Provoked: Lena Kasparian killed her partner but was cleared of murder. Photo: Kate Geraghty
Lena Kasparian knows about domestic violence. The 35-year-old was charged with murdering her abusive alcoholic partner in 2011.
A fight on the way home from a child's birthday party escalated into a drunk Marc Zartarian allegedly hitting Ms Kasparian with a stainless steel saucepan. Ms Kasparian says she grabbed a knife to protect herself.
Zartarian allegedly continued moving towards her and, after the knife entered his chest, Ms Kasparian locked herself in the laundry. When her partner called that he was having trouble breathing, she came out and dialled 000. She was led away in handcuffs and Zartarian died five days later.
''I was scared shitless,'' Ms Kasparian said. ''You have all these regrets, what ifs, if onlys. If only I didn't open the door, if only I didn't let him in the house.''
Eighteen months after being acquitted by the Supreme Court, Ms Kasparian still feels overwhelmed by what happened. She says she would be in a mental institution, on drugs, or dead, if not for her children.
''I wanted to be their mother, not some crazy woman they have to visit in hospital,'' she said.
Ms Kasparian hopes that, by speaking out, she can help other women suffering from domestic violence.
''If I can give another woman advice, I would say 'let go, [these men] need professional help','' Ms Kasparian said. ''If I can save one woman, then I've done something good in this world.''