News

DV victim speaks out: raped, tortured and battered

INSPIRATION: Lani Brennan has experienced hell, but come out on top. She shared her story at the Grafton Domestic and Family Violence Committee’s annual forum.
INSPIRATION: Lani Brennan has experienced hell, but come out on top. She shared her story at the Grafton Domestic and Family Violence Committee’s annual forum. Adam Hourigan

LANI Brennan can still hear her dad's Commodore come flying up the main drag.

"He went up the gutter and nearly went straight into the police shop and he jumped out tearing.

"He saw the state that I was in. He and my ex had words and then my father dragged me to the police station of all places.

"For my father to drag me to the police station that was a huge move, because he didn't trust them."

That day in 2000 marked Lani Brennan's final escape from an abusive, violent relationship which saw her raped, tortured and battered for months on end.

But it wasn't the end of her living hell.

Instead it was the start of a long and hard-fought battle to see her abuser arrested and brought to justice for his crimes.

Speaking at the Grafton Domestic and Family Violence Committee's annual forum on Thursday, Mrs Brennan - now a nationally acclaimed domestic violence campaigner - shared her story of survival.

Raised by an Aboriginal father and Maori mother, she grew up in an Aboriginal community home in Sydney where parties lasted three months and fights between her mother and alcoholic dad were physical.

By the age of 13 she had left the family home and was using drugs and alcohol as a daily escape.

At 18, and in a "very vulnerable" state, she fell into a relationship with an man who was also an addict.

It was about four weeks before he delivered the first slap across her face.

"I used to say at a young age that I'd never let anyone lay a hand on me... but eventually the drugs and alcohol got the better of me emotionally and mentally," she said.

"The violence from that slap escalated very quickly. I always say to women once you get hit once, that's it is going to get worse. And it did."

She was beaten with golf clubs and baseball bats, stabbed and raped.

When she did try to run away, he would track her down with threats to kill her grandmother and brothers.

"As a young girl I didn't know about services, I didn't know where to go for help," she said.

"No-one ever asked me about it."

Once she escaped with the help of her father, using a mobile phone she had stashed the night before, the healing process began and in rehab the fog of Mrs Brennan's addiction began to lift.

It has been a long journey, made more difficult by the court case against her abuser in which she had to relive the entire relationship with minimal support, but she has completely turned her life around.

Now in an attempt to save others from what she has endured, Ms Brennan works to empower all people in similar situations.

She said while there were many more services now than when she needed help, the community itself had to stand up against domestic and family violence.

"It is a huge issue in our country; we are in a total crisis mode right now," she said.

"When you work together it's a lot easier. My motto is a problem shared is a problem halved."

Services

Clarence River Women's Refuge and Outreach Service

24-hour line: 6642 4955

Victims Access Line

Freecall: 1800 633 063

Grafton Community Health

Phone: 6641 8702

Domestic Violence Line

Phone: 1800 656 463

Topics:  domestic violence, editors picks, yourstory




Stay Connected

Update your news preferences and get the latest news delivered to your inbox.

'I apologise every day that I am not the person he married'

My battle with postnatal depression...

'My husband lasted 6 weeks as a stay at home dad'

APN Hey Mummy Feature for online - stock images. Katie Dykes being interviewed for the webisodes. Photo Marc Stapelberg / The Northern Star

FROM the outside, being a stay at home mum looks like a breeze.

THE EXPERT: Stop judging working mothers

SUPER MUMS: Being a working mums comes down to perfecting time management.

"WORKING for money is all right; so is working because you want to.”

Health and nutrition with kids - how do you balance it?

HOW important is health and nutrition in your household?

Smack or no smack - where do you stand?

THE debate is reignited - is smacking acceptable?

Technology and kids: Do you ever cut their wi-fi?

Check out our new video series featuring mums having a chat

Councillors vote down a pay rise, but not without a fight

Councillors Andrew Baker, left and Jason Kingsley disagreed over pay increases for councillors.

Councillors vote to knock back a pay rise for next financial year.

OPINION: Democratic right to get exactly what we deserve

Australian Prime Minister Malcolm Turnbull and Australian Opposition Leader Bill Shorten are nearing the end of one of the longest campaign’s in Australian political history but it’s hardly a memorable one.

Don't blame politicians and media; it's all our own doing

4 myths locals get wrong about the Clarence Valley

The crowd at Market Square on Jacaranda Thursday.Photo Adam Hourigan / The Daily Examiner

So you think you know the Clarence Valley?

Latest deals and offers

Dash Cam of Slip in Snow

Even light snow can be hazardous.

Dash cam shows how easy it is to lose control in even light snow.

Chaos outside Istanbul Airport

Turkish police block the road after an suicide bomb attack at Ataturk Airport in Istanbul, Turkey, 28 June 2016. At least 10 people were killed in two separate explosions that hit Ataturk Airport.

Distress as cars escape Istanbul airport after bombing.

Barnaby Joyce DEX exclusive Pt 14: Hogan's pitch

Kevin Hogan opens Oaks Oval in Lismore.

Kevin Hogan makes his pitch for reelection to the seat of Page

PROPERTY BOOM: Coast prices set to skyrocket

Like other areas in south-east Queensland, the Sunshine Coast is at the start of the upturn on the property clock.

Values predicted to rise 25-33%

DIY: How to build a backyard fire pit

DIY stars and Weekend magazine columnists Ayden and Jess Hogan.

Would you build this for your backyard?