Rachael Anne Keogh 5-7-1970 4-4-2011

Rachael Anne Keogh

5-7-1970  4-4-2011

A victim of domestic violence and a society in crisis.

This website is to honour Rachael Anne Keogh "the Chick Girl" my best friend, soul mate, darling girl and the most beautiful human being to walk the face of this earth

Culturally Rachael’s tragic death is considered to be an incident of domestic violence (DV), however the underlying causes of DV are never discussed, much less dealt with for political reasons, as they are a reflection of the health of the society we live in, and in whose interests it is run. In the midst of a severe economic crisis, it is clear who is expected to bear the burden. There is no restrictions on funding for war and anti terror measures, as cuts are made to all essential social spending because “the age of entitlement is over”…our entitlements, not theirs.

Record inequality, job losses, insecure part time work, little opportunity for our youth, no mental health services, social dislocation ….a society in severe crisis. The rise in incidents of domestic violence under such circumstances is tragic but hardly surprising and the measure put in place do nothing to abate the ongoing carnage. More on the underlying issues here Structural Violence and here Personality disorders and domestic violence

Red flags of emotional abuse. 

Play Video

Rachael was a vulnerable girl that did have issues stemming from an abusive childhood that caused her profound distress and together we had actively sought professional care to help her with these issues, only to be confronted with bewildering levels of ineptitude and at times smug indifference from the mental health practitioners that we engaged. It was about a year after we had started to seek help that Rachael was beset upon by her assailant, an ex-boyfriend from her youth who was using his previous intimacy as a leverage to gain her confidence.

When I told police of my concerns, I did not know they were duty bound to investigate my claim and do a full report by law, as per ‘The Code of Practice for the Investigation of claims of Family Violence.’ Not only did they fail to investigate, I was threatened with imprisonment if I went anywhere near Rachael’s unit, leaving Rachael isolated and alone with the man who would soon take her life. 

The perfidy of the police and the Coroner

When Rachael lost her life, the police engaged in a cover-up to avoid detection of their neglect, a cowardly and despicable act to be sure. They suppressed and falsified the entirety of evidence I had submitted, and with the duplicity of the Coroner. Rachael's death was ruled a suicide and her assailant not only went free, but profited from his heinous crime. 

It was almost a year before I was to learn what the police had done, and I had compiled the evidence to prove it.(2) When I confronted them with the evidence, they responded by organising a frame up and threw me in jail for four months thinking this would intimidate me into being silent. This is the level of protection that was offered by the entire Victorian Justice system and is not an isolated incident.(3)

Rachael’s funeral was shut down by her assailant and her property divided between those who had abused her, as a result of the cowardly dishonesty of the police and the coroner. That they feel they have the right to treat another human being in this manner, as if she was no better than trash, disgusts and angers me no end, and this is not over by a long shot. Rachael deserves all I have to give and she will get nothing less. That recourse is not possible through the law is a clear indication of the state of our "so called" democracy", as is the appalling criminal duplicity of solicitors I have engaged.

This tribute ensures that Rachael is treated with the dignity she deserves and those that covered up her death will be known for the unprincipled cowards that they are, not fit to breathe the same air as my darling girl.

Mental Health Services

Rachael had been subjected to severe abuse as a child that had continued into her adult relationships, including an abusive marriage, and was emotionally fragile and vulnerable, suffering depression and anxiety and in need of professional help. We didn't have unrealistic expectations, all we sought was a practitioner with whom we could build a relationship in order to get the best possible outcome for Rachael. Instead what we encountered was smug, condescending ineptitude and often indifference to the suffering of another human being, the memory of which still makes my blood boil, as we were fighting for her life. In the end, it was left to Rachael and me to discover that she had Borderline Personality Disorder (BPD), a discovery that was to come too late.

"I am sure people are harming themselves and dying as a result" Dr Martha Kent, senior consultant psychiatrist.

The poor treatment that Rachael experienced has since been acknowledged as a serious mental health issue. Two "damning reports" were released in 2014 condemning the poor level of treatment available for those with BPD, suggesting that "people are harming themselves and dying as a result", reports that the government had ignored for over two years.(5)

According to Sane Australia's website, many people with BPD still do not get the diagnosis, treatment and support they need, because understanding of BPD is insufficient among health professionals and access to appropriate services is limited. The Australian BPD Foundation also identifies poor practitioner understanding as a key area of concern.

Professor Andrew Chanen, the Deputy Director of research at Orygen, The National Centre of Excellence in Youth Mental Health and a Board Director of NEA.BPD Australia had this to say, “entrenched discrimination and outdated beliefs, means that BPD is usually marked by late diagnosis and rejection from services. If people are allowed entry to services, treatment is often ineffective or even harmful. People with BPD have among the highest rates of drug and alcohol abuse, poor physical, sexual and reproductive health and higher levels of unemployment. We would never accept a similar situation in any other branch of medicine".(6)

BPD Symptoms (DSM-5)

Clinical criteria as published by the American Psychiatric Association in the Diagnostic and Statistical Manual (DSM-V) used to make a diagnosis of BPD are:

A pervasive pattern of instability of interpersonal relationships, self-image and affects and marked impulsivity beginning by early adulthood and presenting in a variety of contexts as indicated by five or more of the following:

1) frantic efforts to avoid real or imagined abandonment;

 2) a pattern of unstable and intense interpersonal relationships

 3) identity disturbance

 4) impulsivity in at least two areas that are self–damaging

 5) recurrent suicidal behaviour, suicidal gestures, threats or self-mutilating behaviour

 6) affective [mood] instability

 7) chronic feelings of emptiness

 8) inappropriate, intense anger

 9) transient stress-related paranoid ideation or severe dissociative symptoms

"Co-dependency. People with borderline personality disorder (BPD) are especially vulnerable to abusive relationships due to the intense self-hatred and fear of abandonment common to the disorder. Due to the relatively weak sense of self, it is difficult for a person with BPD to leave a relationship, even an abusive one. People with BPD may believe they deserve the abuse and have a hard time believing the relationship is abusive.(7)"

What does it feel like to have a personality disorder?    Play Video


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For the dignity of Rachael

In the four short years I knew Rachael we became inseparable friends, soul mates and constant companions…I loved her as much as it is possible to love anyone, there is nothing I would not do for her, and I would trade places with her now if it were possible. She was the most beautiful person I have ever met, or am ever likely to meet. To not be able to see, to touch, to talk to laugh, never to hear her sweet voice again will torture my soul until the day I die.

I am grateful to Rachael for her poetry and for the music she inspired that now serve as a both a chronology of our time together and reflect the depth of care, love and connection we shared, making this work as unique as my darling girl was. I hope with all its flaws and weaknesses that this tribute is in some small way worthy of my darling girl and sincerely hope that her story may spare others a similar fate.

With love and eternal devotion, your friend and Chick Boy



Rachael’s Story

As I think back now to when Rachael and I first met, it was  more like being swept up in a ‘whirlwind” that just happened my way, and the world as it was before would never be again. Rach was an excitable, talkative extrovert who was hyper-aware of the world around her. She was the very first person I met on-line, and after a few lengthy email exchanges and then even lengthier telephone conversations we decided to meet.

When we met we got on like the proverbial house on fire and it too wasn’t long before we decided to move in together. Rach was a mad animal lover, and before I knew it we were the proud parents of Mischka the Greyhound (aka the Chick Bibby and Minxamena the Pussycat (aka the Chick Lena). Rach affectionately dubbed this bunch of misfits “The Chick Family” and it stuck from that day on.

Rachael was well educated and earned top marks in the state for English literature in HSC. She was also an autodidact and an inquisitive person by nature who possessed an encyclopaedic knowledge of many subjects including biology, art, architecture, Greek and Roman mythology and botany. Rachael was also artistically gifted and painted, sculpted, wrote poetry and even made her own perfumes

Rachael was one out of the box that was reflected in everything she did and said. She had a natural affinity for language and was continually improvising and inventing words because using the same old words every single day was just a bit boring and mundane. Rachael was a genuine, modest, unaffected smarty pants that you couldn’t help but to be drawn to her, yet there was a dark side that my poor darling really struggled with that often found expression in her poetry.



Rachael had had a very abusive childhood, the details of which are too painful to dredge up. Childhood abuse often leads to a lifetime of abusive relationships, as was the case with Rachael who had a verbally abusive marriage that she did eventually manage to leave.

Unfortunately, that was not the end of it, as she was the target of systematic abuse when she deployed with the Australian Defence Force in East Timor in 1999 as a lieutenant with the nurse's corps (she was a registered nurse). Nurses are expected to do sentry work as part of their duties and whilst Rachael complied with this, she was adamant that she would never discharge her weapon in anger, as her vocation was to save life, not take it. This was intolerable to an Australian imperialist force and so was subjected to unrelenting abuse and forced out of the army in 2001. The Captain who was her "designated abuser" told her point blank, "if I were a civilian I would be jailed for what I am doing to you, but I am not and there is not a thing you can do about it". Rachael maintained that of all the abuses she was subjected to in her life, the army was the one that affected her most.

Rachael had had a difficult life to be sure. She was estranged from her abusive mother and only on the rare occasion did she have contact with her brother who had also abused her upon mother's command. The one family member she was close to was her father who passed away from melanoma shortly after Rachael and I met.

Rachael left home at eighteen virtually penniless and without support. She worked her way through nurses college, having to meet costs for both tuition and living expenses and so mostly lived in boarding homes, where at times went without food for lack of funds or because it had been taken by other housemates. To Rachael's credit, she stuck it out and graduated top of her class.

Rachael lived in Warrnambool in country Victoria when she was married and had moved back to Melbourne when she separated from her husband five years earlier. Rachael said she had put up with her husband's abuse because of her in-laws who were kind and supportive of her and were the only real family she had ever known and continued to send her birthday and Christmas cards when we were living together. Rachael had a couple of acquaintances she would see occasionally, while her closest friend was “Rosie” whom she met during her school days at St. Brigid's Fitzroy.

When I first met Rachael she was administering palliative care to her father at home and working a few nights a week as an agency nurse to make ends meet. At the time of her father passing she was at the end of her tether, physically and emotionally spent and just going through the motions. It was evident she was doing it hard and it seemed to me that she had never had anyone to look out for her and just couldn't catch a break. She was such a sweetie pie that it broke my heart to see her struggling and so “Operation Chick Girl” was put into effect and Rachael's health, wellbeing and happiness were now my number one priority.


Song for Rachael   Play

"The first song I wrote for Rachael, an instrumental inspired by Rachael's favourite poem, 'The Lady of Shalott' by Alfred Lord Tennyson. Rachael had a large print of the Lady of Shalott on her wall, upon which Rachael's face has been transposed in the adjacent picture.

The poem is of, a beautiful maiden cursed to live in a Castle upon the Isle of Shalott, where her only view of the world outside is through an old cracked mirror. One day she see's Sir Lancelot pass her way and is so enamoured by him that she decides to risk all and leave the Castle.

The weather is stormy, as she finds a boat and scribbles her name around the edge of it and she begins to sings as she floats downstream toward Camelot. Night falls and the temperature drops to freezing, but she continues on her way.

As she arrives in Camelot the lords and ladies all come out to see her, lovely but dead in her boat. Then in a moment of irony, Sir Lancelot himself bows down next to her and says, 'She has a lovely face, God in his mercy lend her grace.

The tragic irony is Rachael's search for love fated her end, just as it had for the Lady of Shalott."

(1) Structural Violence

(2) The Evidence

(3)  The Police Accountability Project.

(4)  PDs & Domestic Violence

(5)  Psychiatrist says borderline personality disorder sufferers need targeted treatment.

(6)  Professor Andrew Chanen.

(7)  BPD and romantic relations: If you really loved me.

Helpful links for BPD