'Pure evil': Mother's devastating journey to safety
WHILE lathering sunscreen on her little boy before a visit to the beach Jessica* learned something that made her finally "lose it".
Her "pure evil" ex- husband, who is now in jail for the second time, molested their toddler-aged son Toby*.
It was the final dagger that ended an eight-year abusive relationship.
"I was already absolutely shattered by the abuse, but then he did that to my little boy," she said with tears welling in her eyes.
"I love my little boy.
"That bastard knew he could really get to me through my boy."
After being forced to leave their home town and fleeing danger for years, Jessica and Toby and their border collie are living in a hotel room in the Gladstone region.
They have relocated to more than 12 different towns, in a constant battle to stay safe from her ex-husband.
Jessica, who suffers from complex post traumatic stress disorder, said when they arrived in Gladstone she thought they could finally settle down.
Sitting on the couch in their small hotel room she said glimpses of some normality in their lives quickly changed when she felt "bullied" out of her rental agreement.
She said the real estate and the landlord refused to fix a broken fridge and door handles and the manhole after it fell from the roof.
"I was settled, I got the house, I did everything I said I would do," she said. They told me it was hard for the owners with the mining downturn, but that's not my problem.
"I couldn't deal with it, I couldn't fight it because I couldn't handle the stress."
Jessica was given two-weeks rent from the Department of Housing to assist their relocation, but she said that is gone now.
They returned to a hotel room in the region, but the shattered mum said she would not give up. In a sign of recovery, Jessica cut ties with her ex-husband in September last year and has not made contact with him since.
Speaking out to help others suffering domestic violence, Jessica said victims should not feel shame in asking for help.
She said she felt "like an idiot" and guilty when she would phone the refuge at her home town for the eighth time.
For seven years she has tried to escape domestic violence, but "hypnotised" by her ex-husband, she kept in contact with him.
QUEENSLAND DOMESTIC VIOLENCE SERVICES
"I left all the time, I went to refuges all the time, I went to Tasmania once to escape him, but he'd manipulate me and contact me and I'd let him come down and visit," she said.
"I was so hypnotised by him ... I've learnt abusive partners do that, they control you and you just don't realise it.
"I think a lot of people don't understand how much of a cancer it is, it affects every part of it, it changes your personality and affects the rest of your life.
"It's absolute torture, it's horrific. I fractured my skull once, he would tie me up, bash me and rape me. He would assault me when I was pregnant with Toby too."
But the abuse was not always physical.
"I remember the day that Toby was born (my husband) disappeared for a week and the police had to go out looking for him," she said. "The first photos of Toby and I, my eyes are just bloodshot and my face was swollen from crying because I was waiting for him."
Now Jessica wants nothing more than for her son to start school next year and to feel safe.
Jessica said she applied for her third Domestic Violence Order against her ex-husband yesterday.
*The Observer changed the names of the woman and her son for their protection.