I’m in a coaching program at the moment, we were asked to choose a project for a 30-day project sprint. Every time I asked myself what I needed to do for the project, I came up with the same answer. I had to adapt the book. There was no way around, or about, it. I had to go through it, one scene at a time.
I’m not going to lie, holding the stories in my head the first time was hard. I was worried if I’d be strong enough to do it all again, intimate partner violence isn’t the most light-hearted of things to articulate. But, I kept coming back to the people that shared their stories, the reason why they shared their red flags with me in the first place.
“I want people to see what I should have seen happening.”
The book was for Erika, who’d have been cross if I didn’t finish the book, but the adapted screenplay is for the survivors. I don’t know what will happen to it, my aim at the end of the project sprint is to simply to share with people I know who work in TV and movies and ask, “Do I have something here?”
I’m re-writing, pulling the story apart and re-building it. I’m learning from the mistakes I made in the book and finding my voice louder than ever before. I was so proud of the book, but already I’m glowing from the work I’ve put into adapting the screenplay and I’m a way to go yet.
When you’re ready to leave
I want other people to hear something Ronnie says to Hazel and think, “That sounds familiar”.
I need people to see Ronnie losing his shit over a cup of coffee; or to watch Hazel being persistently worn down so insidiously, she doesn’t realise what is happening.
I really need people to see that even if you ask someone who’s hurting you to leave, they won’t. They will twist and turn the words you use against you, until you don’t know whether you’re coming or going.
I really want people to understand that it can take months for victims to be able to break free. Be patient with your loved one, but be there unconditionally, because when they jump, they’re going to need you.
If you’re struggling relating to a parent, I want you to see Freya’s story and know that you’re not on your own either. That version of coercive control is deliberately in the book, because everyone has an opinion on giving family members another chance.
We need more people understanding that coercive control and intimate partner violence often escalates. But by the time it gets physical, victims can be so entrenched they are more petrified of what will happen when the police leave, than asking for help. “Why don’t you just leave?” is not helpful when you don’t have access to money, car, food, and your life as you knew it is gone. The only thing giving you sustenance is the person abusing you.
This song by Tina Arena has been running through my head the whole time, When You’re Ready.
The screenplay of One Last Hundred Chances is for you. I’m writing from my lion’s heart, sharing the tiny spark in all of us that keeps us going.