A mother’s anguish

She sees her son’s face, it’s not a face she recognises, almost that of a stranger. It’s not the young boy that she cradled in her arms, the son she dropped off at school on his first day or the little boy who she taught to tie his shoelaces. Those were the happy moments.

This is a different moment. She doesn’t recognize him at all, he’s out of control, he’s tearing up the house and smashing all her belongings, his pupils are enlarged, he’s in a rage and he’s looking at her with hatred in his eyes. He doesn’t hurt her, but the threat is imminent and what she is about to see will leave an emotional scar for a very long time.

This is the level of violence experienced by a mother whose son is in an ‘ice’ rage. It could be anyone. It could be a wife, a sister, a friend, anyone who loves and cares for someone addicted to ice. Crystalline methamphetamine (ice) is a stimulant drug that increases the speed of nerve message travelling between the brain and the body. Ice is highly addictive and can affect people differently. The symptoms are numerous and can range from increased heart rate, rapid breathing, agitation, jaw clenching, rapid mood swings, dilated pupils, excess sweating, intense rage and psychotic symptoms to name a few. It is a drug commonly associated with violence and in the withdrawal phase a person is likely to become anxious and depressed. There are long term physical and mental health complications. It’s changing lives forever.

Some Victims will report the violence and some will not. In fact, in a study of 300 NSW victims of domestic violence, approximately half (51.8%) of victims reported their most recent incident to the police. Victims were found to be more likely to report if an Apprehended Violence Order (AVO) was in place or if there was property damage or if physically injured. Approximately 13.9% of respondents did not report the violence as they were afraid of further violence and 11.8% did not report as they felt embarrassed or ashamed.[1] It’s important that we start talking about our experiences. If you have experienced Domestic Violence or violent behavior related to ice or other similar drugs, talking about it can be the first step to recovery.

[1] Source: Birdsey, E., & Snowball, L., (2013) Reporting Violence to Police: A survey of victims attending domestic violence services. Crime and Justice Statistics Bulletin No. 91). Retrieved from NSW Bureau of Crime Statistics and Research website: Http://bocsar.nsw.gov.au/Documents/BB/bb91.pdf