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Torn Apart - a Poem About Domestic Abuse

John is a long-time poet, short fiction, and article writer. He loves story-telling and also has a Certificate in Permaculture Design.

Domestic Violence - Some Australian Statistics

Statistics surrounding domestic violence and non-physical abuse bring to light how prevalent violence against women is. Key findings in an Australian study show how violence against women impacts the home, workplace and wider community. Below are some important statistics.

  • One in three women has experienced physical and/or sexual violence perpetrated by someone known to them
  • One in five women over 18 have been stalked during their lifetime
  • Over twelve months, on average, one woman is killed every week by a current or former partner
  • Domestic and family violence is the principal cause of homelessness for women and their children
  • In Australia, one in four children are exposed to domestic violence
  • Approximately two in every five assaults reported to the police are family or domestic violence related.
  • Women between 18 and 35 are more likely to experience violence than women overall
  • Intimate partner violence is the leading contributor to death, disability and ill-health in Australian women aged 15 to 44.
  • Exposure to domestic violence is a recognised form of child abuse
  • Childhood exposure to intimate partner violence increases a child's risk of developing mental health, behavioural, and learning difficulties
  • Violence against women is estimated to cost the Australian economy $2.7 billion per year (reference: White Ribbon Australia)
Happy Family

Happy Family

Torn Apart

Happy family

Perfect couple

Friendly neighbours

Polite children

What you see

Is all for show

Behind closed doors

No joyful glow.


Financial stress

Anger brews

Heated words

Violent abuse

Words of warning,

"Do not tell!

If you do

You'll go to hell!



Cheating ways

Loss of income

Bills to pay.

Alcohol and drugs

No answer.

Makes the hatred

Spread like cancer.


"It's your fault,

You led me on.

Just accusations,

Where's your proof?"

Police investigate

Guilt is found.

Charges laid

Tears abound.

Case is closed

With broken hearts

Another family

Torn apart!

Off the Shelf

By now my regular readers will know the drum and how I select a book from my shelves and use the title to construct a poem (usually with the intention of getting some message across or getting up on my soapbox.)

This time the book I selected is Torn Apart a collaboration between James Patterson and Hal Friedman. It is actually billed as Patterson's first work of non-fiction, however as this is the true story of Hal Friedman's son, Cory, and that he has previously published five works of fiction himself, I will leave it up to the readers to determine how much influence James Patterson actually lends to the writing other than his name. In this case, it may have been a means of Hal Friedman getting his son's story read by as many people as possible, and I don't begrudge him that.

There is a lot of conjecture in regard to famous authors co-authoring books and whether they are just using their name as a marketing tool and hiring other authors to do most of the actual writing.

That said, this is a touching and emotive story and well worth the read.

* I must remind readers that the poem I have written is in no way representative of, or inspired by the book chosen, other than by the title.

Torn Apart by James Patterson and Hal Friedman

Torn Apart by James Patterson and Hal Friedman

Domestic Abuse Help Lines: Australia

  • 1800RESPECT (1800 737 732)
  • Lifeline (13 11 14)
  • Men’s Referral Service (1300 766 491)
  • Kid’s Help Line (1800 551 800)
  • Relationships Australia (1300 364 277)

Questions & Answers

Question: What inspired you to write about domestic abuse?

Answer: I have friends who have been through it. It is something I feel needs to be discussed and dealt with to try and educate people that it is wrong.

Question: What figure of speech was used in your poem, "Torn Apart"?

Answer: There are a few figures of speech within this poem. Hyperbole, simile, understatement, metaphors, cliche to name a few.

© 2018 John Hansen


John Hansen (author) from Gondwana Land on May 12, 2020:

Thanks Carrie Lee. It is a sad subject but unfortunately too common and can’t be ignored.

Carrie Lee Night from Northeast United States on May 12, 2020:

Thank you for sharing John :) A very creative outlet to share the darker of the family structure. Great hub and it was nice to see resources provided :)

John Hansen (author) from Gondwana Land on February 11, 2020:

I don't know Zack, maybe? You tell me, it seems like you are studying poetry.

zack on February 11, 2020:

what kind of poem is this?expository ?

John Hansen (author) from Gondwana Land on January 23, 2020:

Hi Zach. I never really thought about it. Anger, sadness, and frustration I guess.

zack on January 23, 2020:

what is the tone of this poem

John Hansen (author) from Gondwana Land on January 04, 2020:

Thank you so much, Tiyasha. I try my best to treat these sensitive subjects in the best way I can.

Tiyasha Maitra from Gurgaon on January 04, 2020:

Perfect words for such a grave and rampant issue. You have touched a very sensitive subject with soft yet articulate use of words. It's beautiful.

John Hansen (author) from Gondwana Land on November 08, 2019:

Stove, it is also difficult to find statistics on male domestic abuse. Oh and it also mentioned children by the way. I do welcome you to share any statistics you have in comments.

John Hansen (author) from Gondwana Land on November 08, 2019:

Yes they certainly are...if you read my poem “What I Did at the End of the Street” you’ll see I cover that too

Stive Smyth from Philippines on November 08, 2019:

So very sad that your facts and figures section mentions only domestic violence against women. Men are victims of this vile crime also.

John Hansen (author) from Gondwana Land on October 28, 2019:

Thank you Brenda. It is a much too common problem that many Governments wish they could just ignore, but isn’t going away.

BRENDA ARLEDGE from Washington Court House on October 28, 2019:

A powerful message in this one. I love that you included hot lines for people to call.

Great read.

John Hansen (author) from Gondwana Land on September 27, 2019:

Thanks Steve.

Steve Tyson from Byron Bay, Australia on September 27, 2019:

I've read this one several times John, it draws you back in, finding something else in it each time. I read a story in our local rag about a recent case just after I read the poem again. Just so relevant....

John Hansen (author) from Gondwana Land on September 26, 2019:

Thanks Steve. Yes, domestic abuse has always occurred, and unfortunately statistics show it is increasing. However, that maybe because years ago many cases went unreported.

Steve Tyson from Byron Bay, Australia on September 26, 2019:

Powerful stuff John. I posted a story and song about this subject a few days ago. Unfortunately it's been around for a long time, and one would like to think it's happening less in this day and age, but I don't think that's the case....

John Hansen (author) from Gondwana Land on September 26, 2019:

Thank you for sharing about your experiences as eager, ps. It is sad that domestic violence is till so prevalent in our society. Thank you so for your kind words and the angels. I really need them moment.

Patricia Scott from North Central Florida on September 26, 2019:

The succinct direct way the poem is stated brings the message home so clearly. As a teacher for 42 years I was aware of domestic abuse of many kinds and it was heart-wrenching. I reported cases and was called on the testify one time years ago in one such case. I feel very thankful that I was never a victim but my heart aches for those who have been and are even now.

Angels are headed your way ps

John Hansen (author) from Gondwana Land on September 21, 2019:

Hi Steve. Yes it is a tough subject but it needs to be addressed. I look forward to reading your story and song. I have another poem about it too, called “What I Did at the End of the Street.”

Steve Tyson from Byron Bay, Australia on September 20, 2019:

Another tough subject John. I have a story and song about this you've inspired me to post...

John Hansen (author) from Gondwana Land on June 18, 2019:

Thank you Peter, that was my desire in writing this poem, so I am glad I managed to achieve that and make the message clear.

Peter Simonsen from Denmark on June 18, 2019:

Very simple, yet very strong in message, and you really get a strong feeling to run through the reader. Well done

John Hansen (author) from Gondwana Land on November 09, 2018:

Kay, thank you so much for sharing that wonderful poem. I hope many people get to read it. It offers important common sense advice for women suffering abuse or trapped in abusive relationships.

John Hansen (author) from Gondwana Land on October 14, 2018:

I am so sorry to hear that Russell. Yes, you are right the psychological scars can be deeper than the physical ones and often never heal.

Russell William Fry from Southeast Asia on October 13, 2018:

I grew up in a very abusive household. So I know firsthand the harm it can cause, worst of all being the psychological effects. Those scars never go away.

John Hansen (author) from Gondwana Land on October 13, 2018:

I have friends who have suffered from it. I feel it needs to be discussed publically to educate people that it is wrong.

Russell William Fry from Southeast Asia on October 13, 2018:

What inspired you to write about domestic abuse?

PoetikalyAnointed on September 28, 2018:

I'll certainly check it out.

John Hansen (author) from Gondwana Land on September 28, 2018:

Hi PoetikalyAnointed, I am glad you came across this poem too. I know it is a subject close to you. Yes, those statistics are disturbing and probably the most ignored. Thank you for the kind words. You may be interested in another of my hubs on this subject "What I Did at the End of the Street."

PoetikalyAnointed on September 28, 2018:

Hi John,

I'm so glad that I came across this- thank you!

The poem is well-written and captured the heart of Domestic Abuse.

These statics here are what got me:

Exposure to domestic violence is a recognised form of child abuse

Childhood exposure to intimate partner violence increases a child's risk of developing mental health, behavioural, and learning difficulties

Wish certain people in my life understood that! Our kids suffer the most! Certain folks want to separate the abuser's love of the child and their abuse towards the partner/spouse-disgusting! Abuse is abuse- there is NO in that.

Thanks again.

John Hansen (author) from Gondwana Land on September 08, 2018:

Thank you for reading, Larry. I totally agree with your sentiments.

Larry Rankin from Oklahoma on September 08, 2018:

People got to love and respect themselves. Don't put up with people who don't do the same.

Beautifully said.

Dana Tate from LOS ANGELES on September 06, 2018:

I;m sure you're right. After-all, she did shoot him in self-defense because he was so violent. Loved the poem.

John Hansen (author) from Gondwana Land on September 06, 2018:

Thanks, Ann. I wanted to do it without becoming too graphic. Glad you feel it worked. Yes, the "Off the Shelf" series is working well for me so far.

Ann Carr from SW England on September 06, 2018:

You've covered it all with your poetry, John. It's such a terrible thing and surprising how wide-spread and how common behind closed doors. Well-constructed words highlighting this issue which must be tackled head-on, though not literally of course!

Your current inspiration from titles on your shelf is working really well for you. Keep them coming!


John Hansen (author) from Gondwana Land on September 05, 2018:

Dana, thank you for sharing your friend’s tragic story. I think what possibly kept her mother from leaving her father may have been fear. You said he went to jail for killing a man who owed him money, so I think he would have been capable of the same act against a wife who left him. Yes, outward appearances can be deceiving.

Dana Tate from LOS ANGELES on September 05, 2018:

I had a childhood friend who grew up with both her parents. They had a beautiful home and were financially comfortable, I thought they were living the American dream. Then, she revealed to me that her mother had shot and almost killed her father because he was abusive . No charges were filed against her and they stayed together.

Years later the father went to jail for twenty years because he killed a man who owed him some money. My friend started running away from home around the age of fourteen and spent most of her teenage years in shelters for runaway teens and group homes.

As a runaway she has been raped and abused by other guys and eventually she fell victim to drugs and alcohol and started prostituting to support her habit. The last time I ran into her she seemed to be trying to get her life together but she lost time with two precious children she gave birth to and lost custody of. I often wondered what made her mother stay in that marriage. If she thought she was keeping her family together she made a big mistake.

John Hansen (author) from Gondwana Land on September 02, 2018:

Thank you, Mark. Your comment is greatly appreciated.

Mark Tulin from Palm Springs, California on September 02, 2018:

Very important topic and you did it with care and sensitivity. Well done.

John Hansen (author) from Gondwana Land on September 01, 2018:

Diana, thank you for taking the time to read this. The poem is in no way a reflection of the book or its subject, however, I also have The Lake House by Patterson. I didn't read Zoo but watched the series on Netflix.

Diana L Pierce from Potter County, Pa. on September 01, 2018:

I have not read the book. James Patterson is a strong minded author and his work often reflects dark horror. I am sure your poem covers it nicely. It is sad things like this really happen. My favorite work of Patterson is the Lake House. I could not even wrap my mind around Zoo.

John Hansen (author) from Gondwana Land on August 31, 2018:

Thank you for your support Flourish. Yes, why are people so angry and stressed today? As with road rage, domestic violence seems to be on the increase and in order to combat it, we need to be aware and discuss the issue. Love and abuse shouldn't be able to be mentioned in the same sentence.

FlourishAnyway from USA on August 31, 2018:

I'm glad that you are writing on this subject to help educate people and connect them to resources in Australia. The statistics are sobering, and your poem captures the secrecy and shame. We seem to have so much pent up anger and take it out on each other, especially those we supposedly love the most. But love doesn't hurt like this.

John Hansen (author) from Gondwana Land on August 31, 2018:

Always good to see you Eric, so feel free to visit as many times as you like. You are one of those friends.

John Hansen (author) from Gondwana Land on August 31, 2018:

Thank you for reading and for the kind comment, Mary. I am glad you didn’t find this too graphic to be enjoyable.

Eric Dierker from Spring Valley, CA. U.S.A. on August 31, 2018:

John I have buddies that have outstanding friends so I drop by. I do not usually post on my second visit, but the quality of your friends and the openness of your conversations always have me come for a side dish at least.

Marie Flint from Jacksonville, FL USA on August 31, 2018:

A touchy subject, John. I was afraid to read your poem at first, as I thought it might have graphic imagery. But I was wrong. This is something the child in me could handle.

You do a good job of adding aspects of your subject to connect with the poem--statistics, help lines, and a book.

Good job!

John Hansen (author) from Gondwana Land on August 31, 2018:

Rinita, it humbles me that you don't like days I don't post a poem. I wish I could write one every day but if I try to force my muse it doesn't seem to work. I just have to wait for the inspiration to come to me. Sometimes I see a book title and think it sounds great to use for a poem and I sit in front of a blank screen with no ideas. At other times, the title and message just jumps out at me. Yes, you are right, it happens to men too and no one should suffer silently.

Rinita Sen on August 31, 2018:

I will be honest with you, John. I do not like the days when you do not post a poem. :). Only you can tackle such a difficult subject so artistically. As to the subject, I really have nothing to say except that whoever is going through this, please stop suffering in silence. Oh, and I have seen this happening with men as well, although the number is less.

Thank you for spreading the message.

John Hansen (author) from Gondwana Land on August 30, 2018:

I totally agree, Shyron, get out and take the kids away from the toxic environment. Thank you for reading this and supporting the message.

Shyron E Shenko from Texas on August 30, 2018:

John, this important message concerns all our countries. I hear some women who stay in an abusive relationship/marriage the say because of the children, but I say: "It is far better for children to be from an abusive household than in one."

Blessings and thank you for speaking up against abuse.

John Hansen (author) from Gondwana Land on August 30, 2018:

Hi Mike. Yes, the statistics are scary. It makes one feel that the home may be in fact the most dangerous place to be. I really don't know what makes certain book titles jump out at me or why they lead me in certain directions it just happens. I did notice that this particular book was co-written by a namesake of yours though :)

mckbirdbks from Emerald Wells, Just off the crossroads,Texas on August 30, 2018:

Hello John - Those are horrible statistics. There is so much anger and abuse taken out on those closest to their partners. Here I am guessing the numbers are at least as bad as there.

Good that you get on that soapbox. Good that your library collection inspires you.

John Hansen (author) from Gondwana Land on August 30, 2018:

MizB, so sorry to hear of your experience and the loss of your son’s love due to lies. Unfortunately this happens all too frequently. I know of similar cases. I am glad to hear you have finally reunited however.

You are spot on that PTSD is a contributing factor as well. My daughter is married to an ex-serviceman who was diagnosed with PTSD. Although there is no physical abuse there is mental abuse because he is almost a hermit except in regard to his own family. We rarely see them, despite her urging he refuses to visit. Once we traveled there to visit them and he never came out of the bedroom. When they were driving past where we live on a holiday he would not stop in we even asked if we could just meet them somewhere for lunch when they were close but he said he didn’t have time to stop. They have a son who will grow up rarely having seen his grandparents or cousins. It is sad.

Like you I am not sure if domestic and family abuse is increasing of if it is just being reported more. In the past the wife and children were regarded as a husband’s property so maybe the latter is the case.

John Hansen (author) from Gondwana Land on August 30, 2018:

Unfortunately, domestic abuse is a problem almost everywhere Clive, however some countries worse than others.

John Hansen (author) from Gondwana Land on August 30, 2018:

Hi Sean my brother, this is a wide spread issue that needs to be addressed despite its unpleasantness. We need to educate our children abuse of any kind is unacceptable. Thanks forbreading as always.

Doris James MizBejabbers from Beautiful South on August 30, 2018:

John, this is a mighty fine article and very timely. Too bad it needed to be written. My first marriage ended because I was a victim of great emotional abuse and a few physical incidents. The pity of it was that I lost the love of my older son because his abusive father convinced him that the divorce was all my fault. After nearly 40 years, my son and I are just now getting around to reconciling.

There is an elephant in the room that nobody wants to acknowledge, and that is domestic abuse resulting from military PTSD. I've talked to several women who each said that they had a good marriage until their husbands were deployed. This came up in some group therapy sessions for PTSD at our local VA hospital. Some of the men admitted to being abusive, and one couple who were both enlisted military admitted that they were both "very combative toward each other."

I wonder if there really is an increase in physical abuse or are victims now just more willing to report it? If there really is an increase per capita, is this a result of overpopulation and "the rats eating the rats?"

Good take on a sad subject, my friend.

Clive Williams from Jamaica on August 30, 2018:

Mmmmm a a very sad reality especially here in Jamaica.

Ioannis Arvanitis from Greece, Almyros on August 30, 2018:

An excellent work my brother, for a burning issue!

We need voices like yours. May Love redeem those hearts.



John Hansen (author) from Gondwana Land on August 30, 2018:

Linda, you are right that mental abuse, narcissism and humiliation etc are just as prevalent and equally as incidious. Thank you for your recommendation to share help-line numbers. I have done tah5 at the end of the article. Thank you for sharing the UK and USA numbers in your comment.

John Hansen (author) from Gondwana Land on August 30, 2018:

MsDora please feel free to quote me or use anything I write if you think it will be helpful to others. That is actually a great compliment and as a writer I can only hope what I write is seen by someone who needs it.

John Hansen (author) from Gondwana Land on August 30, 2018:

Shauna, I am so sorry that you suffered domestic violence yourself, but glad you escaped from that situation. You are right that it isn’t always an easy thing to just walk away from.the abuser may continue to stalk his victim.

John Hansen (author) from Gondwana Land on August 30, 2018:

Yes, it is terrible, Chitrangada, and I’d prefer not to write about it. We need to educate our children that domestic violence is unacceptable. Women do need self-reliance too.

John Hansen (author) from Gondwana Land on August 30, 2018:

Eric, sometimes it is a lot better to put your head I; the sand and try to not dwell on unpleasant realities like this. However, for me, it has effected some members of my family so I feel it is important to draw attention to the problem of domestic abuse. Awareness helps bring a solution.

John Hansen (author) from Gondwana Land on August 30, 2018:

I suspect that maybe the case too, Bill. It is a sad part of life that is all too common. I’d much rather not write about these things.

Dora Weithers from The Caribbean on August 30, 2018:

I did a presentation on domestic abuse a few days ago. Your poem touches on so many aspects in so little lines. Requesting your permission to quote you, with credit to you, of course.

John Hansen (author) from Gondwana Land on August 30, 2018:

Yes, Mary, the statistics are disturbing and they could even be worse in other countries. You are right that it isn’t just women abused. Communication is important too.

Linda Lum from Washington State, USA on August 30, 2018:

John, abuse is not always physical. Humiliation, narcissistic preening, and mind games can be subtle and insidious. If there is a help-line in Australia for those facing domestic abuse/violence, perhaps you could include it at the end of this article. The number for the UK is 0808 2000 247. In the United States 1-800-799-7233.

Shauna L Bowling from Central Florida on August 30, 2018:

John, this is an important message. I experienced domestic violence when I was in my early twenties. Sometimes it's hard to break away because the abuser tracks his victim down. But the strong survive. I'm here today as proof.

Chitrangada Sharan from New Delhi, India on August 30, 2018:

Domestic violence is a terrible thing, and unfortunately quite common at many places. Your poem describes it appropriately.

The solution, to my mind is raising voices, whenever one finds that it is happening, in a family, in the neighbourhood etc.

Education and self reliance is important for women.

Thanks for sharing!

Eric Dierker from Spring Valley, CA. U.S.A. on August 30, 2018:

Yuck! please do not write an article like this again. I will be just fine with my head in the sand.

If violence is anything but consenting sports it is wrong. (Law Enforcement different)

A decade or so ago my wife just came at me. I stepped on her toes accidentally. I feel guilty to this day.

I reported on my neighbor about 4 years ago. Sorry but my son and I heard while playing out back. Funny kind of, the father/grandfather and I are fast friends and he thanks me often.

Please disregard my first comment but I think you know what I mean.

Bill Holland from Olympia, WA on August 30, 2018:

I suspect domestic abuse in the U.S. is at epidemic proportions, and I find that extremely sad. Thank you for shedding light on it with your writing.

Mary Norton from Ontario, Canada on August 30, 2018:

I am amazed at the statistics you included on domestic abuse. Your poem says it all. Many times, those in abusive relationship don't talk and it is not just women who are abused. What a sad thing to happen in our society.

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