I have been writing fiction since I was six and found an affinity with writing about social justice issues in my teens. Crazy Bitch is my first novel. Because life intervened… My work and studies in social work and domestic violence and mothering two sons absorbed me.
But this issue inspired me! Domestic violence affects one in three women. The murders documented in fictionalised newspaper accounts in my novel actually occurred. The cost of domestic violence to the nation’s economy has been estimated at between $8 billion and 13 billion annually.
In my work as a domestic violence court advocate I saw, first-hand, how a system that ostensibly proclaims that domestic violence is an abuse of human rights also excuses perpetrators of violence. Our culture perpetuates myths that make it hard for women to leave. We still live in a sexist society that helps domestic violence thrive.
So, I decided to crawl into a perpetrator’s head. Each time Pete utters an excuse for abusing his partner, I drew on excuses I had heard in the real world… excuses that had been accepted. The point is to demystify what is going on when a man tells a woman he loves her and then calls her a ‘bitch’ or assaults her physically, sexually and/or emotionally. If we can understand the deliberateness and stop making excuses, then we can perhaps move towards being a society that really does say no to violence against women.
The result is not for the faint-hearted. I called my first draft, ‘Not a light read’, because it’s hard work to read about the brutality one in three women experience every day. But it must be much tougher to live it (or die because of it, as too many women and children do) and that obliges us, as a community, to support those women, experiencing domestic violence to make sense of their experiences and move on. I hope this novel will help victims and crusaders alike.