This Post is an anonymous guest post
I was just a teenage when I suffered from domestic violence. It was the sought of thing you read in magazines and assumed it happened to married, weak women, with too many children to do anything about it.
The first time it happened to me, to be honest, it was just as easy as all that to leave the relationship. It happened pretty quickly, he’d bite me through four layers of clothes and still leave nasty bruises or hit me with sticks. It was clear that this was not right and I was gone.
It did not prepare me at all for what was to come.
I was 16 and very depressed. I was being sexually abused by a family member and couldn’t tell anyone. Things got so bad that I left home and moved into a youth hostel. In fact it was a bail hostel and so I was living with all manner of people. One of which was the guy who had decided to properly take my virginity when I was just under 13 years old (he was 21 at the time).
It was a very frightening time and I didn’t even know how to use a washing machine. Then there came my knight in shining armour. He was nearly 25 years old and so knew how to look after me, and love me. He protected me from the bad things going on in the hostel and made sure I was fed and clean.
He liked me, and that was one of the most important things. Bullied throughout school had left me feeling rather unloved and vulnerable. He protected me by telling me who my friends were. Told me he’d left a cassette recording when we’d left the room and that everyone was saying nasty things about me. That it upset him to hear these things so much that he destroyed the tape. But it was ok, even though no-one else did HE still liked me.
He was actually thrown out of the hostel for being violent to one of the female members of staff – yet I still couldn’t see what he was like. He told me they provoked him as he turned 25 the next day, and the hostel was for 16-25 year olds – so they needed him out. That first night I paid £70 for a hotel room for him so that he didn’t have to go back on the streets.
He managed to find us a room in a shared house. It was £10 a week all inclusive (plus housing benefit, but I didn’t really understand about that back then).
We moved in together and he claimed income support for me. He now had complete control of my money. He used to buy a lot of cannabis.
I think we were still moving my things in when he saw a photo of a male friend, who happened to be an ex too, but we’d grown up together. He smashed it in a jealous rage – asking why on Earth did I still have it. Would I like it if he had a photo of an ex on the wall?! I saw his point and blamed myself for this rage.
The time is all a bit of a blur. I just remember somehow ending up having to try and do all these things to please him – or I would provoke a rage.
I spent all day and into the early hours cleaning. When he came back from “work” dinner would have to be ready.
One day I think I didn’t kiss him when he walked through the door. I can’t remember what he said but know when he’d finished I had a ring of fingerprint marks around my throat. I know I had been kicked around the room like a football, bruises down the length of my arms and legs.
Someone phoned the police. There was nothing they could do, I was a minor too scared to press charges. I had no where to go. And of course he was dreadfully sorry.
He never hurt me to that extent again. Of course he didn’t have to. The damage was done. The fear was there. When he did hit me he was “making an effort” not to do that again.
He’d mainly punch doors behind me, or walls, or smash something instead.
When your self-esteem is on the floor it’s really easy to make you feel special again. A 5 minute back rub, holding your hand in public – showing everyone you’re worth loving, and to really make it up a cheap teddy bear does the trick.
He told me I was disgusting. Normal people bath at least once a day – I was dirty. I sometimes wet the bed – how revolting was I. It never even occurred to me that HE was the reason I was bed wetting – just that at 16 I really shouldn’t be doing it.
I got out. I don’t even know quite how I managed it. I wasn’t even allowed to the toilet on my own (shared house, for my safety, protect me from the others). He locked us both in the room at night and I had to sleep up against the wall. Even when he slept he managed to wake up if I so much as tried to go to the toilet. In his “sleep” he would lean over across me and punch the wall hard. Obviously he couldn’t help it. A bad dream because of his terrible past.
But one day I managed to go to the shop opposite the house alone. There was a phone box and I must have reversed the charges. I rang my best friend’s mom and she told me to ring my mom and go home. Even the sexual abuse at home was better than these beatings. So I rang.
But he wasn’t letting me go.
He said things not worth remembering too traumatic to think of. He put a belt around his neck and tried to hang himself from the door frame. Telling me I’d go to prison for murder.
I moved back home.
It was not like the long lost child stories you hear, No-one cared about me.
My mother beat me.
I remember telling her to punch me – she really was quiet weedy in comparison. And of course the sexual abuse started back up – him knowing I was all the more desperate and low than ever.
I can’t even remember how it happened. A cheap diamond ring, a bunch of flowers? A promise he’d change. Apparent counselling. I just know that after everything I gave him chance after chance.
Then he made my 17th Birthday so special. Delivery of champagne, flowers, teddies – oh it was lovely.
He still hit me, and manipulate me, told me who I couldn’t see – but not in a “telling” way – more in a “she’s trouble” kind of way. But he never physically hurt me like he had before and it was him “trying” not to. Too oblivious to the fact that I complied so much now that he didn’t need to hurt me so much – I was just too scared that he might do those things.
He protected me. Wouldn’t let anyone else hurt me.
Then I became pregnant.
He had TRIED so hard to get me pregnant. In fact I was scared to take the pill as I didn’t want to risk what he would do to me. Later on my counsellor said he raped me, from how I described things – but really I don’t like to think that at all.
He accused me of sleeping around, of having an infection. Said all manner of nasty things.
I suspected him of sleeping with someone else – they laughed in my face. She kept ringing him, so he smashed up the phone.
I got genital warts - I still believed it was me being paranoid.
All the time my step-father was sexually abusing me. He left “lovebites” on my neck. Still no-one cared. My baby’s father KNEW who had put them there, yet still hurt me for them (I was pregnant so he was careful not to give me a reason to leave such as hitting my belly, more a grab on my arm, a slap, forcing me against a wall, door).
But things got really violent with the baby’s father. I remember him having a knife to my throat and me being so scared for my baby that I actually managed to put my hands around his throat and make him drop the knife.
My Mom got Cancer.
I split with the baby’s father.
My Mom couldn’t be at my baby’s birth because she was having treatment. My step dad was the only way I could get to the hospital and I couldn’t tell anyone what he was doing to me. My baby’s father told me it was because I enjoyed it. That I was a dirty slag.
My stepdad and my baby’s father both knew what each other was doing to me and it was a power struggle – and they physically fought. Both wanted to be at the birth and both not wanting the other there.
My biological father said it was best if my baby’s father was allowed at the birth as he’d probably cause even more trouble if not.
Luckily I ended up going into hospital to be induced so both were able to be there. I say luckily because it caused less arguments, and I did have someone to hold my hand.
The hormones of the birth and our precious bundle caused me to give him further chances.
The sexual abuse at home got worse and I moved into my own flat – before it was ready - to escape.
At first I didn’t tell him where it was. Eventually he had moved in. And it was hell.
He did start punching doors and walls – instead of me. Which again was him “trying”.
He’d punch the wall in the night over me, and disturb my sleep.
He wasted money needed for food on cannabis. I had to beg relatives to help me pay for electricity.
One day he threw my baby onto the bed. But that was ok wasn’t it – because he wasn’t hurt!
He joined us on holiday and he really controlled me and ruined it.
He started hitting me under the table in the canteen for something. I’m not even sure what.
He didn’t need to worry about crowds of people - they don’t do a thing.
I remember him smashing the window of my Mom’s chalet – and him running and punching me to the ground in front of a security guard. They still did nothing.
The only reason the police were called was because he’d smashed the window!
I did press charges. Seemed stupid that I was for he had ONLY punched me. Compared to everything else this really was nothing.
He was bound over to keep the peace – whatever that means.
I went home and got an injunction.
I lived in a high rise flat and he could legally wait at the bottom. The police couldn’t actually move him very far. I had a good friend who managed to convince him I wasn’t in and he went up to hers as I escaped out the back of the block.
There is much, much, more to this. And I moved again and was stupid enough to give him another chance. It wasn’t just about me anymore – there was a little boy and he deserved to know his dad.
My son started to get violent and distressed. I tried to get him help for his behaviour but they couldn’t see past my abuse.
I got help from Barnados and something that was said made me decide to stop the abuse.
So I moved far far away.
I got into debt to do it. Borrowed money I didn’t have permission to. Got loans. And I went. Left my family, my friends and everything I knew.
People admire me. But the new life on my own was SO much easier.
It’s been over a decade now since I moved.
I am still a mess.
I trust no-one.
I fear everyone.
I don’t know what is abuse and what is normal.
My emotions flip so quickly and so badly.
But now at least I can go to the shops without fear.
Without my heart beat and my body shaking.
My son has had a normal, healthy life. He doesn’t have the issues he used to have.
I wanted this to be an anonymous post mainly for the sake of my son. But also because it appears that people who haven’t been through it don’t know how to handle it and in turn turn nasty and I don’t know why. I’m fragile enough without anymore hatred inflicted on me. Or they use it against you.
I hope this has helped someone out there.