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This Photo Was Taken The Night Before I Escaped

On February 1, 1992, Judy Sharp’s husband took a photo of his wife on the couch with their two young sons.


What could easily be mistaken for a candid moment of a loving mother resting with her two small children was actually a photo of something much darker. Sharp’s husband had just told his wife it was the last night she would be alive.


On this day every year she share a small part of her story with the hope that it may encourage someone else.




On the 1st February 1992 I escaped a very abusive marriage. This photo was taken the night before I escaped. I do not know how I survived that night. He took the photo he said because it was supposed to be the last night I was to be alive and so the boys would have a memory of being with their mother. They were not quite 4 and 2 years old. To be honest I didn’t run for myself, I was too worn out and worn down to do anything for myself. I did it for my sons. I really didn’t believe there was any hope or future for us and I didn’t believe I could do it. But I had to try for the boys I had to do everything I could for them to be safe and away from such evil. In the early days it was down to basics, food, and for Tim living with autism trying to find a bit of happiness in every day, just trying to survive. I made a few rules and beliefs for myself, some I still follow today.


” The scars don’t go away but I don’t have to look at them every day. I wish you the same happiness, believe me everyone does. Take a step.”


  • Always pay your bills first. People will feed you rather than pay the bills for you . And they did.
  • Only go to the shops one day a week and then hopefully there will be some money left for a drive to the country or fish and chips at the beach.
  • No matter how hard it is to ask for what you need , when you do most people will try to do what they can to help. They can not read your mind, talk to them. But only ever ask for really important things.
  • Always be humble and grateful for every single act of kindness. THANK YOU.
  • One is the loneliest number but at least you get all the blankets. As one you are the captain.
  • A friends husband told me that every day in every way things would get better. I didn’t believe him. I didn’t think it was possible. But I did what he said and everyday I wrote down one good thing. He told me not to think of what had gone wrong, what I hadn’t done, or what I thought I failed at, just find one better thing. Some days it seemed impossible to think of any better change but he was right there was always something. You have to look to find.
  • No matter what the expense, this family needs a dog. There is no one else who is always that happy to see you and makes you smile like that and forget everything else.
  • Single mothers have been raising incredible humans since time began. I am strong, I am invincible, I can do anything. I am woman! I am a mother.
  • It’s rare that only one thing goes wrong at a time. Sometimes it’s threes,or many more. Deal with them one by one and do your best. It may not seem fair but it is what it is.
  • All that matters is the family you make. That is the only thing worth fighting for. And when you have a child with autism the fight is longer and harder but you are the world expert on your child and your family. Believe in yourself and after a while you are no longer fighting, just leading the way.
  • No matter what happens life goes on. You can watch it go by or walk with it. No matter how slowly or even wearing ten ton mud covered boots from the depths of quick sand, but you can always take a step. Like every wise prophet has said life is one step after another.
  • Everything is better when you float in water.
  • It took me a long time to start to believe this one…… It wasn’t my fault. I didn’t deserve it. No one deserves it. I deserve so much better and it’s up to me to make that better happen.


If you are in the same situation I was in all those years ago, take a step, tell someone, ask for help. If you can’t do it for yourself do it for your children. Domestic violence/abuse is never acceptable, don’t wait for it to stop, it won’t. Back then I could never imagine that all these years later I would have such a wonderful life, two healthy, happy, gentlemen sons, two dogs, good friends, a home, a garden, and that I would feel this content and happy. And I got to speak at TEDx Sydney Opera House! I am a keynote speaker, an author and an associate producer. I am me.

The scars don’t go away but I don’t have to look at them every day. I wish you the same happiness, believe me everyone does. Take a step.


This story has been shared with the permission of Judy – We Salute You!