I wanted to share my story because it was a story I never thought I would escape and I’m sure many people also feel that way. I did escape. I have a beautiful life now.
When I was 16, I was in a vulnerable place, I was pregnant and about to get an abortion. It wasn’t really what I wanted, but it was the best choice at that time. (I now have children). I wasn’t with the child’s father, but an older man I knew started to show his interest. He was 25. My best friend was dating his best friend. We were at sixth form. So I had the abortion, I was mentally in a weird place because of it. Somehow I ended up dating this man but I kept it secret. I didn’t tell my parents for six months. I knew how they’d react. I don’t know why that wasn’t enough of a sign to me to stop dating him.
Anyway stupid sixteen year old girls don’t always make the best decisions. It wasn’t a great relationship but I’d never had a decent relationship so I didn’t realise how bad it was. It was only after we moved in together when I started University that things got bad. We used to have drinks with friends at weekends, house parties and we would always end up arguing. Those arguments were loud and scary. Most of them ended in him throwing something, smashing something, or hurting me in some way. The police were called a couple of times.
One time he was saying rude things about my family when drunk, and I drunkenly slapped him. Perhaps this was a bad move, perhaps too violent or perhaps just because of safety concerns. Anyway, because I slapped him he head butted me. Twice.
I tried to leave. It was the middle of the night. We were both drunk. I was packing my things, finally with the courage to go, as long as I did it right then. But then he called the police. HE CALLED THEM. And being someone who doesn’t run from the police I thought I should stay, I didn’t want them to turn up and I wasn’t there in case it looked bad! So I didn’t leave that night, instead, since we were both drunk, we were both arrested and made to wait in the cells until morning. They told me I shouldn’t be in that relationship. They told me they weren’t pressing charges against me and was I sure I didn’t want to press charges against him. I said I didn’t. I just wanted out. They gave me all the leaflets for domestic violence services. I hid them.
I went back and packed my stuff. I went back to my parents.
Somehow, he still managed to convince me to come back.
Later, I got pregnant. It wasn’t an accident. I had been told so many times that no one would ever want me, I’d never find anyone better, that somehow that tiny voice in my brain saying ‘that’s not true!’ Was drowned out. I never knew how to escape, how to stop believing him.
I always wanted to be a mum, and I thought I’d have to be with him forever so I thought it was my only option.
He was useless through the pregnancy, completely not interested, even though he wanted to ‘settle down’. After the baby was born he was more helpful. I remember one time I was asleep and the baby was asleep and the midwife was coming later that day. I woke up to the flat completely spotless, midwife here. I was amazed and I thought maybe we had a chance of making it work.
I realise now he probably just did that to make the midwife think he was great, he did that a lot. Everyone else would think he was amazing. A great boyfriend, a great dad. He showed a differnt person to them. A fake person.
Six months after my baby was born, he finally managed to get a job (for two weeks!). On the last day he worked (I don’t think he’s worked since then and my baby is 7 now), he started a huge argument because the baby woke him up before his alarm for Work. Like it was my fault and I should make the baby sleep for those extra ten minutes?!
So we had a huge row, and he held up his fist to me to threaten me. He had this kind of personal barrier that hitting a woman with a fist is wrong despite all the other times he’d hurt me. So I was kind of desperate for him to break that and I could finally leave. I shouted at him to just do it. He did. He punched me in the jaw. I was shocked. But at last I had a way out. I knew that if he could break that barrier, he could do anything and I couldn’t let my baby stay in that danger.
I packed up and left. Little did I know I was already pregnant with number two. Lucky it wasn’t a stomach punch.
I spent a long time being harassed, he’d come to my parents house in the middle of the night, drunk, or worse, and scream and demand to see ‘his kid’ that he never bothered with beforehand. We ended up going through Family court to sort access, and at first he was told his anger and drinking meant he was not safe to be around the baby and the new one.
He made horrible accusations, said the new baby wasn’t his, hoped I’d have a miscarriage, said I’d slept with all his friends, and once he had a fight with a friend and then went to the police and accused me of inflicting the wounds he had. They came and arrested me when I was pregnant, and I had to sit in the cells pregnant and alone and scared until they finally decided they had no evidence that could back up his claim. He sent social services to see me, claiming I wasn’t looking after the baby, they came and saw I was doing great. It was a hellish nightmare for a long time.
For him it wasn’t about getting his kid back or that he loved me. He had ‘lost’. So instead he had to make me ‘lose’.
It took me a long time, years of anxiety and depression, years of panic attacks at the sound of men shouting, but I’m recovering.
I have two beautiful children. They still see their dad but he’s about to have a new baby with his new partner and seems to be less interested in my babies now.
I have an amazing partner. He is an amazing dad, exactly how anyone could wish for. A thousand times better dad than their ‘real’ dad. He has helped and supported me so much, helped me get the help I needed, depression medication etc. I never knew that men could be like him. I never thought I would meet one.
I want every person in this nightmare to realise that decent people are out there. They will want you. They do not see all those ‘faults’ your partner or ex partner said you have. They see the beautiful soul you have inside, the strength it takes to live through all that, and the way you can still love and be kind after all that.
Do whatever it takes to get the strength to leave. Protect your self. Protect your children. These people do not deserve your love or compassion, they deserve to Ben left alone. Get a restraining order, find a safe place, find family or friends or anyone willing to give you a safe place. Speak to the domestic violence charities. Find other victims or survivors. YOU ARE STRONG AND YOU CAN DO IT. I was a weak 19yr old with no life experience, desperate for a big strong man to look after me. Do not kid yourself that it isn’t as bad as it aeems. It is. It is worse. You deserve better. Do not believe the lies.