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Some of you may not see the need for this post, or feel I should have even written it, but this is my place on the web and although it doesn’t go with the sweet and niceties of a “Mummy Blogger” I don’t solely see myself as that.
This post isn’t to give you great answers of how to stop it happening, it’s just going to tell the tale of surviving and being happy after, this isn’t how it would work for all, but maybe this will make some of you see this can happen to anyone and even someone you know, give you a little understanding and give me a chance to finally except my past.
What am I talking about ? Domestic Violence.
It’s still such a hush subject, very few people in the world know what happened to me and those that do, do not know or want to know the full extent, it upsets me a little how little help and understanding my parents gave me once they found out, but maybe that was just their way, I am not sure I shall ever understand, so hear is my story.
I have encountered Domestic Violence twice in my life, in 2 very different degrees, one I have come to terms with, one still haunts me a little.
The first started when I was in my early teens, I won’t go into such great deal about it as it would hurt my family and that is not and would never be my intentions, but I was hit and mentally upset by a family member frequently, it was constantly excused and ignored and at the time I did not realise it was abuse, I thought it was just how things are, this may sound very idiotic but it was the case and I only knew when my life changed massively at 18.
When I was 17, I started dating R, he worked for my Dad’s competition and was a family friend of sorts, I was in a very upsetting point in my life (partly due to above) and he gave me an escape from the situation, I had been bullied through my whole secondary education, I had little to no confidence and R seemed like a sweet kind man on the inside and out. He was only 3 yrs my senior but was already in a fairly well earning job with a very kind family.
Our relationship become quite serious within months and we would stay together near enough every evening, my family liked/loved him, he came across as a very timid/gentile man, who would help my Mom with DIY and shared many interests with my Dad. He would play with my younger siblings and by all intense purposes I seemed like the dominant in the relationship.
We were happy, when I hit 18 we started the mortgage process, we were buying a new build so it took a few months before it would be ready for us to move in but it was ours, my 1st home, I felt very proud.
One day a month before we were due to move we were attending a friends wedding, I was in my usual panic mode, running late, my room was a tip and he couldn’t find his shoes, he was not amused, he was shouting at me and chucking things around the room, I spoke back to him as you do in an argument and quicker than I could even respond I was smacked to the ground with one fail sweep. I lay there stunned, I couldn’t believe he had done it, my silence obviously shocked him and he started crying and apologising, he couldn’t believe what he had done. He went on to say he had never done such a thing before and he was so sorry. I believed him, I mean he had never shown signs before.
I should have realised this was the start, but my head was not thinking, we were just about to move to our 1st home, I would finally escape a life I had hated for so long.
So we moved, we decorated, we made our new house our home and for over 6 mths nothing happened, I forgot all about that day, we had our little spats but by the whole we were happy.
I can’t honestly remember when things started to change, there is no obvious date, because that’s not how the control starts, its gradual, its so you don’t even notice, it started with spending less time with my family, followed by no revealing clothes, followed by no mobile phone, no Internet usage etc.
But I didn’t notice this, it just happened, in July 2001 I left my job working for my family, I started working for a company with an office of 6 men, this is when life really changed, I never gave him grounds to think I was cheating, or had even considered it, but now when I think back I can only assume this is what he thought, this doesn’t in anyway excuse his actions.
The arguments become more frequent, he still never raised a hand to me again at this point, but he would smash things in our home, at first just little pictures on the wall, but as time progressed, he punched a hole in the wall and smashed all my trinkets and gifts from my childhood.
Arguments would become regular, weekly sometimes more, I hated coming home and would work late, this of course caused more problems. The final straw came one day when he smashed our whole living room up and then smashed his skull into the wall, I had enough, I made him leave, I couldn’t take anymore.
I still told no one,I was brought up to keep your problems in house, so I went to work as normal and lived this way for over 2 weeks, no one noticed, as by this point I really had so little contact with friends and family and they did not even seem to care.
Then 3 weeks later, R’s boss and friend came to see me, he had been staying there as he had not wanted his parents to know, he apologised for him, said he missed me and convinced me to allow him back, this was my biggest mistake, but I don’t regret it (I shall explain why later).
So home he came, unlike before he was not hugely over nice, but things weren’t awful. We booked our 1st holiday together for the Spring of 2002, he kept asking me to marry him and have a baby but I was 20, I knew in my heart this was not what I wanted.
I realised I think in my heart then that I didn’t love him, let alone like him, but I had no confidence, I had gained some weight, I felt ugly and terrified, I had no idea how I could leave and he played on this.
I started starving myself again, he constantly would tell me I was unattractive, his temper rose again, he would harm himself, threaten to kill himself, I just focused on my 14 hr days at work, if I wasn’t with him it was fine, I would ask for overtime constantly.
He then lost his job and his temper progressed, he would shout and shout and tell me to lock myself in the Bathroom so he wouldn’t hit me, I thought at this point he was doing me a favour, I thought he cared about me.
Life improved again as he got work and a couple of friends, he started going out some evenings, I liked it as I would have free time to myself, home alone to enjoy my little house that I was working so hard for, what I didn’t know was on these nights out he started to take drugs.
He would return home and wake me for sex, I was to be honest not that interested and would push this off, he would fall asleep and snore away.
Then one night this was not the answer he wanted and I awoke to him on top of me, he raped me, this happened time after time, I would cry and sob and he would laugh or just ignore it.
In the November, I started talking to an old friend again, she was having marital problems and would come stay with us at weekends, we started going out when he was out, I felt like I finally had some escapism, I knew he would not hit or shout at me whilst she was there, so for a couple of mths life was normal, we lived quite separately, he would be the perfect man whilst my friend stayed, even cooking dinners for us, but this didn’t last too long, by now he was taking drugs at least 3 times a week and could not control his temper, this is when the locking myself in the bathroom was not good enough for him, he broke the door from it’s hinges on a few occasions, I would get kicked or hit, always where you could not see a bruise ( I never know whether this was intentional) and would lay awake all night terrified of what would happen, he would smile sweetly as I did for the outside world.
In the Jan 2002 I met Ashley at work, we would chat and talk, he was so funny and made me happy, he was falling in love with me but I explained I lived with someone and did not believe in cheating, by this point R was on one of his kind and caring stages and we were focusing on going away in the March and starting a fresh. But in the back of my mind Ashley was always there, we became good friends and would talk/text frequently (had a work phone by this point) but for me it was strictly platonic, then the evening to end all evenings came.
R had been out all day, with I thought friends, I later found out he had been seeing a girl for sex for the past month, I was at home enjoying a nice Saturday in, Ashley kept texting me, at first just chatting but then he got a little flirty, at 6pm R returned home, a little off his face, my phone beeped as he walked in the door and he started questioning me, screaming and shouting, he then grabbed my phone from my hands and looked at my messages, he saw Red, he smashed my phone, then threw me into a glass door, I screamed and screamed, he ripped the curtains from the walls, called me every name you can probably imagine, he then hit me over and over, for the 1st time I saw red and tried to defend myself, I remember all the times he had hit me, raped me and I scratched at his face, I ran and managed to lock myself in the bathroom. I knew this evening was different, I knew he wouldn’t stop, I was so scared.
He stood at the door screaming and smashing what little we had left, then I heard the front door go, now was my chance, I made it to our bedroom and grabbed the phone, then I realised he was still there, I ran back to the bathroom making it just in time.
As he shouted I rang my mother, I screamed at her he is going to kill me, she couldn’t understand what was happening, she said she was coming over and to ring the police and lock myself in the bathroom.
This just sent him over the edge, he smashed the door in and dragged me out by my hair, he punched me to the floor and then rang my father, he repeatedly shouted on the phone that I was a slag and that he was going to kill me, I remember crying to my Dad saying I loved him and I was sorry, I thought this was my end.
He threw me down the stairs, (I shall never forget painting over my blood smeared along the walls when I sold the house) punched me to the floor and I eventually passed out, I remember the last thing I thought is he is going to kill me. There was no way any of my family would make it in time.
When I came round he was still screaming, but he had thought he had killed me, I was in a heap at the bottom of the stairs and hadn’t moved ( I now know I had been there for 10 minutes) I decided to lay dead still and pray my family got there in time. He then stepped over me and said if your dead then so should I be, got in his car and drove off leaving the front door wide open, I remember laying there for a few more minutes shaking in fear, the cold rushing over me from outside, but I was frozen with the thought he would come back. But he didn’t.
I then become worried for his safety, I am not entirely sure why, some would say guilt, Ashley and my Aunts say cause I am too nice for my own good, I rung his parents who lived down the road, they came up and got to me 1st, his mum cried and cried, she apologised saying she should have warned me, warned me of what ? It turned out R had had temper problems from very early on, once even knocking his father out cold. I couldn’t believe they had allowed this to happen, I don’t blame them, I feel sad for them, he is their child, their only son, we as parents love our children unconditionally, but he could have killed me.
My parents arrived about 5 minutes later, as they walked in, seconds later so did he, he told them all I had been cheating, they calmed him down, the only person that came to be with me was my Stepmum, who up to that point I had never got on with.
My family could not believe in their heads I think that he was the one that had turned like this, how could R be this way, he was such a timid little man, they comforted him as he cried and sobbed.
I left that night, I have never returned to him, I shall be honest if it hadn’t been for knowing their were men like Ashley in the world this post could end very differently, I had hope, he gave me strength.
This was not the end though, I had a house with him, I had to see him on several occasions, luckily our house sold very quickly, but he made my life a misery, my family never I think believed my side of the story, they never sat down and asked what my life had been like, they never helped me through the process after. They in fact still saw R and still do, he works for a company who works along side my Dad’s and he used to come into our offices frequently, this was like hell on earth.
I later found out that he had tried and did have sex with my so called friend whilst she stayed with us, he took a credit card out in my name and left me with £7k worth of debt, he went around telling everyone that I had cheated on him. His life did not improve, he lost his jobs due to drugs and since has hit the wrong woman and ended up worst off himself. I don’t feel sorry for him, to be honest I feel nothing, but I am no longer scared of him.
What people don’t realise is when you walk out of these relationships this is not the end, R had ruined me, he had taken every little piece of me and stomped on it, I felt unattractive, pathetic and useless, I do believe if I had not met Ashley when I did I probably would have killed myself.
Ashley with his support and love is how I can now talk about this and realise it was not my fault.
It was a couple of months before we got together properly, things did move quite quickly and we moved in together straight away, he made me feel pretty, he made me realise that my life was worth living, but this was not easy for us. I couldn’t think about being close to him, when we first lived together we hadn’t even slept together, I had not realised how terrified I had become of men, Ashley and I will never forget the day of what we call “The Milk Incident”, I was downstairs making a cup of tea and the milk slipped from my hand and spilt on the floor, I let out a scream, by the time Ashley had run downstairs I was no where to be seen, I had become so scared of events like this, I had shut myself in the hall cupboard and was crying and shaking in fear, Ash only found me for my sobs, as he opened the door I pleaded for him not to hit me, it took 20 minutes for him to convince me to come out of that cupboard, events like this happened for months, Ashley’s patience was amazing, he loved me, he proved that to me everyday and stood by as I rebuilt my life, we shared something that many would not understand.
Some of you maybe asking why I wouldn’t change what happened, what happened to me was awful, this post is just a snippet of events that occurred regularly, I never thought I would be the sort of person who would be abused. I was stronger than that. I am not ashamed of what happened to me, it was not my fault, I had been transformed. But without all that happened to me I do not believe I would realise how truly wonderful life can be, how you can meet someone and feel love like I do, I would not wish what happened to me on anyone, it has taken me many years to rebuild my life and I am not sure I will ever fully get there, but I am no longer scared, I would not let someone hurt me again.
Thank you Ashley for giving me the confidence and support to be me again.