'He tortured my kittens': DV survivor speaks out
WITH a loving partner, joyful son and a job she loves, Bonny Heit has a wonderful life these days.
But sadly, that hasn't always been the case for the acting manager of the South Burnett RSPCA.
In 2007, Ms Heit started a relationship with a charming man who she saw a bright future with but sadly, it quickly turned sour.
Her former partner quickly became controlling and demanded to know Ms Heit's every waking action.
"He would control who I could see, what I could wear and where I was spending money," she said.
"I couldn't make friends."
The relationship turned abusive and Ms Heit felt trapped with no way out.
"One evening I was dressed to go out and he pinned me to the floor thinking I was cheating on him.
"There were always cracks in the walls and holes in the doors," she said.
"He had control over whether I could be on birth control, which resulted in two pregnancies, one of which I miscarried."
"After the miscarriage I was so depressed and felt so hopeless for my future that I became suicidal."
The current RSPCA manager, who has always loved animals, said he knew if he harmed her cats it would be devastating for her.
"He would torture my cat and kittens and then send me a message," she said.
"He knew I cared about them so he knew he could get maximum effect."
Listen to the podcast with Bonny Heit where she explains her domestic violent relationship here:
Ms Heit would make excuses for her former partner's behaviour and the constant mental abuse.
"I would really celebrate the good times and talk about the wonderful person he was," she said.
"But I was just in that denial stage, I didn't want to admit I was in that situation."
After a while, Ms Heit recognised she was involved in a toxic situation and she began to makes steps to get out.
"There would always be lots of empty promises," she said.
"He would say I love you and I would do anything for you," she said.
"But very quickly things would go back to normal.
"Back to more controlling and abuse."
It wasn't until she was three months' pregnant that Ms Heit decided she had had enough.
"It took a lot of courage and purpose to get out of that cycle," she said.
"I had moved out numerous times before that but I always came back."
She knew she needed a plan otherwise she would go back to what she was comfortable with.
"I needed to not just get away from him but to have a completely new direction forward," she said.
"A friend of mine had a room to rent so I took advantage of that."
However, once Ms Heit's now eight-year-old son Oliver was born, the former partner threatened to take him.
"I very much feared for my life and Oliver's life," she said.
Ms Heit took advantage of her parents' move to Kingaroy and moved in with them.
"I showed him that I could live without him."
Regular visits were organised for Oliver to see his father, but Ms Heit said he would rarely show up on time or at all.
"We had a verbal agreement that he would have Oliver from 8.30am to 5pm, sometimes he would show up at 4.55pm and demand to see Oliver," she said.
"I always said he was reliably unreliable."
"It got to a point where he stopped showing up at all and we have never seen him since."
In response to the recent headlines that six women have been murdered in the last seven days from domestic violence situations, Ms Heit said it was not a shock.
"Those numbers do not surprise me at all," she said.
"I think there is a similar connection with the amount of male suicides."
These days Ms Heit is in a completely new place.
She is in a healthy long-term relationship and with her eight-year-old son is proud of the family unit they have created together.
Ms Heit encouraged anyone else in a similar situation to seek help sooner rather than later.
"Get solid legal advice, if you don't feel comfortable with the advice you are getting go somewhere else," she said.
"It was important I had the correct legal information.
"The more information I armed myself with, the less he could do to fight back."
Ms Heit reminded parents that children can still have positive male role models if their father isn't in their lives.
"There is always grandparents, uncles or cousins," she said.
"I almost went back to Oliver's dad because I wanted my son to know his father."
"Don't fall in to the trap of staying."
QUEENSLAND DOMESTIC VIOLENCE SERVICES