VIA| Her sister, Jackie Gillies, may be a star on the Bravo hit, “Real Housewives of Melbourne,” but Angela Ivancevic is making waves for a very different reason.
A survivor of domestic violence, Ivancevic has decided to share her story.
When she met her former husband, Peter Stojanovsk, Ivancevic was in nursing school. Ivancevic explains to the Daily Mail:
“We hit it off, well at least I thought so. I really liked his smile — I was swept off my feet.”
Gillies, however, was not so convinced that they were meant to be. In fact, she had a feeling he was bad news.
“She told me his first name and I just saw these images flashing through my mind of my sister being beaten up,” Gillies tells the Daily Mail. “And I said ‘Angela, this guy is not for you,’ even though I didn’t know his last name or anything about this man.”
But Ivancevic brushed off her sister’s words — how could she have visions about a man she had never met? And even though she knew that her sister’s premonitions tended to be spot on, she continued dating, and eventually married, Stojanovsk.
Sister love #loveher #mystrength A photo posted by angegozzi (@angegozzi) on
Even at the beginning of their marriage, though, it was not all rainbows and butterflies. Ivancevic recalls Stojanovsk becoming violent with her; he would hit her or push her and then apologize for doing so.
As time went on, Stojanovsk became more and more controlling.
“He made me cut up all my tights because he thought they showed off too much,” Ivancevic tells the Sydney Morning Herald. “It was all these funny little things but I loved him so I kept saying to myself ‘this is how things are now’.’”
Things finally came to a head after the couple attended a wedding in 2013. Stojanovsk fell asleep on the floor and when Ivancevic tried to wake him, he lost it.
“The first time I got off him I got into the cupboard and rang my mum and she hung up and rang the police – then he got into the cupboard and pulled me out by my hair and then kept smashing me,” she says.
“The second time he went for me and I was begging him to stop but he wouldn’t stop and at that point he stomped on my head with his foot.”
She says that she knew in that moment that if she didn’t leave, she wouldn’t make it out alive.
— Australia Trends (@australizer) May 29, 2015
So she pushed him and ran out of the house in her pajamas, wandering through the streets until her parents picked her up. To her friends and family, she was unrecognizable. She recounts that even her own son didn’t know who she was at the time.
“In the photos, you can see the imprint of his wedding ring on my head,” she says. “That’s the most heartbreaking part, it was a symbol of love and promises he made me and he used it against me.”
The doctors told her that she was very close to having severe brain damage, but Ivancevic says she was lucky enough to only sustain nerve damage.
My gorgeous sons first bday!! If you look closely at my eye you will see the recovering bruising after the incident! It doesn’t matter what you go through in life one look at your child and you smile again!! #yourstrongerthanyouthink #saynotodomesticviolence #enoughisenough
A photo posted by angegozzi (@angegozzi) on
Stojanovsk was charged for the attack and received a six month suspended sentence. With the help of her family and friends, Ivancevic was able to keep her distance from him.
Now she has become an advocate for herself and other survivors of domestic violence.
She is honest about her struggles and tells her story in hopes of encouraging women in similar situations to get help.
“I want people to see it really is that bad; when people see those photos, they cry,” she said. “But I always remind them that I’m not a victim, I’m a survivor.”