Caroline never gave up the fight against violence

NO LONGER SILENT: Caroline Pascoe continues to live in fear but has decided to speak up. PICTURE: LACHLAN BENCE
Nanjing Night Net

WHEN Caroline Pascoe met David Farquhar through a mutual friend, she thought he was genuine, kind and humorous.

“I thought I’d met someone charming and lovely,” Ms Pascoe said.

Now, she lives in fear she will one day open her front door and have a gun pointed in her face.

She also knows by speaking out against her attacker she will be his “number one target” again.

After all, Mr Farquhar has already been convicted twice of assault, against Ms Pascoe and a former partner.

Both times, he has received suspended sentences.

So Ms Pascoe is telling her story to push for court and legal system reforms to better care for domestic violence victims.

“Society and the legal system say you have to speak up and have a voice, but you need to be supported when you do speak up,” she said.

“Women are already filled with fear. They should not have to stay in the same room as their attacker to get an intervention order.

“I don’t want any other woman to go through what I went through. I may have laid down for a little while, but I never gave up the fight.

“I don’t want him doing this again.”

Ms Pascoe’s story began in late 2013 when she struck up a relationship with Mr Farquhar, unaware of his domestic violence history.

But only a few weeks later, he began verbally abusing her.

“He stripped myself away from me. I felt stupid and worthless,” she said.

“I started hiding it from family and friends. I didn’t want to upset him. I watched everything I said, but no matter what I said it was wrong.

“I found out later everyone could see I had changed. I went from my bubbly usual self to being dead silent. He totally ruined what I was.”

On January 1, 2014, the by now constant verbal abuse escalated into physical violence where Ms Pascoe was twice kicked in the stomach, knocking her to the ground.

“He said he was sorry and that he didn’t want me to leave,” she said.

“He convinced me it was nothing, but it wasn’t OK. I didn’t go to the police because I was too scared. He said if I did he’d bury me.”

But two weeks later, Ms Pascoe was forced to visit her doctor with constant stomach pains.

At this point, she decided to leave and reported Mr Farquhar to police.

“He started stalking me, sending me 200 text messages a day. It was just constant.

“He would park outside my friend’s house, telling me to come out, but I knew by then he had a history.”

Mr Farquhar also approached Ms Pascoe’s parents, begging them to convince her to drop the charges.

“He came and saw my dad and said, ‘I’ll end up in jail if she goes ahead with it’.”

On February 4, 2014, Ms Pascoe applied for a temporary restraining order, but Mr Farquhar fought it and claimed she was making up the allegations.

The temporary AVO was still issued.

He fought two other attempts to extend the AVO and even put in a counterclaim that he was in fear of his life from Ms Pascoe.

On a third occasion, he failed to show and a permanent AVO was granted.

However, Ms Pascoe was still in so much fear that she fled Ballarat for Bendigo. “I was so scared, I couldn’t stop shaking. I just wanted him not to come near me,”she said.

In early September, 2014, Ms Pascoe returned and insisted Mr Farquhar be charged over her assault.

“It took me breaking down and revealing what I was like 24/7 for them to do something about it.”

Twice, Mr Farquhar had his hearing in Ballarat Magistrates Court adjourned. “I’d fought so hard but each time I had to wait there like an idiot,” she said.

But the third time, he pleaded guilty to unlawful assault and assault by kicking. He received a 14-day jail term, suspended for six months.

“At first I was excited that it was over. But then I realised I’d fought a whole year and I was on medication, I had a nervous breakdown.

“I felt like it was all a bad dream.

“This man came into my life and was like a whirlwind of destruction.”

Ms Pascoe now knows Mr Farquhar’s charming veneer was just a facade.

“He does kickboxing, so he’d spar with you but he’d make sure he hurt you. If we were running together, he’d push me in the back and say, ‘Go faster’.”

Ms Pascoe said if Mr Farquhar had received a tougher sentence for his previous assault, he may not have been able to hurt her.

“Everybody makes a choice in life. But these people constantly try to trick you so you don’t know what’s going on. They pick people who like to help.”

Shortly after the court case, Ms Pascoe decided to write down exactly how she felt:

“The more he hides his violence in your silence, the more he will continue to be violent.

“The most powerful weapon a woman has is her voice. The more she uses her voice to speak out, to scream out, the safer she becomes, the monster is revealed.

“He wants your silence, he grows stronger with your silence.

“He can’t be stopped with the cold dark silence. The terrifying silence.

“I want you to rage against the violence.

“My silence is no more.”

• Ms Pascoe recently had the intervention order extended to 10 years in Ballarat Magistrates Court. Mr Farquhar was con-

tacted for comment on these stories but did not respond.

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