Sunday, 14 August 2016

Launch of Dangerous Liaisons

On Thursday night, I had the privilege of speaking at the launch of Marina Bakker's new book Dangerous Liaisons. The launch was at Mary Ryan's bookshop in Brisbane. The book is a great how to guide about how to avoid falling into relationships with sociopaths and psychopaths, who are often very difficult to pick. And once in a relationship with one, it can be very hard to get out.

Before I spoke, Marina was interviewed by fellow family lawyer, and founder of Our Children Australia Lorrie Brook (l).

When I spoke, I praised the book, including its key message: prevention is better than cure. I spoke about how I had fought domestic violence for over 30 years, and I gave a story of hope. Many years ago I acted for a client who had to be rescued from her farmhouse by police. If they had not acted, it is likely that she would have been killed by her husband.

Some months after she had escaped, in the midst of a bitter Family Court fight, I happened to call my client to see how she was doing. I had expected her to tell me that life was awful. After she split up, she fell on financial hard times- living in outer suburbs, with few qualifications, no car, little public transport, shunned by her church for leaving her husband and in an ugly, ugly court case.

Instead my client told me that life was grand. "I'm free!" She was not looking at death every day. My client had managed to get a job, was able to go to sleep at night, had joined a new church, had new friends. Her mystery kidney disease, attributed by doctors to stress, had gone away. And she had a new interest. My client, who was about 60, had taken up of all things waterskiing! I would never have guessed, and would have never have known, except I asked.

The point is that life goes on after a relationship ends. Life happens only once. Every day is precious. No longer held back by the fear of violence, my client was able to thrive and captured the beauty of life every day. Her story reflected one of the key messages of Dangerous Liaisons- we have to be careful who we form relationships with - as these emotional vampires can suck our life force out of us.

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