I have been enjoying reading the articles on here for a while now, but having read a brave account of a violent relationship recently, I finally feel as though I may have the courage to speak out about what happened to me. I am keeping myself anonymous, only because none of my friends know what happened, and my family are in another country, so also do not know. This is how I would like to keep it so that I do not become a victim in their eyes, I carry that burden alone.
I am not a writer, by any means, but I will try to give an accurate account of my experience in the hope that it may encourage anyone out there that needs help to come forward rather than waiting as long as I did.
Boxing day 2011 I found myself in hospital. Looking around the Accident and Emergency waiting room, I couldn’t help but feel grateful that I had my husband with me; he was a far better organiser than me and had the most amazing ability to just ‘get things done’. Needless to say, I was quickly whisked through to triage, in a wheelchair, before being popped into a cubicle to await further examination. I was in a lot of pain, but the hubby stroked my hair and took my mind off what was happening by indulging me with reality television talk. Poor thing. He was visibly wincing by the time I started telling him about the Kardashians.
When the doctor finally came in, he examined me, saying that he suspected I had a number of broken ribs, a broken arm and possibly a concussion from my fall and that I needed x-rays and other tests to make sure I was not bleeding internally. We nodded that we understood and in came a nurse to take some blood and get me into a flattering open-backed gown. Shooing my husband out (much to his annoyance), the nurse was gentle and efficient before sitting on the trolley with me and asking how I was hurt.
I wracked my brain but I couldn’t tell her, because I didn’t know. All I knew for sure was that I had fallen, because when I woke up I was on the kitchen floor, dizzy with pain and shouting out for my husband. She said I shouldn’t worry too much and that it will all come back to me in time and let my husband back in. He resumed the hair stroking and asked what the nurse had said so I relayed what had happened. As I turned to look at him, I remembered how I ended up on that floor in so much pain. His face had the same expression as it did when he threw me down onto it and started kicking me. It took everything I had to not scream and to smile at him.
The worst incident of our 3-year marriage so far, something inside me suddenly changed. As I looked at the meager tinsel decorations on the curtain rail, I realised that I needed to escape but that my husband would not just let me go. I needed to be clever. I told him how annoying and invasive I found the nurse (I really didn’t) and calmed him with my assurances that what goes on at home is our own business, all the hospital staff needed to do was fix me up and let us go. He seemed pleased by this and even asked if I wanted something to eat from the vending machine. This was a huge treat as he monitored my food carefully so that I stayed a size 8. I told him that whatever he thought I should have would be nice and off he went.
Almost as if she read my mind, in dashed my nurse again. As I stared at her, fear got the better of me and stopped my words. She simply asked me if I needed help and I nodded. “Don’t worry, I’m on it” she said. Still the most comforting words I have ever heard because I knew that she did. She ducked back out before my husband came back in with my treat.
As I was being fed my fourth Malteaser of the six I was allowed, two burly orderlies came to wheel me to x-ray, telling my husband he could come too but would have to wait in the waiting room while I was being examined. The picture of domestic bliss, he held my hand the whole length of the corridor and took a seat to wait for me to re-emerge, not knowing that I wouldn’t.
Inside the x-ray room, 2 police officers were waiting for me, one male and one female. Unaccustomed to such consideration, I burst into tears when the male officer asked if I was comfortable with him being there, before telling them everything; the years of violence and abuse and how terrified I was of trying to get away and then that phrase again, “Don’t worry, we’re on it”. And they were. Everything happened in such a blur but I was never again alone with my husband and finally, after a few months, I was free.
As we now fly full force into autumn, I am coming up to the third anniversary of the day that was simultaneously the worst and best of my life. The hubby is now the ex (and has been convicted of GBH), I am in a different city with a fantastic job (I had previously not been allowed to work in case I met other men) and a great bunch of friends. I have not had a relationship since him and frankly I don’t want one. It’s not that I think all men are violent, I just don’t want to put myself at risk. Some people may think that I am missing out but I have never been happier and because I haven’t ever had a ‘good’ relationship, I don’t know what I’m missing. Ignorance really is bliss for me.
I still attend counseling, have taken a self-defense class and am doing everything I can to move forward, but I am not ashamed to admit that I think there will always be lasting damage. It’s not weak to still be afraid or to hide this part of my history from my new friends, it is my choice and for once, that is all that matters. I have scars and lingering pain that serve as a constant reminder that I have every right to be cautious but I am hoping that by writing about this on here, maybe I will be able to let go just a little bit more.