About the book
Point of Rescue… remembrance… mourning: recovering from intimate partner abuse is an intensely personal work continuing the journey of Point Last Seen… a road to recovery after childhood sexual abuse and domestic violence. This second book chronicles Ricky’s life from the time she kidnapped her own son and took flight to a new life away from abuse and torture.
Rarely do we hear the stories of women who have stepped back from the abyss and are safe after escaping an abusive husband. Rarely do we realise the tortuous road they are faced with: long-term health outcomes, mental illness and post traumatic stress disorder.
Leaving the abusive situation is just the beginning for Ricky as she assumes a new identity for fear of being found and killed, or her son abducted back to New Zealand.
Within weeks of arriving in Australia Ricky receives the crushing news that her son Jonty had suffered brain damage as a result of his birth history and being shaken at six months of age; this condemned him to on-going health problems including intellectual disability, epilepsy, autism and reactive schizophrenia. Ricky has her own battle life with mental illness as she struggles to build her new life, process the aftermath of trauma, and hold down a fulltime job.
Ricky finds a therapist who sets her thinking about a road to recovery, and takes up the challenge. This therapeutic journey covers years of complicated counselling. Using her own experience with Intimate Partner Abuse Ricky empowers herself by presenting workshops to health professionals. 100 workshops later and she is still going! A staunch advocate for the RSPCA Pets in Crisis Program, Ricky now talks with school students about healthy relationships and dating abuse and link between pet abuse and domestic violence.
Ricky lives in Brisbane, Australia.
Five-year-old Ricky was abducted by a paedophile one sunny afternoon in 1953. She escaped to tell her story of terror, powerlessness, early sexualisation, but little Ricky’s deep psychological needs were not recognised.
I carried little Ricky’s secret, corrosive shame through my formative years and into adolescence. I tried to ‘be good’ to compensate. In my early twenties I married the man of her dreams, with my parents’ blessing.
Hoping to live a good normal life, I found myself in a private prison, continually abused and tortured by a tyrant. My ‘knight in shining armour’ was an abuser who recognised the invisible VICTIM tattoo on my forehead.
When I was blessed with our son, my torturer gained another target: another instrument to use on me. For six years I told no-one, not even my family. Who would believe this was happening to me? It must be my fault - and this additional shame was excruciating.
Jean Paul Sartre describes illegitimate shame as a haemorrhage of the soul. It is toxic, corrosive and poisonous. My story is not unique, for this is the story of all women who find themselves in domestic violence situations. In 2006 one-in-three women globally were in this horrendous position. Not only are they imprisoned by their perpetrator - and in their own minds - they go to extraordinary lengths to survive, hoping for often-promised better times.
In my first book Point Last Seen I shared little Ricky’s story and told how, in desperation, I kidnapped my son Jonty and fled to another country, a new life, a new identity. I didn’t realise my personal demons went with me and little Ricky was still craving to be validated and nurtured.
My husband followed and stalked me until I was awarded sole custody of Jonty and our divorce became final.
I was shattered to discover that Jonty had suffered brain damage and would need care for the rest of his life due to multiple disabilities. My life was compressed into the struggle to hold down a full-time job to pay for Jonty’s medical needs while battling with my severe depression and Post Traumatic Stress Disorder: somehow I managed to meet all the needs of my precious boy as he grew, but my needs had to be locked away.
Decades went by. One day in 2003 I decided to seek therapy for my PTSD: it was time to come out of denial and face my past abuse issues head-on. In Point Last Seen I detailed how the Project Plan to Empowerment evolved; how I made the significant journey into my New Zealand past and faced my demons. I became aware of Little Ricky and accepted the painful memories we shared. I am still shackled by long-term health issues that often affect victims who suffer abuse, e.g. Fibromyalgia, Chronic Fatigue, and other auto-immune diseases.
Point of Rescue follows my journey through years of complicated therapy. While dealing with my own grief and health problems I have conducted workshops, based on my Project Plan to Empowerment, all over Australia and New Zealand; I want other women to know that they can find the courage to step out of denial, choosing to feel alive instead of enduring a life of numbness, by facing the truth of their abuse head-on and facing the demons in their heads.
We can find supportive therapies and ‘skill’ ourselves in techniques of self- empowerment by education, information and advocacy. We can move past our emotional scars and start to feel again: and live life to our fullest potential.
This fight takes enormous courage but we can look deep inside ourselves for that inner conviction and self-supportive techniques to make it happen. This book will help you understand why it is that women may decide not to leave; it can literally be a matter of life and death whether they stay or go. Sometimes one chooses to stay to protect their pets because the perpetrator threatens to kill them.
If I can touch one person’s heart and move one person to fight their battles against powerlessness and helplessness, then my job has been done.
On your journey through this path to empowerment I wish you success, I wish you courage, but most of all I wish you peace.
Ricky Hunter 2012