Despite her sporting achievements, including reaching the Wimbledon semifinals in 2000, Jelena Dokic‘s career was plagued by physical and emotional abuse from her father, Damir Dokic. In her latest Instagram post, the retired tennis star documents the shocking severity of bruises and scars on her body.
The former world No.4 Dokic has been open about the abuse she suffered at the hands of her father. In her autobiography, “Unbreakable,” she detailed the violence she endured, including being beaten with a thick leather belt that “felt as sharp as a knife.” A mediocre training session, a loss, a bad mood — anything could trigger her father to slice her skin with his dreadful belt.
In a recent social media post, the Serbian-born Australian showed a photo from the 2000 US Open, drawing attention to the evident signs of trauma on her legs even though the photo was taken two weeks after the beating had happened. She wrote, “Swollen, bruised and bleeding shins from being beaten and kicked all night with sharp shoes right into my shins for losing a match.” She was only 17 years old at the time, while even now as a 39-year-old she still has sensitive and bumpy shins from this particular beating.
Years later, in 2022, Dokic tried to take her own life, saying “I just wanted the pain and the suffering to stop.”
Dokic’s experience highlights the devastating impact of domestic violence, particularly on young women. She has been a vocal advocate for survivors and has used her platform to raise awareness about the issue.
As she notes, one woman is killed every week as a result of domestic violence in Australia alone and one in four women will experience domestic violence in their lifetime. These figures are even worse in other parts of the world.
Dokic’s message to those experiencing abuse is one of support and encouragement. She reminds survivors that they have incredible strength and courage and that the abuse they suffer is not their fault. She also calls on those who can to support and help those who are experiencing abuse.
The retired tennis star’s bravery in speaking out about her own experiences is a reminder that domestic violence can happen to anyone, regardless of their background or status. It also highlights the importance of breaking the silence around this issue and providing support and resources for survivors.
As Dokic says, “Speaking up about domestic violence is not attention seeking. Women and girls die every day because of this judgement and shame. Let’s do more for the future generations. For our daughters, sisters and all the girls and women around the world to make this a better and safer place for them to be happy, healthy and free of violence.” (photo: Ralf Reinecke)