Lauren Richmond, 22, was badly beaten by her then-boyfriend, league-cricketer Jordan Greaves. She left him, pressed charges, and shared pictures of her injuries on social media. Her posts went viral: a strong example of a woman standing up to her abuser.
“I’d been with my ex-partner for two years. On 30 April his cricket team went to a pub to celebrate their win and come midnight, he was really drunk. He wanted to drive home and I said, ‘You can’t, you’re too drunk.’ He started shouting. I refused to get in the car and started to walk.
When it’s been going on for that long you know when it’s going to happen. I thought, I’ve got two choices: I stay in the street and he batters me here, or I get in the car and he batters me there. I didn’t want to cause a disturbance, so I got in.
He was swerving. All I said was ‘You can’t even drive straight’ and he slammed on the breaks and started smashing my head on the dashboard. I was screaming at him to stop. I thought, ‘I’m going to die. I’m going to have to wind down the window and pray someone hears me.’
A woman opened my door and got me out. I had blood dripping down my face. He had the guts to say, ‘It’s all right, we’ve just had an argument.’ I said, ‘You’re not getting away with it this time.’”
“I thought, ‘I can’t deal with this anymore. How do I know that other people aren’t going through it?’ I have a large social media following and I thought people could read my story and see there’s hope. I wanted to wait until the court case was over and he’d been found guilty [Greaves was convicted of assault]. I had the post ready on my phone, but I couldn’t press the button to do it.
It was scary, I didn’t know what kind of response I was going to get. But when it was out there, I had a sigh of relief. I didn’t think I’d get much of a response, but strangers were messaging me. It was crazy. It worked.
I’ve started counselling and have only recently been able to cry about it. I hope I’ve helped lift the stigma. Sometimes I think I’ve been brave, but I still have nightmares. I want other women to know you can get away and your life won’t fall apart.”
To celebrate the best in people, Stylist photographed and interviewed 10 heroic women – just a few of the many who served to inspire us all in 2017. To see the rest of our Women of the Year 2017, click here.
Photography: Mark Harrison.