In her upcoming documentary series See What You Made Me Do, inspired by her award-winning book of the same name, Hill shines a light on the homes where abuse is destroying lives.
It’s a topic she feels incredibly passionate about after been inspired to delve into its depths in 2014, when Rosie Batty started her campaign following the death of her 11-year-old son Luke at the hands of his father Greg Anderson.
“I think for many people it had been quite invisible until 2014,” Hill explains to WHO. “It’s like 40 to 50 years of advocacy suddenly just really bubbled up to the surface and the scales really fell off all our eyes. That’s when I was asked to report on it and I got obsessed by it from the outset because I realised that so much I thought I knew about it was wrong.”
In See What You Made Me Do, Hill explores an epidemic that shows no signs of slowing down.
She gives a voice to the heartbroken families left behind, conducting interviews with Brisbane mother Hannah Clarke’s parents Sue and Lloyd, the family of Melbourne mother Katie Haley and Tamica Mullaley’s father Ted – all of whom have lost children, grandchildren or siblings due to domestic abuse.
Hill also speaks to victim survivors, whose lives have all been irrevocably changed because of an abusive relationship.
“When you’re talking about homicides, you’re talking about the extreme pointy end,” she reveals. “But the number of women who I’ve spoken to who just got away with their lives, I have lost count. These women often experience long-term health consequences, not only complex [post-traumatic stress disorder] but brain damage from being belted or from being choked. There’s just such ongoing health consequences that remain largely invisible.”
In her seven years investigating the crisis, the Walkley Award winner has also lost count of the times she’s been asked, “Why doesn’t she just leave?” Yet, the question fails to acknowledge the fact that leaving an abusive partner is one of the most dangerous moves a person can ever make.
“The fact that so often these women are doing it on their own, you know they don’t get police escorts to leave. They are finding a time and some excuse to basically flee their house, often with just whatever they can carry into a car or onto a bus or into a taxi,” Hill explains.
“And the likelihood of them being killed at that moment goes through the roof. So many women I’ve spoken to have said they feared they would be killed if they stayed and if they left.”
Although she’s heard hundreds of stories like theirs over the years, Hill says the impact of them never lessens.
“When you’re sitting in front of someone and you hear the threat they’re facing and the danger that they’re in – I get so swept up in that,” she says. “I guess in that moment, I’m just thinking, ‘How do we help you? How do we protect you?’”
The series becomes even more of a confronting watch when Hill talks to some of the perpetrators themselves, but she insists there’s some merit in them owning up to their mistakes.
“The fact these guys are willing to go on television, show their faces and recount the most shameful things they’ve ever done, that’s pretty brave,” Hill tells. “The fact that they are identifying themselves means they’re holding themselves up to scrutiny.”
By also exploring the different innovations that could make a seismic difference to curbing this crisis, the documentary will certainly ignite conversations about domestic abuse. And it’s a conversation Hill hopes will continue.
“This momentum is so strong now, this moment just isn’t going away,” she adds. “And I feel like if we ever had a chance to just take hold of a moment and actually turn it into change and change the way power operates, it’s now.”
See What You Made Me Do premieres Wednesday, May 5, 8.30pm on SBS and SBS On Demand