Today I’m joining other blogger from all around the world to take part in Speak Out, ‘a collaboration of BlogCatalog and Wanderlust, who have teamed up to launch an international domestic violence awareness campaign and fundraiser’. Speak Out is encouraging bloggers to tweet, blog, talk about, share and general just encourage people to “Speak Out” against domestic violence.
There are so many stories being shared and I have decided to add mine. I am a survivor of domestic violence. For 8 years I lived in terror for my life on many occasions. WARNING this post discusses issues that some people may find triggering.
When I first met my ex I thought he was great. He helped me get off drugs and seemed nice. He was older but that was nothing unusual for my choice in men. The first year or two were ok. He had a bit of a temper but I’m know for having a temper myself so thought nothing of it, he’d never hit me.
Then we went out one night with some friends. After quite a few drinks we decided to head home and that’s when it started. He was yelling at me about flirting with one of the guys who had been there. I laughed and told him not to be stupid. Then *thump*. He smacked me across the face and stormed out. This pattern continued over the next five years in varying degrees. Sometimes it was just a slap or smack other times it was full on punches. Make up became my best friend as I often would have to cover bruises and cuts. Often I’d fake illness so I didn’t have to go out and see anyone.
I eventually decided to go to uni just to get myself out of the house.This ended up making things much worse. He became so jealous of my new friends, what I wore to uni and accused me on more than one occasion of sleeping with a few of my new friends. The violence also increased. One night in particular stands out. One night I think I will never forget. The one night that made me decide it was finally time to leave.
It started out innocently enough. Two of my now close friends from uni had just moved into town and to celebrate my bff & I decided we should all go out on the town for a few drinks. Now my ex was a big drinker. We all were. At around 11 we decided to head home. He cracked the shits & decided to sleep in the car. I probably should have left well enough alone but I went out to check on him. The next thing I knew he was yelling at me and calling me all the sluts under the sun and how he knew I was sleeping with one of the guys from uni. I yelled back and then *wham* he had me on the ground, trying to choke me and banging my head into the cement. Luckily my friends heard my screams and rang the police and came to help me. He ended up in custody over night while I went to hospital so they could check me out for concussion and broken bones. I stayed with my bff that night then she took me to my parents the next day where I told them everything that had happened. Dad looked like he was ready to kill, as did my brother. Dad said I wasn’t going back there. He rang me the next day and apologised, said he had a drinking problem, an anger problem and so much other bull that I had heard so many times before. “It’s not me, it’s the grog”, “My dad was violent”… A couple of weeks later I made the final move. I went and saw him & said I was sorry but I couldn’t live my life in fear anymore.
There is more to the story but I’ll save that for another time. He didn’t let go easily – threatening phone calls, emails, message. Lies spread to mutual friends. Friends who know the truth now & have apologised for not believing me. I’m glad I got out but it was hard. I honestly feared for my life and I know that is why many people (because domestic violence happens to BOTH women & men) choose to stay, because they honestly fear for their lives.
I urge you to read this post. I agree when Wanderlust says “Whoever you are, wherever you are, please know this. You should never live in fear of speaking your truth. You should never be afraid to be yourself. If you don’t feel comfortable being 100% yourself in your relationship, please, please, think long and hard about why you are there.”
If you are in a violent relationship, please seek help. Tell someone. You are worth so much more than living in fear. In Australia you can contact Reach Out
P.S . I’ll be back tomorrow with something a bit more cheerful. Today, this story needs to be told. We need to Speak Out. ');