A women said 'He stomped on my head'

A women said 'He stomped on my head'

Posted Date:2020-04-22

She was beaten with electrical cords, had a gun held to her throat and was stabbed in the leg with a knife.

But it was what happened to Sandy Wolfe on a remote property in Western Australia that finally convinced her that she needed to leave the man she once loved or she would lose her life. 

Mark Burt, the father of her three children, tied a rope around her neck, attached the rope to his car and started the engine. 

"He says, 'I want to see you run .... Come on dog - see you run'," says Wolfe. 

For all its horror, the type of violence Wolfe has survived is shockingly common in Australia, one of the world's wealthiest countries. 

Here, one in four women experiences domestic violence from an intimate partner, half a million children witness it and more than 50 women are killed each year as a result of it. 

Rich or poor, city or country, no postcode or social sphere is immune from the menace that is killing women across this country. 

"Violence against women is one of the great shames of Australia," says Prime Minister Malcolm Turnbull, whose government has pledged more than $70m to help tackle the crisis. "It is a national disgrace." 

Decade of violence 

Wolfe came dangerously close on numerous occasions to being included in the toll of women who have died at the hands of their partners.

A decade of violence came to a terrifying climax when she left her husband following the rope incident. 

Having sought sanctuary at a women's refuge in Albany, on the Western Australian coast, she was driving to pick her daughter up from school when Burt tracked her down, pursued her at high speed and ran her off the road, causing her car to roll over.

She survived and Burt was charged with more than 20 offences - 17 for breaching a restraining order and two for intending to do harm, which each carry a maximum jail sentence of 20 years. 

He agreed to a plea bargain, pleading guilty on all counts and was sentenced to five years in prison with parole after three, meaning that he could be free as early as mid-2017.

Wolfe, like many victims, believes the justice system failed her. 

"This is a complete joke. This bloke - he tried to kill me," she told Al Jazeera. 

Anne Moore, the chairwoman of the Women's Council of Domestic and Family Services, says the sentencing did not reflect the severity of Burt's crimes.