I asked 25 mothers to describe domestic violence for me:
1 – Domestic violence is heart-breaking, but at the time I thought it was normal because he loved me so I put up with it, it’s totally destroyed me now. I can’t move on, I’m weight conscious, I’m nervous and my confidence is nowhere to be seen.
2- Its heart breaking, you think the person loves you and would never harm you; they go and prove you wrong. Your whole world falls apart, it’s a vicious circle because you love them and you start to make excuses for their actions.
3 – The abusive relationship I was in still affects me 4 and half years later. The physical scars have healed, but the mental pain hasn’t.
4 – I would describe domestic violence as life ruining, a constant fear. You are always weary. It is also very lonely.
5 – I’ve never been in a domestic violence relationship, but seeing people I know getting beat up makes me feel so helpless, knowing I cannot do much until that friend is ready to leave and break the control the partner has over them.
6 – I was in a previous abusive relationship. I was with him for 4 years and in the beginning he made me feel like a total princess. Then he gained my trust and everything changed. I was controlled and told what I could and couldn’t wear. Then the punches came and the strangulation. Followed by being kicked down the stairs and miscarrying a baby.
He also raped me and allowed others to rape me. Because of his behaviour my trust with my husband is almost none existing. I rarely have sex with my husband, not because I don’t fancy him but because of panic and fear and bad memories. My husband is amazing but because of my past I keep him at arm’s length. I have to see a councillor and we are both going to marriage counselling.
7- I was on the other end of domestic violence, I became an abuser. After I lost my daughter I turned into a bitter and angry person and because I wasn’t happy, I didn’t allow my partner to be either. It nearly destroyed us, but together we got through it with help from professionals.
8- When I was with my ex, he was always so nice to everyone else, and they thought he was an angel. He even used to get in my face and say “no one will believe you because they all think I’m golden boy”, and it was true. But one day I did show his boss (and mine) what he had done, a big massive bruise my back, a big cut at top if my arm which is now a nasty scar and more bruising, where he had pushed me down stairs.
I was always looking over my shoulder to see if i was talking to the ‘wrong ‘ person. I lost all confidence, I was constantly on edge, and I attempted suicide a few times.
9- It’s draining and heart-breaking not just physically but mentally, it slowly destroys you and your life inside and out. You are constantly on edge and scared to breathe in the wrong direction in case there are consequences. You’re afraid to speak out or answer a question incorrectly, just being constantly controlled by a monster and made to feel like a piece of crap that isn’t worthy of a happy life.
I would describe domestic violence as numbing
10- You shut off your emotions making you unresponsive, even to the good emotion like that of a child. Social and developmental regression becomes enviable for both yourself and your children. This may trigger outbursts and behavioural issues.
11- I didn’t experience domestic violence but I was forced into my husband’s religious oppressive views. I wasn’t allowed to wear shorts that were more than 3 inches above the knee, not allowed to wear jewellery, listen to certain music, and eat certain things. I never got out of the house. He owned every ounce of my being.
I totally lost myself. I was a shell filled with fear and self-loathing. It destroyed me and has left me with deep-rooted fears and scars. Even now I suffer from fear and self-doubt. But each day away from that evil man means I’m getting stronger and can be a better mum and person.
12- It makes you doubt yourself, it’s made even worse when people don’t believe you, and it’s a soul-destroying place to be.
13- It’s the hardest thing I’ve ever had to deal with; it’s like being suffocated but from within. The look your children give you when you say “no daddy didn’t do that bruise or mark”, but they know that he did.
Let me describe domestic violence for you says another mum
14- I was in a same-sex domestic violence relationship for 3 and a half years and during that time I was isolated from family and friends. My confidence took a huge knock and I was even restricted on food intake, sometimes food was with-held completely for days at a time. Bathing was none existent for a while too which made me feel even worse about myself. I managed to leave at the point of her putting a pint glass over my head.
I was the one prosecuted though on 7 accounts, I reported her and still I was the one punished. My current partner also had me by the throat last week; we have been together almost 4 years and have a baby together, so currently I’m taking steps to prevent this happening again. The police are involved.
This time round it’s harder for me (although less violent) because I have the emotional attachment to him and having my son with him and I don’t want him growing up not knowing his daddy. The hardest thing for me is I know I would like a relationship and like daddy around but knowing I have to put up with this. I feel for any family/person having to live with domestic violence.
Domestic violence comes in many forms and has been a subject of my life for many years although at most points I have been unaware as I just accepted it as normal.
“You accept it as normal”
15- Domestic violence takes away your whole essence; it steals your personality, your dreams and hopes, and your soul. You become a robot; living only to keep your abuser happy because you know what will happen if you don’t. You walk on eggshells, scared what reaction your words or actions will provoke.
You become nothing more than a slave; there to do whatever your abuser wants, you degrade yourself by doing things that disgust you because he demands you do them. You are not living; you are existing just for him to be happy.
16- Their demands will always change, just as you think you’ve done the right thing, they want something else. I went through domestic violence for 20 years with my now ex, and his big thing was making me work on websites for him from 8am till 4am every single day, even birthdays and Xmas.
I would get them all the way he wanted them to look, over 250 websites, and no sooner had I finished changing them, he changed his mind and wanted them all done again. That was my life for 20 years, along with physical, sexual and emotional abuse daily.
17- I tried to leave several times, but he always promised he would change, and for a few weeks he would, then go back to how he was before. I finally decided to leave when he attacked my then 12-year-old daughter, pushing her head down into the sofa telling her that he would curse her and send demons to chase her when she was sleeping, all because she tried to stop him attacking me.
I managed to contact his brother and told him to come and get him out of the house, which he did. He stayed with his brother for a few weeks and then he promised he would get therapy and anger management so I took him back, my family weren’t happy and eventually called social services which I am so glad they did now as over the following weeks it got worse.
He kept me and the kids prisoner in the house, took our phones off us, threatened to kill me and kids and then himself, he tried to drink rat poison and because I stopped him. He tried to make me drink it. when social services stepped in, they put demands on him which he didn’t like and he refused to leave the house even though I had told him it was over between us.
One day while he was at a mental health assessment, the social worker came with the police and removed me and kids from the property, helped me get a restraining order and got him removed a week later. It all happened so fast that day, but so glad it did
18- These men show a different face to others than the one we see, to everyone else they are perfect, so wonderful and then behind closed doors we see the real monsters they become, so when we do finally speak up and seek help, no-one believes that he could be that way.
Let me describe domestic violence as I see it says another mum
19- I thought I had found the man of my dreams. I spent 4 and half years with him. The first couple of months were great but as soon as I fell pregnant with our baby he changed dramatically. He would go out to the pub just so he wouldn’t be at home with me and our baby. The violence started as soon as he came back from the pub.
I was 6 months at the time and sorry for my language but the bastard threw me down a flight of stairs. My first little girl was born stillborn. As soon as she wasn’t there, not in our lives anymore he changed again to be nice. Then about 2 years later I fell pregnant again with our little man.
I went the full term with him but again the bastard threw me down stairs, had me up against the walls with his hands around my neck and sorry but he kicked me in my ribs and broke some which went straight to my son lungs and the evil nasty bastard had punctured his son lungs my baby died in my arms 8 hours old.
My confidence went out the door, he cut my hair, put locks on all food cupboards so I couldn’t eat. I left him after all the shit he had put me through and never looked back.
20- Domestic violence is literally unwillingly losing control of yourself, losing your identity losing your self-worth, self-esteem and many other things. It destroys you. at first you are in denial that it was abuse (they just had a bad day, I made them angry, it won’t happen again) then before you know it you are stuck financially and emotionally,.
You can’t leave because of fear or guilt or manipulation or you just think well it’s my fault or I deserve it, I grew up witnessing my mother being abused. Then my sisters and I were also abused by my step farther. At 14 I found myself kicked out of my parents’ house and fell prey to a predator.
For the next 6 years I was abused by this man I saw as an uncle. Thirty years my senior, I was emotionally, physically and sexually abused by this monster. But for six years I did nothing.
Why would I?
My mom didn’t it was almost normal to me. I lived abuse every day of my life for twenty years. I hated my abuser, I hated my stepdad my mother but most of all I hated myself.
Four years now I have been free of violence free of abuse well other than the self-abuse, the negative self-talk. But I survived. I am on the road to recovery. I am every day getting stronger. It will be a lifetime of healing but I will get there. I now dedicate my life to helping others and providing a healthy, happy life for my beautiful children.
“Domestic violence ruined my life”
21- If I were to describe domestic violence I would say that it ruined me. I’m not the person I once was, all I can say is that 10 years on I still have nightmares and think he’s going to still get me.
22- Soul destroying, feel worthless and deserving of everything you get. I’m a stronger person for it (I hope) my husband has been my rock and my saviour he’s made me realise what it feels like to be loved it’s an amazing feeling to know I’ve come out the other end.
23- It broke me. Made me feel alone and useless. I felt degraded and hurt that someone who’s supposed to love you could do that. I was controlled.
24- The physical damage can heal in time but I always remember the emotional abuse. It makes me worry about new partners and if it would happen again. It made me feel not good enough like I have something wrong with me. You want to feel strong and not let anyone know that something’s wrong but in the end its good to talk with someone you feel close to and can trust. You have to speak out as suffering in silence isn’t good.
25- It’s destroyed me, I’ve got no confidence, and I’m a different person. I now suffer with anxiety because of it and it keeps haunting me.
How would you describe domestic violence?