Two women abused by the same man join our We Care campaign to support women escaping domestic violence
Kim Gentle and Kay Schubach are speaking out about their horrific experiences
Two women who were both abused by convicted Sydney rapist Simon Lowe are coming together to support a campaign that helps women escape domestic violence.
Kay Schubach and Kim Gentle have united for the We Care Pack campaign, an initiative from Anglicare and New Idea, providing emergency survival packs filled with everyday necessities to women in crisis situations.
Statistics confirm one woman is killed every week by a violent partner in Australia. Australian police deal with a domestic violence matter every two minutes. Kim, 45, says Simon began stalking her, abusing her and then threw her beloved dog off a cliff to death.
She tells how he dragged her along the beach by her hair, threw an iron at her and regularly bashed and raped her. 'All I wanted to do was leave, but every time I tried to run, he would find me and do something worse,' Kim says.
The abuse escalated until, on her 31st birthday, he pinned her down and tried to smother her with a pillow in her home on the NSW Central Coast. 'The night he tried to smother me I saw stars and stopped breathing. I knew then if I wanted to live, I had to leave.'
Kim says she was a shadow of her former self when her brother stepped in and drove her to the police station where she courageously pressed assault charges against the man who had made her life a living hell.
Kim's 'soul sister' Kay, who was abused by Simon after Kim, adds that the We Care packs offer a much-needed lifeline. 'When you’re experiencing domestic violence it is natural to feel all alone,' she says. 'The packs provide essential items, but more than that, the packs are gifts of kindness that help you realise you are not alone.'
'Sometimes you think you're fine only to have a trigger badly affect you,' Kay, who lives in Sydney’s eastern suburbs, explains. 'Like hearing someone's angry tone or feeling you're being overly watched at work and reacting defensively. My abuser [Simon] caused me to lose my job and that derailed my career path. Many women change states or countries to escape the memories and the damage done to them. Never judge anyone who has been through abuse.'
Kim and Kay are joined by a long list of local celebrities horrified by this violent epidemic including Sunrise’s Natalie Barr, Weekend Sunrise’s Andrew O’Keefe, Melissa Doyle, Kylie Gillies, WSFM’s Brandan ‘Jonesy’ Jones and Amanda Keller, Georgie Parker, Lynne McGranger and Fiona Falkiner.
We aim to help one woman a day in 2016 – but we need to try and help even more women.