website and it really blew me away. Thank you for speaking up, we must tell others how hard it is to get away when all your self eteem has been stripped away, but even then be careful, some are like Mr Newton – they keep on hitting woman cos they can.

    I Got Flowers Today

    We had our first argument last night, and he said a lot
    of cruel things that really hurt me.
    I know he is sorry and didn’t mean the things he said,
    because he sent me flowers today.
    I got flowers today.
    It wasn’t our anniversary or any other special day.

    Last night he threw me into a wall and started to
    choke me. It seemed like a nightmare, I couldn’t
    believe it was real.
    I woke up this morning sore and bruised all over.
    I know he must be sorry cause he sent me flowers
    I got flowers today, and it wasn’t mother’s day or any
    other special day.

    Last night, he beat me up again, it was much worse
    than all the other times.
    If I leave him, what will I do? How will I take care of my
    kids? What about money?
    But I know he must be sorry because he sent me
    flowers today.

    I got flowers today. Today was a very special day.
    It was the day of my funeral!
    Last night, he finally killed me. He beat me to death.
    If only I had gathered enough courage to leave him, I
    would not have gotten flowers today….


    • Oh my god,,,,I’m speechless. I’m just so so sorry for your loss. And for her life being cut short. I’m going on Kerri Anne to discuss a piece on domestic violence that I wrote for the Sunday Telegraph in Sydney. I have been feeling a little like I don’t have the energy for it, as I’ve started being very sad again about this time of my life…I guess having to re=live it again. After reading your email, I feel very very sure that I am lucky to be able to share my story, and hope so much it may prevent another story like yours…. This poem is incredible. xxxxx

  15. ‘Grieving Mum’ your story has moved me so much I’m in tears…
    I have lost a child too, but it was an accident and I have forgiven the person that killed her, he has to live with it too. She was hit by a car, that nearly destroyed me, but if someone had taken away my precious girl in the way that yours was… I just don’t know how I could cope with that anger!
    I was in a DV relationship too, my ex didn’t drink much, or take drugs. His excuse was always that I provoked him. If I didn’t agree with his point of view over the most minor issues he would lose it. Anything could set him off, I walked on egg shells. He was actually diagnosed as a sociopath (they cannot identify with other people’s feelings). There are different levels of this mental illness and people who bully and abuse anyone must be sociopathic to some degree. I have done my research and almost always it is because they were belittled and bullied in childhood and this is their way of regaining their power and feeling better about themselves.
    It is all about control. These men have issues, not all men that drink or take drugs are violent, that is not the cause.
    It has been 18 years since the end of my relationship and I have haven’t been in one since. The emotional scars have remained. I don’t hate men, they just scare the crap out of me.
    I really want to get it out there that women’s shelters are a haven for women and their children. They can help you start a new life, put you on to the appropriate government agencies to get financial assistance and even help with creating a new identity.
    Lots of love to you all X

  16. Oh, Grieving Mum, my heart breaks for you.

    If it’s any comfort at all to you, those of us who somehow managed to break free from an abusive relationship are teaching our daughters (and sons!) that it’s unacceptable. You simply don’t physically abuse the people you claim to love.

    Hopefully the next generation will be better at controlling their temper, and understanding that the responsibility for their actions lies solely with them.

    Your daughter is now something like a patron saint of abused women. None of us here will forget her, anonymous though she may be.

  17. That’s fantastic and very generous Amber! I’ve submitted info via ‘contact’ link but not sure how else to email you (not that IT savvy), hopefully my details will reach you…. cheers.

  18. You are incredibly strong to go public with your experience Amber. There needs to be more women like you. There are always reasons women stay, but then leaving is also problematic. This often means the violence escalates. I know this because I experienced this and unfortunately the justice system failed me after he breached a restraining order. Now finally he’s looking at a long prison sentence.
    There is no excuse for violent behaviour. It is cruel and malicious regardless of any circumstances.

    • Thanks Kate! Yes it’s just a completely terrible system and a very difficult thing for a woman to admit they’re in and then get out of People are so quick to judge and they really only see that it seems ludicrious that anyone would stay after even one raising of the hand, but there are so many layers to this issue. It’s just a sad, lonely place for the person living with an abuser. And to be honest, in some circumstances I feel for the abuser too because so often they are just an unfortunate product of abusive parents. It’s shown that a high number of people that come from abusive families go on to create their own abusive famiiies so they really got off to a bad start themselves. It is no excuse…..but it happens. I wish people would have more empathy for people who admit they’re living with the abuse, or have done rather than judge them. I’m glad to hear your partner is now in prison. If he was bad enough to not get help or know what he was doing was wrong, then a long prison term will hopefully give him time to reflect. A locked prison cell is certainly a good indication that society is saying NO MORE. Thank you for writing.x

  19. Exactly, it’s a vicious cycle, but when they show absolutely no remorse for what they have done they are not capable of changing at that point.
    The system is super rotten. My first attempt at making a police report, I was spoken to disgustingly by female detectives who worked in the sexual assault sector of this particular police station. I was 18 and I was judged and in fact not believed because I was so hesitant. I walked away without making a proper report and being told I had wasted their time. I waited an additional 6 months before I tried again at a different station. I found the police to be more supportive and gave me all the information I needed and helped me get a restraining order. Then the order failed me as he served time in prison but instantly came after me upon his release. It took until only a month ago for this to end 3 and a half years after we broke up and I’m currently awaiting trial and I’m terrified about it!
    Anyway, point is, how are we supposed to seek help if the very system we need to rely on judges and fails us?

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