I thought I will write about Hannah Clarke in this blog. I haven’t been myself since I heard about what happened last week with poor Hannah and her beautiful three young children. This has really taken me back a few steps.

I was actually in Brisbane, at the time, having treatment, which has been a weekly thing for me lately. But this news really hit home, and I feel like I have lost some of that enthusiasm for recovery and my mojo since. This is making me feel so ill and so sick, if I can say that.

I am trying to keep my mind busy to not think about how this could happen. How could a person do that to his wife and their three young kids that he was meant to love? This is incredible, unbelievable and it is totally uncalled for.

This brings me back to red flags in relationships, we have to learn to recognise them. When they display overly controlling behaviours, are overly suspicious by nature, or are overly critical all the time. These are red flags we need to be aware of.

There are other little red flags as well that I have experienced myself before. For example sending me flowers at work endlessly, and daily, was one. Who would have thought? Deleting contacts from my mobile was another.

I realise you don’t have to be physically hit to be in an abusive relationship. I never got hit until that fateful moment, just like Hannah. My perpetrator never swore in front of me, just like Hannah’s too. It is the sly things behind the scenes that a perpetrator do, the cumulative effects of these can cause a lot of pain.

But everyone should be able to say NO to abusive relationships. Hannah should have been able to say NO. Her perpetrator was meant to be their family’s protector. Yet he did the gutless thing and took his own life after destroying his family’s. And I apologise if I am sounding like I am protecting women because I am, but the statistics do show that it is more men hurting women than the other way around.

It is a fact and as I write, there are nine lives already lost this year due to domestic violence, and obviously, now, an additional three children. This is really disheartening.

We can only keep moving forward and try to help each other as much as we can. We have to look out for each other and ask “Are you okay?” Just ask it endlessly. It is not embarrassing. We have got to protect each other.

You can also dial 1-800-RESPECT for help and share with the police on any little red flags that you noticed. Any little red flag has to be spoken about because a little red flag may and could turn into a big red flag in a short amount of time.

Heading onto seven and a half years since my incident, I’m still getting over the injuries that have been inflicted upon me. Poor Hannah, with what she went through and over 90 percent burns to her body, she survived long enough to reveal what had actually happened. It is a haunting story and we shouldn’t be living in that kind of fear every day. We should be able to send our children down the street to school or shops knowing they will be safe.

Things need to change, and I will have to pick myself up to keep going again. I know I will with your support, and I cannot thank you all enough for that. Sending my love out there to everyone. Let’s stand up, speak out, and work as a team. Let’s stop domestic violence together.