For the first time, I am telling my story to members of the public, my story is open to opinion, and I am terrified. Will I be judged because I was too scared to leave my boyfriend?
I was 14 years old when I met him; he was the eldest brother of one of my friends at school. At twenty years of age, I thought he was amazing; he had a job, a car, and money. To a naive 14-year-old school girl these things are beyond impressive.
At the time I was dating a boy from school who was the same age as me, so I didn’t look at John in a romantic way, more of a friend, he didn’t even notice me.
Then he had an awful accident, he nearly died.
That’s when everything started.
Once he found out I was single, he began to show an interest in me, paying me little comments and remarks. And now he wasn’t working anymore, every time I went to my friend’s house he was there.
I guess I felt sorry for him at first. He had just nearly died, but soon a bond began to grow, and I started to have feelings for him.
He was 21, and I was 15
We were an item within weeks, and I was so happy, so how could I go from this to being too scared to leave to my boyfriend?
I had been a virgin when I first met John, not wanting to have sex before marriage, but John soon started working on changing that. I was besotted with him, and he knew it.
He was so lovely at. First, he gave positive comments, always reassuring me and making me feel good. But he would also slip in offensive little negative comments too; the verbal abuse had started.
“Nobody else will care for you like I do.”
“All the boys your age will just hump you and dump you.”
“I love you; you would sleep with me.”
Looking back, I can see that he was messing with my head and trying to make me feel like I could never do any better than him. At the time, I did not notice this.
I cannot tell you all how much I wish I had seen it. If I had, the next four years of my life would not have been the hell they were.
I became too scared to leave my boyfriend
So, in February 2005, after dating for almost three months, I finally slept with him. I hadn’t wanted too. He had forced the subject so much and told me he would leave me if I didn’t. I only closed my eyes and tried to think of nice things.
We were in his mother’s flat, a scummy little two bedroom affair. Not how I pictured my first time at all. I lay and cried my heart out when it was over. He only lay next to me smiling and said “well you had to do it sometime. No man likes a frigid girl”.
After that, he was lovely, behaved like the model boyfriend for a few months. I couldn’t bring myself to have sex with him again, and that’s when it all began to change, but I was too scared to leave him.
At first, it was merely minor modifications, but it didn’t take long for it to turn nasty, and by December 2005 my life was a living hell. I was in an abusive relationship and had no idea how to get out of it. John controlled my whole life; I was his puppet. All he had to do was say “jump”, and I would say “how high?”
He would cut all contact with me for weeks, and I would be lost, I felt isolated. Then he would come crawling back, I should never have taken him back, but I was too scared to leave him.
I believed that no other man would want me
Everything I did was dictated by him, and if I stepped out of line, it would be a swift dig in the ribs or a crack across the back of the head. I lost all my friends; I had no Friends, no life. All I had was John.
He told me where I could go, who I could go with. How I could dress, and if I stepped out of line, I had to deal with his fists. I started college in September 2007. This was maybe a chance to make friends and start again? But he had a copy of my timetable, and if I were late back to his flat, he would beat me until I begged him to stop. He never hit me where you would see a bruise, though, the ribs were his favourite.
One night, I can remember coming back to his flat late from college. I had been for a drink with some people off my course. I walked in, and he was fuming. He pinned me up against the kitchen wall by my throat, and I genuinely thought I was going to die. I pulled a knife off the bench and held it to his face. He dropped me but proceeded to kick the shit out of me, I knew I had to get out, but I was too scared to leave him.
All I could do was cry and wish to God that I was out of this nightmare. I was too afraid to leave him; it was never that simple. I tried to tell people what was happening, but my friends didn’t believe me. Anyone who met John didn’t believe me. Everyone thought he was so sweet. John also told me that if I ever told anyone, he would kill my mum and dad. I was so naive. I was too scared to leave my boyfriend.
I was fully under his control
From the age of 15 until the age of 18 (almost 19) he managed my life, my friends, my social activities. He beat me, and he raped me. He shattered my self-confidence and reduced me to a shadow of my former self. I didn’t think it would ever stop. Then one morning, I woke up. I was still living with my parents at the time, it was a month before my 19th birthday, and I looked at myself in the mirror, I didn’t recognise myself, and it was at that very moment I asked myself what I was doing.
I was too scared to leave him butI had too, or he would kill me. It was that very day that I cut all contact with John, I changed my mobile number, my email address and stopped messaging him on Myspace and Facebook. It was the hardest and best day of my life.
I was finally free
A week after that, he started dating his cousin. For months he tried to make my life hell. He would message me on Facebook, and he was refusing to give me my belongings back. He was still trying to assert control over the tiniest part of my life. I just ignored him. Finally, aged 20, after five years, I was free. He stopped messaging me. He stopped contacting me.
I am now 22, married and I have a 2-year-old son. I am finally happy although I never thought it would happen. As for John? He is living with another innocent young girl who will also be too scared to leave him, I hope so does, for her sake. He will never change, and I remember how it felt to be too scared to leave my boyfriend, I hope she isn’t feeling that fear too.
But I have moved on with my life, and I am finally happy and no longer afraid. I escaped domestic violence, and I am a survivor, and you can escape it too.
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