I want to introduce you to a young woman I used to know who suffered horrendous treatment at the hands of the man she loved. I could never understand why she stayed for almost 11 years with this vile man. This young woman had 3 children with this man and each time she thought a baby would change him. Foolishly believing a baby would calm him down, make him love her, but of course, nothing changed. He just became jealous of the children who took up so much of her time and love.
All she ever wanted was a happy and safe home for her babies, but no matter how much she tried she could not stop him doing the things he did. This woman became a nervous wreck having to live her life walking on egg shells. She feared the outside world, feared him and more sadly she feared herself.
Fearing what would happen to her children
This young woman who I knew well spent each day wondering if it would be her last, she was tortured at the hands of the very person who told her he loved her. She was too scared to leave him. He had warned her many times that he would burn the house down while she and their children slept if she ever tried to leave him and she believed him.
Leaving him for another man was never going to happen, although he accused her daily of cheating, he would tell her endless times that nobody would ever want her, she was damaged goods. Her self-confidence was stripped bare and she agreed with him, she didn’t deserve him, she should be thankful she had him.
Anorexia became her best friend
While he controlled a majority of what she could do, she did find someone who she could have full control over, her new beast friend, anorexia. She began starving herself of food and soon developed an eating disorder, she lost 3 stone quickly and when she weighed only 6 stone he still told her she was fat.
She knew she had to leave him long before she did. The beatings became more severe. She had lost her mind, hearing voices became a part of her daily life, mostly telling her to kill herself or to kill him.
This young woman was subjected to acts of verbal abuse and mind games that no words could ever describe some of the inhumane ways in which he treated her.
This young woman hid her secret well
Putting on a smile on her face to the outside world she looked as if she had it all. Owning a successful brick and mortar children’s clothing shop, wearing the high-end designer clothing, her children always well dressed and well-behaved. The large house and the new car made them the envy of the small village.
But she was far too busy dedicating her life to protecting her children, fearing he would hurt them at any opportunity to notice what everyone thought of her. Behind closed doors she was nothing more than a punchbag yet still she did everything in her power to make him happy.
This young woman had a complete nervous breakdown, didn’t even know what her own name was, no longer able to remember a life before the depression. The thought of taking her own life plagued her waking moments, she didn’t want to die but she didn’t want to live either.
Things would only get worse
One evening her 3-year-old son was refusing to get into bed and although she tried desperately to quiet him, he woke up his daddy and this man, a father to three. Picked up his son and shock him mid-air, before throwing him across the room. He landed with a thump but it was the thumps that followed that almost cost this young woman her life.
Like a lioness she pounced, making sure her children were safe she turned her attention to the predator who was stalking his prey, knowing she had to protect her children she led the attacker away from them by deliberately making him punch and kick her.
Only she knows what took place in that house that night and that’s not something she will ever expose to anyone else, a secret among many she will take to her grave.
The following morning when he left for work she phoned Social Services. She walked into the GP surgery and asked to speak to her Health Visitor. That day she had the locks on the doors changed and he never stepped foot inside the family home again. Without a doubt she broke into a thousand pieces, drowning in a sea of guilt, she had allowed her child to be hurt. She would spend the rest of her life living with this guilt.
She gave up her career, her home and moved the children back to her hometown near to her family and began to rebuild her life.
This young woman left that man 11 years ago
Although it’s been so many years she still carries the mental scars that domestic violence inflicted upon her. She now has to see mental health workers who help her live in the real world, abuse was all she knew. Being diagnosed with Post Traumatic Stress, Bipolar, Anxiety, and Anorexia should have come as no shock and she will now have to take medications for the rest of her life, but at least she is free.
This young woman now dedicates her time helping other women who feel afraid and alone. She raises awareness of domestic abuse yet she still blames herself daily for allowing her children to be part of something so damaging. The nightmares she has as she tries to sleep remind her of how lucky she was to escape.
Are you wondering how I know so much about this young women?
Well, this young woman is me!
If you are a victim of domestic violence and do not know where to turn, please get in touch.
The Freephone 24 Hour National Domestic Violence Helpline
Refuge – The helpline is run in partnership between Refuge and Women’s Aid. It is open 24 hours a day, seven days a week for women experiencing domestic violence. All calls are confidential.
Women’s Aid – Freephone 24 hr National Domestic Violence Helpline Run in partnership between Women’s Aid & Refuge