SSRI Stories note: Withdrawal can often be more dangerous than continuing on a medication. It is important to withdraw extremely slowly from these antidepressants, usually over a period of a year or more, under the supervision of a qualified specialist. Withdrawal is sometimes more severe than the original symptoms or problems.
Man raped, beat girlfriend after coming off meds
BY BREE FULLER
01 Oct, 2010 12:00 AM
A Nowra man who violently beat and raped his girlfriend claimed he became aggressive only after stopping his medication.
The man never had the perfect life or temper, but he wasn't the type of person to hit his girlfriend, a court heard.
That all changed when the 21-year-old, who cannot be named to protect the identity of the victim, stopped taking medication for his chronic depression in May last year.
He then became extremely aggressive and physically violent during confrontations with his live-in girlfriend. When the woman threatened to leave him, the violence escalated into a full-blown attack.
He grabbed the woman by her shoulders and forced her into the bedroom of their Nowra unit where he sexually assaulted her.
During the attack he smothered her face with a pillow and punched her in the stomach, winding her.
The woman's toddler, from a previous relationship, was asleep in another room at the time.
A friend who was living with the pair helped the woman, who later reported the attack to police.
Police photographed the victim, who had bruising to her face and body, including a tennis-ball sized bruise on her breast and golf-ball sized bruise on her thigh.
The man subsequently was charged and pleaded guilty to one count each of aggravated sexual assault occasioning actual bodily harm and attempted aggravated sexual assault.
Yesterday, Wollongong District Court heard the man had had a tough upbringing, living periodically with his abusive stepfather and alcoholic mother until her death when he was aged 14.
He then lived between foster families and his grandparents' home and began using alcohol and cannabis in an attempt to stem the depression.
Despite his upbringing, the court heard he had a relatively clean record and was extremely remorseful for the attack.
Judge Paul Conlon sentenced the man to minimum terms of three years and three years six months in jail for each charge, to be served concurrently.