Melissa Wiringi recognised the low point she had reached as she cowered in the bathroom with her meth-addled partner banging on the door just minutes after he had thrown an axe at her. She was seven months pregnant.
‘It was like a small light switched on,’ Ms Wiringi, 32, told Daily Mail Australia. ‘That day was the first time I called the police.’
It was the turning point for Ms Wiringi after two years of anguish and physical and mental abuse throughout her three year relationship.
New South Wales woman Melissa Wiringi (pictured) has described the torment she endured at the hands of her abusive former partner as she struggled to escape their violent relationship
‘This photo is me at my lowest. My smile hides the truth of what I was experiencing’ – Melissa Wiringi pictured days two days before she decided she would take her own life
It was the moment she realised the man she loved had fallen into the grip of drugs, and it was taking over their relationship.
In the same violent rampage when he used the axe as a weapon he grabbed Ms Wiringi by the neck and threatened to kill her if she took their away their son – who thankfully was visiting his grandmother at the time.
Despite his behaviour, she did not feel she could leave him.
‘I knew things had changed and were far worse than ever before. I knew it was broken,’ she said.
‘I think mentally I was just trying to see it through to my daughter’s birth. Being a solo mum was so low in my eyes I didn’t want to be that person. I didn’t want to have a new baby on my own.’
‘This photo was taken in about September 2009, I was working with a psychologist and learning to strive for goals’
‘As a single mum I could give my kids a life far better than they ever would have had if I had stayed in that relationship’
She hoped that the prospect of losing her, the couple’s son and the newborn would be enough to convince him he needed to change.
‘I believed I could help him. I believed he would change for us when he recognised what he would lose,’ she said.
‘I didn’t have the confidence to say ”this is wrong”. Instead I held onto this image of him being so deeply in love.’
The now-32-year-old has spoken out about the domestic violence she endured at the hands of her ice-addict partner in a bid to help other women through their own battles.
‘My first Christmas as a solo mum. I thought it would be the worst Christmas ever, however my family pulled together and made it the best Christmas of my life’
After months of torment she began to realise that the person she had fallen in love with wasn’t the same anymore but she wanted him to s
ee what her and their children (pictured) could offer him
With hindsight, she can now see that he showed signs of being psychologically abusive early in the relationship but she did not see them then.
‘I didn’t recognise them, I was so infatuated, I was completely taken by him, so in love. I didn’t have enough self love to recognise the relationship was unhealthy from the beginning.’
He did things like pull up the handbrake while the couple were driving and one day kicked in the passenger door of their car.
‘He was very affectionate and possessive, but was also very hot and cold. He could always have a good argument. He was a fragile human,’ she said.
Playing with her emotions, her partner told her he could do better than her and constantly belittled her and berated her.
She battled on before leaving her former partner after three years of abuse with their two children
‘He told me I was lucky he was staying, that no one else would put up with my ‘crap’. He told me I was useless. He told me I couldn’t look after one child, and he asked me how I would cope with two children.
‘The mental games really hit me. Earlier in the relationship I had a stronger mind, I wouldn’t let it affect me when he said anything negative.
‘By the end the words were like knives, cutting me to the core. I couldn’t believe the man I loved more than anything, the father of my children, could speak to me that way.’
She says it was two years into their relationship – when she became pregnant with their second child after her IUD failed – that his behaviour significantly changed.
Something in his demeanor when she became pregnant with their second child after her IUD failed.
‘He just went off the rails. He wasn’t really ready for a second child, he expressed this to me, but there was no way I’d terminate.’
The mother-of-three says the toxic environment took an effect of her self-belief and self-worth (pictured with two of her children)
Mrs Wiringi’s ice-addict partner mentally and physically abused her for more than two years
Her partner’s drug abuse began to spiral out of control. She put the pressure on for him to get a job but he would always take off.
‘We argued often. It was screaming matches because I knew what was going on but he’d deny it.’
His aggressiveness and mental abuse began to worsen throughout the pregnancy.
She began hunting for evidence of his drug use.
‘Once I returned and found a broken light bulb stashed at the back of a drawer in the coffee table.
‘We spent most of our time on the beach or playground as I got used to life on my own’
‘Another time I returned to a broken light bulb on the ground outside. Just below the steps that led to my front door.’
‘I spent nights spying to see if I could catch him with a pipe, but I couldn’t. My instincts knew what he was up to, but I refused to listen to that voice.’
The physical aspects began to worsen. He shoved her across the room when she was just two weeks away from her due date to give birth.
Just days before she was expected to give birth she contemplated suicide.
‘I didn’t know how I would cope once she was born. He had convinced me I was a terrible mother.
She once hoped that the prospect of her former partner losing her, their son and the newborn would be enough to convince him he needed to change but it wasn’t enough
‘I remember grabbing the rope from my bathrobe and wrapping it around my neck, I walked to the wardrobe planning to t
ry and hang myself there.’
An image of her standing holding her son seven days after giving birth to her second child strikes a tender chord.
‘That photo is me at my lowest. My smile hides the truth of what I was experiencing.
‘It was within days of this I wanted to die. I didn’t know how I could get out of the situation I was in.
‘I felt stuck, alone and miserable. I felt like I had made such a mess of my life at that time. I felt like I had failed.
‘The final straw was returning home and my son noticed something between the couch cushions. I moved out pretty well straight after that.
Her children have travelled back semi frequently to New Zealand so they can see their father if he’s not in prison – which she says has happened a couple of times
Mrs Wiringi met her now-husband in high school, and after staying in touch finally got together in 2010 – after her abusive relationship broke down and had finished
‘When I looked down, I saw a pipe hidden there. I’d finally caught him.
‘When most people hear ”domestic violence” they think exactly that – bruises, bashed up, missing teeth.
‘Their mental perception is all the physical stuff. Mine was largely psychological. Apart from pushing, shoving and the odd neck grab.
‘However, the psychological damage was enormous.
After leaving she had to rebuild herself because she felt like a ‘dead man walking.’
Mrs Wiringi has since married her now-husband Rimaha, and has a third child with him.
‘The trip came about because Rimaha wanted to run with the bulls in Pamplona – he did and this is a pic shortly after he finished’
She now wants to inspire women going through struggles of their own to feel like there is hope
Her former partner is now in jail on charges unrelated to his domestic abuse of Mrs Wiringi.
The children are eight and 10 and have little contact with their father.
She wants other women going through horrific experiences to share their stories and ask for help.
Mrs Wiringi has penned her emotions in a book.
‘I know so many women are hiding and embarrassed. This is the reality of the world we live in today,’ she writes.
‘The more we share our stories, the more we free ourselves from the past.
‘My book takes readers on a journey through my darkest times and shows how I’ve changed everything to create the life of my dreams.
It shows how I transformed my shattered dreams into a happy and inspirational story.
‘I want to inspire women who are feeling low confidence, depressed, anxiety, PTSD – all these low emotions, I want them to feel like there is hope.’