"There is some good in this world, and it's worth fighting for." J.R.R. Tolkien
People often say that if a person find themselves in a violent relationship they should leave immediately and not listen to the excuses that their abuser feeds them. I say that 98% of the people who do say that, have never experienced domestic abuse themselves. Yes, I do agree that once your partner becomes violent you should leave but I do know that it isn't always that simple. Sometimes you may think that you have nowhere to go, or there could be children involved and leaving would not be as easy as packing your bags and walking out the front door. Other times, you can't leave, because your partner has manipulated you so much that you actually believe their lies.
"Look at you, who would want to be with you?" "You have no friends, and your family don't care about you." "You'll have nowhere to live if you walk out." These are some of the lies that your partner will tell you to keep you living in fear; this is the reality of domestic abuse.
I was only 16 years old when I fell into a predators trap. I still find that difficult to get my head around, I was still a child, and yet I fell for the lies and fantasy world of this vile man. It was literally a decade later that I found out that a person I believed to be my friend was actually someone who finds young, vulnerable girls for this man and he supplies her with drugs. I'm not afraid to admit that when I found out about this "arrangement" of theirs it wounded me deeply. I genuinely thought this girl was a friend of mine, but her sole purpose for being there was to make sure I never left him, and if I ever had any worries or doubts about his behaviour, she was quick to comment that I was in an "adult relationship" now and that he was just being passionate, and that I should be grateful for everything he had done for me. All in all, it's as clear as day now that I was groomed. I didn't want to admit it to myself let alone anybody else, and I have spent many years in denial. There are only 3 people in the entire world who knows absolutely everything that happened to me at the hands of this man. Me, my darling husband and the scumbag who inflicted all this pain on me. I considered telling the police about my entire ordeal at the hands of this man, but it literally would be my word against his, even if they could build a case against him, I would have to stand up in court and tell complete strangers all the details of the two and a half years of abuse I suffered at the hands of that man and his friends, and I couldn't bare the thought of my children hearing what happened to me.
I'm sure some people will be reading this and think "Well why didn't she just walk out, why did she stay with him?" I can answer that, no problem. I did walk out, I did leave him, and every time I did that, I was punished for it. You see, in his eyes, I was his property, and I was not allowed to leave his house without his strict permission. The only friends I was allowed were all his friends, young girls who all sang his praises, saying what an amazing guy he was and how lucky I was that he had chosen me to be his "girlfriend". I wasn't his girlfriend, I was his prisoner, his play-thing, something to keep him amused while he lied and back-stabbed his family members, informed to the police about local drug-dealers and robbers, he even informed on his 15 year old nephew and his brother-in-law and forced me to corroborate his story. I remember that night vividly, as though it was yesterday. That was when he beat me so hard that he broke 3 of my ribs with a single kick. He kept me in the bedroom for the next 3 days, as a reminder to never question his actions again.
The abuse wasn't only physical, it was mental as well. He had knocked and raped all the confidence and belief in myself right out of me. I honestly felt that I had been abandoned by my family, I couldn't understand why they never called me, why my friends would never visit, why no one could see what he was doing to me. He was manipulative, and so controlling. He controlled everything, I wasn't allowed money of my own, only what he would give to me if I had done as he had asked. He told me what I could wear, who I was allowed to talk to, and if I was to ever go out of the house when he wasn't there, it would only be to the corner shop to get cigarettes or milk, and I wasn't allowed to go into the town itself without one of his female "friends". He seemed to have a lot of young girls around him, I thought they were my friends at the time, but they were only there to keep me in line, report back to him on everything I did, and make sure I didn't talk to anyone about what he was really like. There was only one girl there who was not a part of his world, she was a few years older than me, I knew her from school, she was always fun to be around and was a welcome distraction to the crap that was my life at the time. She knew him through her family, and it was her who helped me finally get away from him. Had it not been for her, I genuinely believe that I would have been killed either by his hands or most likely one of his "customers".
He got me pregnant. I was still young, just turned 17 and I wasn't ready to be a mother, but he warned me that I had better act excited when other people were around as he basked in the joy of telling people that he was going to be a father. That's when I learned that he was already a father, he had a son. I thought it strange that he had never mentioned it to me before. I asked him about it, and he said that the mother was a drug addict and her parents had taken her and his child away from him. The truth was that she wanted nothing to do with him, she wasn't a drug addict. She was a young girl that he had tried to control but who saw him for what he really was, and with the support of her parents, and an injunction she was able to build a new life for herself and her son. As for my child, he told everyone that I miscarried, my own fault for not taking things easy as he had told me to do. The truth was that I did miscarry, as a result of being pushed from the top of the stairs. He found out that I had disobeyed him, the day before, I had gone to see my mother who lived about 5 miles away from where I was living at the time, and I told her that I was pregnant. She did seem a bit disappointed but was ultimately happy that she was going to be a grandmother. I should have told her, I should never have gone back to his house, but I was terrified that she wouldn't believe me, that she wouldn't let me live in her house again, and that I would end up living on the streets. Those were the things he had put in my head, and I genuinely believed them to be the truth. As I lay on the floor at the bottom of the stairs crying and begging him to take me to hospital, I called out for my mother, he stood above me and laughed, and his words as he looked at me in a heap on the floor will haunt me forever. "She can't help you now. No one can. You're mine, and don't ever forget it." 5 hours later he took me into hospital, that night I lost my baby.
It's a horrible thing to feel grief over loosing a baby, a baby that hadn't had a chance to fully grow inside you. I still think about what he or she would be like today, but what will hurt me the most, and is a pain and shame that I will carry with me to the grave, is that I am glad that my baby didn't survive. No child should ever have to have a father like him, and I dread to think what pain our child would have endured at his hands. But mainly (and you have no idea how ashamed I am of this) I am glad, that I don't have a tie to that man. Our child, who I would have loved so much, would have been a constant reminder of how he/she was conceived, and who fathered my child. I would have been connected to that man for the rest of my life, and my child would have had to live with the knowledge that his/her father is a monster, and nothing more than a sex predator.
How do you move on from something like that? How do you carry on living? It's hard; at times it seems impossible, but it can be done. If one person reads this and finds hope in my story, or takes comfort in knowing that they are not alone, then sharing my story today will all have been worth it. If you, and I'm saying this to males as well as females, are currently in a violent relationship just remember that domestic abuse is NEVER acceptable. It's never okay for your partner to raise their hand to you, and there is no excuse for it. The whole "It was only once, I promise it will never happen again." is bollocks! (Excuse my language). I understand that leaving a partner can be daunting, but trust me when I say, that if someone loves you, truly loves you, then they would never hurt you intentionally. I'm one of the lucky ones, I escaped with my life, unfortunately there are so many people out there who have been murdered by their violent partner. There are people suffering in silence right now, wishing for a way out. I want you to hear me now, you are not alone, you are not worthless or unloveable. You ARE strong, you ARE a survivor and you ARE worthy of someone who loves you for who you are, someone who would never hurt or judge you. I'm so lucky, I got my fairytale ending when I met my husband. Someone who has spent the last 9 years letting me know how important I am, how much I am loved, and treating me like a Queen.
For me, the pain that person (because he doesn't deserve to be called a man) inflicted on me won't ever completely go away. It's caused me a lot of suffering over the years, it still does today. I suffer flashbacks, nightmares and even panic attacks because of him and his cronies. I attend therapy to try to deal with all the shit he put me through. It may not go away completely, but I know that I'm strong enough now to talk about my experiences and if I can, help others. Of course, I'm not a professional and I never claim to be, I'm just someone who wants to see some good come out of the bad that I have experienced. Remember, that there are brilliant organisations out there who will help you if you are or have suffered domestic abuse. And if you feel that you are in immediate danger I urge you to call the Police immediately.
Thank you for reading my blog, and if you feel that you would like to discuss anything that I have covered today or if you have any questions then please do not hesitate to get in touch.
"I am not what happened to me, I am what I choose to become." Carl Jung