Domestic Violence.

I don’t really want to do this post as I don’t want sympathy or people accusing me of making this up for attention. I don’t want attention, what I do want is to possibly help someone who might be in a situation like I was 5 years ago. It might not be you, but it could be your best friend, your sister or your next door neighbour.

I was in an abusive relationship. I won’t go into identifying details as there is no point. What’s done is done and I can’t change it, and he will have to answer to the Lord when the time comes.

I met someone through a mutual friend, and at first I thought “what a slob”. But after going to visit my friend’s house with him there a few times I thought he was charming, funny and thoughtful. He was also in the process of getting his child from a child protection agency as the child had been taken from its mother as a baby. What a man, I thought. He was employed, had a car and seemed to have his head screwed on right.

I moved in only a few months after meeting him. I gave up my job so I could care for his child while he was at work and things were great. We had a similar sense of humour and just got along really well.
It wasn’t until a few months later that things went pearshaped. Small things started to happen, especially when we had been drinking, so nothing was usually made of it. The violence escalated though and several times in that first year I would seek refuge at my sisters house or my parents house. I would go back the next day and he acted as though nothing happened. I was wondering if I was just imagining things.
That ended up being the pattern of our relationship, although I wouldn’t always go to someone’s house. I would just put up with it and stay there until we woke up the next day and it was as if nothing had happened.
I would say that nearly all of our fights and arguments happened while we were drunk. One time he ended up choking me and pulling a fistful of my hair out. I fled to my parents house and they saw the marks on my neck, but they didn’t really say anything. I guess they thought I was an adult and I could look after myself. I never reported it to the police or went to a doctor either. Something I still regret to this day.

It wasn’t just the physical abuse either, it was mental and emotional as well. It got so bad that I was genuinely starting to think I was going crazy. I would often joke that I wanted to go to the mental hospital to have a holiday that’s how bad I was.
I was made to think that I had deserved everything I got.
I was the one who was the main carer for his child, which meant I basically had to do everything. Bathe, dress, feed and discipline the child. Not a big deal you say? Well it was. This child was born at least 4 weeks premature with a drug addiction. The birth mother was a drug addict. I know, I know, that should have been my first hint, but he was always saying he hated drugs like that and that he didn’t know she was doing those drugs.
According to reports, this child was severely neglected and was even given valium crushed up in its bottles so the mother didn’t have to look after it. (My apologies for calling the child an ‘it’ but like I said, I don’t want to give away any identifying details.)
This child was diagnosed with things like ADHD, hirsutism, sensory issues and all sorts of other things. So I was really thrown in at the deep end looking after this child. I was young and naive and didn’t realise the problems this sort of role (of mother) would have.
I was the main disciplinarian, but when my partner at the time didn’t like the way I did something, I copped it, even though he would do worse. I was made to feel as though I got what I deserved because of the way I disciplined this child.
Admittedly I wasn’t the best mum/stepmum as I was way out of my depth. But I tried the best I could, which was more than I can say for him.

Of all the years I was with him and with all the abuse I copped, I never once went to the dr or the police to make a report. I had a few people tell me that if he did anything to me again they would call the police, but they never did.
Do you know what? I really wish they had have called the police on my behalf. It would have made my court battle with him all the more easier. If I had have got a police report for the times that he did something really bad, then I would have had more evidence in court than just my say so.
About a year after I left him he decided to take me to court to see our children. I had moved into a women’s refuge house and cut off all contact with him. You might say that he had a right to see his children, but do you know what? He kicked me while I was pregnant with our first child and I ended up falling over and grazing my knees. He also used to tell me that he hated our children because they would cry. And with all the things he did to me and his other child, I was not going to risk him doing anything to my children. Especially when he went and told my neighbours at the time that his first child’s mother was now involved and that her and a dozen others were going to come around and give me what I deserve. My neighbour asked about my children and he said that they would survive but I wouldn’t. It was an empty threat but none of us knew it at the time. I fled to my mothers house while my neighbours looked after my dog.
It was then that I got a restraining order on him at court which stopped him from coming withing 200m of my children and myself.
Sadly though, at the advice of legal aid, I got the restraining order cancelled because my neighbour was too scared of him to go to court and testify to what he said.
Looking back, I really wish I hadn’t have taken that advice. It would have given me more evidence in court about his nature.

I’ve probably gone into too much detail and written too much, but I want you to know that people like this exist and most women are not lying when they say they are being abused. But the sad thing is, most women, like myself, never say anything to anyone except our closest friends and some family. We are made to feel as though we deserve being beaten or verbally/mentally abused, so we just take it.
Some women who get abused worse than myself are too scared to say anything for fear of losing all they have, including their children.
Thankfully the Lord got me out of that situation, and has had His hand on us since then. He has been so faithful to me in this whole situation and, if it weren’t for His guiding hand, things would have turned out much different, no doubt worse.

If you know someone who you think shows signs of being abused, please, please speak to them. Do it when their husband/boyfriend isn’t around. Maybe take them out for lunch or something one day and gently ask them if they are ok. Do a bit of research first and find out what women’s refuges are around her, or maybe further away depending on the level of abuse, that way you can tell her she has somewhere safe to go. A lot of women don’t realise there are safe places they can go. And tell her not to worry about the stigma of a women’s shelter, because at least it’s safe, they usually have counsellors and they can get legal advice.
The one I went to had courses to do, counsellors and even a creche to look after the children if you had a counselling session or were doing one of their courses or groups.
If they admit to you that they are being abused, tell them to report it to the police or their dr, because they WILL need evidence if it goes to court. Also, encourage her to write down dates and times and what happened, because this will also help if/when she goes to the police.  Also a small bag packed with some essentials for herself and or children could be needed. It can be kept at a safe person’s house so that if/when she leaves, she has things  she needs. For example, a mobile/cell phone with a different number, a toothbrush and toothpaste, a brush, underwear, a change of clothes, deoderant, shampoo & conditioner etc, as well as photocopies of her drivers licence if she has one, photocopies or birth certificates, passport, or keycards and the like. They should be in her purse or bag, but sometimes things can get so traumatic that they are forgotten in the heat of the moment.
Another thing for her to do would be to start putting away some money somewhere safe where the husband/boyfriend won’t find it. Maybe she could give it to her mother or sister or trusted friend to keep for her. That way she’ll have something to use for some sort of accommodation if she can’t find a refuge.
I can’t stress enough that these women need help. They need to get out of that environment. As I learnt it gets worse with time and these abusive men can be so cunning about the abuse so as not to leave marks or bruises. Mine left marks after the time he choked me and learnt after that not to leave marks, so just because you can’t see black eyes or broken bones, it does not mean she’s not being abused.

A man is not supposed to treat a woman like that at all. There is absolutely NO EXCUSE for it.
This is what God says about how a man should treat his wife.
“Husbands, love your wives, even as Christ also loved the church, and gave himself for it; 26That he might sanctify and cleanse it with the washing of water by the word, 27That he might present it to himself a glorious church, not having spot, or wrinkle, or any such thing; but that it should be holy and without blemish. 28So ought men to love their wives as their own bodies. He that loveth his wife loveth himself. 29For no man ever yet hated his own flesh; but nourisheth and cherisheth it, even as the Lord the church: 30For we are members of his body, of his flesh, and of his bones. 31For this cause shall a man leave his father and mother, and shall be joined unto his wife, and they two shall be one flesh. 32This is a great mystery: but I speak concerning Christ and the church. 33Nevertheless let every one of you in particular so love his wife even as himself; and the wife see that she reverence her husband.” Ephesians 5:25-33

Here are some links that might be useful.
http://www.helpguide.org/mental/domestic_violence_abuse_types_signs_causes_effects.htm
http://voices.yahoo.com/how-tell-if-woman-being-abused-5386637.html?cat=5

I would like to add however, that unless you have absolutely solid proof that a woman is being abused, then don’t call the police, not just yet. It could make things worse for her and it will probably be much harder for her to leave, even if she wants to.
As much as I wish that someone had have done that for me, each situation is different and I would not want anyone to make it worse accidentally. I can’t stress that enough.
If you are there and witness it, or if she allows you (or someone) to take photos of any marks, then you could possibly call the police, but make sure there is a way to get her out of the house first.

*Please note. While I have used these links for information purposes, I might not agree with all their other pages. So please read anything else with care.*

God bless.

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