Saturday, October 4, 2014

Causes: Domestic Violence Awareness Month.

Claire and I met online due to a mutual interest in raising awareness of domestic abuse.  She lives in England, but domestic violence is universal.  It does not discriminate or differentiate.  Domestic Violence is a very personal and often misunderstood cause; therefore, it is not one I am particularly comfortable asking people to share.  I am so grateful Claire was willing to tell her story to me and all of you. 
People warned me to stay away from him, but  in the throws of a new relationship all sense goes out of the window. He charmed me & I fell for it all. I was oblivious to the warning signs. When he started telling me what to wear I thought it was because he found me attractive in those clothes & I wanted to please him. Before long this man had worn me down & made me feel dependent on him & that I was lucky to have him because no-one what would want me. I didn't even realise at the time that he was sexually abusing me also. 
The relationship progressed quickly & I became pregnant. I already had a son from a previous relationship. Things changed. Suddenly he became extremely verbally, mentally & emotionally abusive. It was awful. Soon after he became violent. My son watched this man try to strangle his mother on several occasions. He threw me around a caravan & into radiators. I wore long sleeves at all times to cover my bruises. At 7 months pregnant he put me in hospital with a suspected broken neck. I believed this man would kill me.
The police were sometimes called by neighbours. I had no choice but to cover for him. He told me he would take my baby away if I said anything & claim that I was crazy in the head. I was trapped. I clung to the hope that he would change when the baby arrived & we'd be a happy family. I didn't want to let my children down & deprive them of a father.
I spend a couple of weeks in hospital at the end of my pregnancy. Maybe it was a blessing in disguise. He couldn't hurt me there. Instead he mentally & emotionally abused me.
10 days after my baby was born I became a single mum of two. The abuse didn't stop. He just used contact & solicitors to harass me. Eventually I grew strong, independent & able to recognise that it is better for the children to not have a father about than to have a bad one who they see abusing their mother.
There is absolutely no circumstance where domestic abuse is acceptable.  Victims will make excuses for their perpetrator & believe they deserve it, but this is never true. I urge anyone in this situation to reach out to the organisations that want to help you break free. Domestic abuse is a crime. If you don't leave for yourself, do it for your children. Do you want your son to grow up thinking it's ok to treat women that way? Do you want you daughter to think it's an acceptable way to be treated? Afterwards I found out this man had abused my son also. My son never told me. Don't let that be your child.

I  am living proof that there is life after abuse. I am now married with a nice house & job. Things are great for me now. There is a light at the end of the tunnel for everyone. 
The Power and Control Wheel is a very impactful visual that shows the eight most common ways batterers abuse aside from physical and sexual abuse.  This was developed by Domestic Abuse Intervention Programs, Home of The Duluth Model.  This wheel has been adapted for a variety of other situations (child abuse, equality, creator) and is also available in Spanish.
Domestic Violence resources:
VINE Link - victim notification network

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