Independence Day

Story By: Kristen Kristen

They tried to stop Kristen from becoming her own person, but she stayed true to her convictions.

Girl leaving the house with recycling box
I'd finally had enough… I was ready to stand up for myself…

My name is Kristen, and I'm almost 18 years of age now, but this story starts back when I was only 14.

My mother was going through a break-up after 10 years of being with my step-dad and, being the eldest child, I understood and absorbed all the family tension. Over time, I formed depression as a result of all the fighting and having things taken out on me. It got so bad that, for a while, I started to self-harm as a release of all the stress and anger I was feeling. I then decided to move to my dad's, in a totally different town, thinking I could make a new start with new friends and family. Boy, was I only half right!

A year after moving in with my father, he and my step-mother became very abusive towards me; constantly swearing at me, and calling me horrid names. They used to make me do everything for them, and I began failing at school because they forced me to do housework instead of the homework and assignments I had to do. I'd finally had enough… I was ready to stand up for myself.

I also had a boyfriend at this stage (well, I still do). We started dating only two weeks after we met, but at the point of writing this, we've been together for 3 years. My father absolutely loathed my boyfriend, because he was my only escape from my 'family life'. My father used to mock my boyfriend in front of me and call him names. I'd finally had enough though; I was ready to stand up for myself and decided I wasn't scared of him anymore.

Taking action

With the aid of a police escort, I went 'home' to my father's house to collect my belongings and move out to my grandparent's house (my mum's parents). Eventually my boyfriend's mum offered to have me live with her, my boyfriend and his siblings. I accepted, but soon after moving in, my boyfriend's mum decided to leave town, so we were left to find a new place to live.

We moved out of her house into a small flat very close to my school and a week after I turned 17. We have been living here for over 6 months now and are happy to have a stable place to live.

Despite what everyone thought, I have done very, very well for myself and am now happier than ever. I'm currently in the process of completing my HSC at school and I also have a job working casually for McDonalds. I'm really proud of everything I have achieved, despite the difficulties I have faced so far. It's been tough but I'm now happy with my independence :)

Last reviewed: 16 February, 2014
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