My journey of hope beyond the hell


After 2 marriages and 2 divorces over about 28 years I have more questions than answers. My faith gets me through each day and the hope I can help others who have felt the betrayal and trauma created by a man you once believed in loved and trusted. To have your children sexually abused by a man you believed in and loved. Who lied, manipulated, betrayed innocence, violated trust on every level is beyond words and comprehension. To experience once is hell but twice…
I had 3 children to my first husband of 20 years. After a series of events in 1997 it was discovered he had indecently abused my niece for many years when in my care. It apparently began when she was only quite young. After this disclosure he did take some responsibility there wasn’t enough evidence to go to court, the Police were involved but no charges were laid, he agreed to get help. I attempted to support him in his endeavors to seek help however this was not beneficial to my own well-being and I had a breakdown suffering mental health and this created further challenges for me. I was fearful for my own children and never slept well and if awoke and he wasn’t in bed I would panic and feel sick. I also lost my connection to my only sibling for a time.
The isolation I lived in trying to protect my own family, support him, and everyone else around me was unrealistic. Telling no one, for fear I would be judged, and by a few who knew was judged and felt less worthy than others. I initially tried to stay and help him, my children were little, I had nothing to support us. I could find no support group or anyone to talk with who could begin to understand how I felt. A few years on I ended my marriage to him. The aftermath affected my own children primarily by its impact on me and his continued inappropriate behaviors around children, attempts for help weren’t that successful, but it was never believed after investigation he abused my/his own children in any way.
I became a single mum with 3 children 12, 8, & 4 I didn’t have regular employment as my first husband worked, and I wanted to be home with my children. 4 years past and while lonely I was involved in a church and supported many other single mums and reached out to hurting families to give support where I saw such a need and lack of in my own journey. I struggled with my self-worth daily but financially managed to pay the bills. My faith and relationship with God was what gave me the strength to get through each day.
A burst pipe in my rental property in 2006 brought a tradesman to my door. This was how I met my second husband. He was charming and pursued me. Nothing was a problem and I became completely infatuated with him. Life had been hard enough, and I thought I deserved to be happy. He was amazing with my children and they quickly grew fond of him he was the Dad they wanted. By 2007 we were married, we moved into a home I could not afford on my own and very quickly I noticed things change. By 2014 I had him removed from my home by the police. In 2016, my eldest daughter disclosed he had sexually abused her for 4 years since 2008 only 12 months after we married. My youngest daughter was also indecently assaulted at various times but was more resistant to his grooming.
After almost 2 years going through the courts it the trial has just ended. We had a criminal trial by jury and on the charges, that were presented he was found guilty on all 14 counts. The sentencing hearing in November 2017 saw him sentenced to 12 years in prison.
There is so much more in between throughout my journey touching on mental health, domestic violence, sexual abuse, and alcoholism.
Today only weeks after it is all over I am just beginning to reflect on it all. I feel like I have been running and feel numb from it all. I was strong to get my girls through the trial, it was the hardest thing I have ever done.
I struggle that I loved him and just wanted to be the best wife to him and mother to my kids and I wasn’t either. We were just this normal family, so I thought, a bit dysfunctional but we had family holidays, he worked fulltime, I worked part time, we were involved in our local church. He charmed everyone and they all loved him. He cheated with other women but the sexual abuse towards my own children took it to another level. A criminal one.
My faith gets me through and I know I have a purpose from all of this. We need a voice. The families and partners of the perpetrators of sex crimes against our children is insidious, the trauma to the trusting and violated non-offending partner is excruciating. For weeks I think life was just a blur and I only half functioned. 6 months on I left a good paying job ironically in child protection after finishing a degree in my later years. It was too hard to deal with each day and to stay focused. Today almost 2 years on I am about to sell the home we shared as I just need to start again. My children are young adults and are amazing individuals and I am grateful this has strengthened each of us. Some days I feel so tired from all of it and the struggle to feel free and move on.
A reporter gave me this website and while my issues are a bit different, not being pornographic material, the trauma and horror experienced I can assume are similar. Trust broken to risk again a second time then a worse violation a second time, as I brought him into my home and gave him to my children to trust him and love him as a Dad. It has understandably strained my relationship with my oldest daughter which continues to cause me so much pain.
My greatest enemies are self-blame, self-pity, lack of self-worth and a failure as a mum and wife are the daily feelings I battle. Isolation and lack of true understanding from anyone around me. The level of manipulation, lying, grooming and betrayal, the trauma experienced, it is horrendous and impossible to even articulate the complex emotions.
I combat my daily enemies with the truth that it wasn’t my fault, I am not to blame, we have done what we could to protect others, I am not a bad person, I am not a failure and I have learnt amazing lessons from the challenges I have faced. Its not what you go through but how you go through it that counts.
With Christmas just gone I felt sad for him for being in prison for 12 years, yet we have a lifetime sentence that can’t be erased. I once loved him and know I feel betrayal, disgust, hate, anger, understanding, forgiveness, compassion, and then it starts again. It is a perpetual cycle. The moment I begin to feel sorry for him and compassion, then anger and hatred, then forgiveness, then I really loved him once, and he made me laugh and we had great times, but it was all just a lie, then why didn’t I see it? and so, it goes… the pain inside some days is overwhelming and it is hard to have a hope in better things to come but my faith is strong.
So, that’s is just a little of my journey. We have gone public with our recent story as it is time the partner’s perspective as well as the victim’s is heard, you are doing the same. I have nothing to be ashamed of neither do my girls. Society somehow makes you feel you should stay silent which helps the isolation and perpetuates the abuse.


Dear ‘hopeforlifebeyond’ you are right about this forum being specifically for online child abuse material (CAM), however here is your post and I feel compelled to respond, for we all here on this forum can relate to every single emotion, impact, pain and fear you have experienced. The ultimate fear of the physical abuse of our (I’m using the royal ‘we’ here) children is what sends us all into trauma and insanity.

That you have survived to this point, is a proof of your great strength and resilience. Bringing your story to the public domain as you mentioned in your post, underscores your determination and courage to break that code of silence which shrouds these heinous acts against children.

As a non offending partner of CAM I stand in solidarity for a world that holds all children safe.
Regards Natasha


Dear Natasha,
Thank you for your response. What you have done here is awesome, I’m sure many women are so grateful. Are you aware of other support group or forum that is specifically for non-offending partners of men who sexually abuse children of the partners, their own or other loved ones? I live in the Central Coast region of NSW close to Sydney and I have not found anything that offers support for the partners, wives or ex-partners of perpetrators. Thoughts ?


Dear Guest, certainly I have a link for you, and enclose it under.
I collected this before you mentioned your location, so you will find when the link opens on the top of the web site is a list of tabs, please
select Support Services and then scroll down to complete your location details and you will find the appropriate service provider that would best suit your situation.

Thank you for understanding that the lived experience of our forum members does not quite fit your requirement. I’m sure Childwise will be of help to you. If for some reason you are not satisfied, please do feel free to come back to this forum and we’ll make more enquiries for you.

All the very best to you and yours, please accept that you have come such a long way already.
With warm regards Natasha


Thanks for that. I had a look at the link and services however dont appear to be specific services for the partners affected by these men. We have had access to VOCC and general sexual assault services and support through the Court but these services in my experience don’t begin to be able to support or engage much for the non-offending partner, what this does to you, and the isolation felt. This is what I am trying to find, but other than this forum which was recommended to me, it appears there is nothing for us.

I have been contacted by both victims and partners and I am trying to find significant resources to refer but their is definitely nothing I can find that is specific for women affected by this to reach out to each other. My children who are now young adults are getting help through similar services.

I am wanting to find a place for women like myself who are so deeply traumatized by having partners of either convicted or alleged crimes of sexual abuse against children (our own or others) to support each other in our experiences and isolation. If you know or come across anything in your work I would appreciate an email or message. My ex used pornography I assumed as the sexual abuse stopped one of my daughters accused him of this but in the aftermath it wasn’t the singular issue that predominated and got lost. I don’'t know which comes first, if their is a connection, and how different the pathology is. I would expect each situation is unique, one may or may not lead onto to the other but they aren’t completely unrelated. You may know more about what statistics show but even I would expect this is hard to determine. Thanks.


Dear hopeforlifebeyond,
My ex husband was found guilty of “hands on offences” toward members of my family and he will also be charged with online activity. I have a lot in common with you, but because this forum is public, I must be careful what I type, as I have recently discovered that I am being followed online wherever possible. I will not go public, because I wish to protect the victims, as is their request…Prison Fellowship have been trying to connect me with other women in our position, but so far the only one I connected with chose to take her husband back home after his time in prison, so we were no longer on the same road. I am in Melbourne and you may private message me. You are not alone!


Thank you so much. Not sure how to privately message as I dont have access to profiles ?


There is a little icon on the right hand side of our posts, with the letters "PM"
I clicked on it and tried to PM you, but wasn’t really sure how to go further.
I am hoping a board member of this forum can explain that feature, so we can feel safe to use it.
Are you able to say what state you are in? If you prefer not to say, I completely respect that.


I live in NSW.


Hello “hopeforlifebeyond” thank you for your reply. I understand now from your post that you are not seeking individual professional support that Childwise would have been able to provide, but prefer to speak to people with similar lived experience.

I’ve taken the issue up with our newly appointed Peer Support Co-ordinator for our steps forward here and anticipate mutually beneficial ways forward.
We’ll be in touch as soon as possible.

Yours in solidarity Natasha


Hi Hopeforlifebeyond,

I’m so sorry for the recurring trauma to you and your children.

As Natasha has said, although most of here have experience in our partner (or ex-partner) offending online, it is not uncommon for someone to offend both online and off-line so we do have members affected by both experiences. You are welcome to be a part of this community as much as it is helpful for you.

There is little available in terms of peers supporting one another through any type of shared experience like this and I have looked many times for a service to support mothers who have children who have been abused by a partner. It is heart-breaking and infuriating how little support there is for the non-offending parents and family members left behind to try and bring children and ourselves out of the aftermath.

As I say, you are welcome here as much as you find you feel connected with our experiences and I’m sure you have already found that our members are empathetic and compassionate though your experience may be different. You may also like to try contacting the Rape Crisis Service in NSW and ask if there is any support available for a mother of children who have been abused. You can call on 1800 424 017 and also if you click on the button near the top of their webpage which says, “Online Connect to a Counsellor” you can speak to someone online. I am not 100% sure they will have something for you (I hope so!!) but it is the best starting point. I am sorry it is so difficult to find support on top of everything else.

Kindest regards,


Thanks Natasha, you do appear to be gaining posts from others in similar situations. I am seeking to offer help and support as well as appreciate speaking to others who have experienced similar. The post above was wanting to message privately and I too have looked and unsure how that works. Please call or email me privately to discuss your concerns.


Hello again, and thank you all for responding to the original post. Look I’m still in the process of making enquiries with the IT guru’s about the PM as well as organizations in NSW and Victoria for groups for spouses/partners seeking connection with women of similar lived experience. I’ll get back with more soon. Regards Natasha


Dear Journeyofhopebeyondthehell, Just letting you know I haven’t forgotten about your desire to communicate with women with same lived experience as you. I’m following up on 2 lines of enquiry, to see if there are names of such groups available nationally, and also the technical aspect of using the PM icon. Both are alluding me right now, but I’m like a tenacious puppy dog and not giving up. I do appreciate your ambitions in this and certainly our steps will take us closer along the path we both are on. Please be patient for I do know that your ultimate goal can be reached.

I hope you are enjoying the beauty in life. With warm regards Natasha


Thank you for your responses, and yes it is amazing to me as to how many loved ones are affected by child sexual abuse yet where do we all go? I am also open to begin something but unsure as to what that could look like and appreciate your thoughts. Perhaps through email privately. See a need and fill a need. When you began this forum you saw a need and did something about it. I too feel their is a need. After we went public with the most recent part of our story I spoke to a few women who contacted me who were struggling with no one to speak with or understand the complex feelings this brings. I am currently selling my home and planning some overseas travel. I may not be responsive regularly but will keep checking for any updates. Warm regards


Dear Guest,
I am pleased to read that you are planning some o/s travel. As soon as I am able, I would love to do some sort of trip, to regain some perspective, that my life and what I am able to do, is so much more than the end of my marriage of 31 years.
I started a new and very different job only 5 weeks before my husband was arrested in March 2016. I used ALL my will power and focus to hold onto my job (in the eastern suburbs of Melbourne, where I live) and looking back on the private hell that was going on, I am so proud of myself that I am about to mark 2 years there and am well liked! My employer even happened to meet Natalie at her Government award night and he was extremely moved by her speech and her dedication to create awareness for the shock, trauma and suffering of the non offending partner and their family
I am also passionate to help (through lived experience) other women and I wish you much healing and joy as you “Bloom, where you are planted.”


Dear HopeforLifeBeyond and Guest, I’m pleased to be getting back to you with results of my investigations for groups for women who have contact lived experience as opposed to online child abuse. Unfortunately my search was unsuccessful under that banner. However, I several recommendations came forward from a reliable source. Please see below. Theyare indirect but on having a look at them myself I feel they are worth you visiting.

Hetty Johnston founded ‘Bravehearts’ Under the tab Executive Research, Advisory Panel there is mention of offender partners and families. They also have a ‘Contact Us’ function that would be easy to use for making your enquiries.

Daniel Morcombe Foundation - inspiring methods of bringing awareness to the safety of children.

On exploring these 2 sites, as mentioned not directly what you have been looking for, but I was really inspired by what both sites were offering. They are both working towards ‘save our children’ and using creative methods of doing that.

With regard to our forum ‘private message’ function, I’ve been told that within the next 2 weeks our forum is being revised by our IT guru. The private message function especially. What’s more I’ll be getting a hands-on training on the new forum so I can easily explain to you all it’s functions.

We all on this forum have had big lessons on patience. And I thank you for yours in this matter.
As mentioned by Natalie, I think you have found a home here and we welcome your contributions.
Warm regards Natasha