Wednesday, 2 October 2013
Have you ever wondered how women and sometimes even men, end up in a domestically violent relationship? I use to. A cousin of mine was telling mum and me about how her boyfriend beat her. I was horrified, I looked at her confused and asked her by she didn't just leave. She looked at me, as confused and said its not that easy. I thought "that would never happen to me".
And yet, now I am a survivor of a relationship which was violent. I consider myself one of the lucky ones. I got out before I was hospitalised, before I had children to the man I was with, before it killed me but not before it left its scars. Even three years on this writing this makes me feel physically unwell and anxious.
I share my story because I think it is something that is often not spoken about but really needs to be because it happens too often. And too many excuses are made when it does.
Those who know me were surprised to find out that I had been in a domestically violent relationship. I am strong, intelligent, well educated, capable and a fighter in my own right. How then did I end up in a violent relationship? I asked my self that question many times and now, after some serious reflection, I have some insight into why I stayed.
It sneaks up on you. There are the fights, yelling and name calling. You become use to it, it doesn't scare you as much as it use to. And then he ups the ante. He starts throwing things. At first your shocked and then you tell yourself that he doesn't mean to scare you. He loves you after all. Then he apologises. You tell yourself maybe it’s your fault. Maybe if I did something different he wouldn't get so angry. You stop fighting back. You keep quiet. Yet that dosen’t seem to work. He still gets so angry and then he hurts you for the first time. In my case he picked me up and threw me out of the bedroom on to the concert floor. I sat on the ground shocked. What just happened. I’m bruised and not just my body. He tells me it's my fault. I shouldn't have made him angry. I know it's not and tell him if he ever touches me again Ill leave. He promises to be better and he is. At least for a while.
Everyone has a different breaking point. Mine was the 5th incident, he verbally abused me for what felt like hours, destroyed the room, threw me against a wall, hit me with whatever's he could get his hands on before I crawled into bed. He was in the doorway and wouldn't let me leave. Ignoring him only made it worse. He kicked a box at me, which hit me in the head, hit the window and glass rained down onto me. The neighbours called the police.
I left, decided to take out an intervention order aka AVO and tried to repair the damage. I told a few friends and family what happened and they supported me through it all. A big thank you to them.
I write this not so you will feel sorry for me but because domestic violence can happen to anyone. It is often not spoken about and people feel isolated when they are in that situation. They blame themselves and feel helpless. Without the amazing people around me, I wouldn't be as ok as I am. I do however still have and possibly always will emotional scars. And I hope that people will read this and do something different. That could be get out when you see the warning signs, support someone you think might be in a bad relationship or understand that your violence leaves scars you will never see and may never go away.
Don’t just wait for white ribbon day.
White Ribbon day is on the 25nd of November. For more information go to: http://www.whiteribbon.org.au/.