Monday, 2 July 2012

Domestic violence: Don't Cover It Up - I did

In my early twenties I met a boy at a party in London. He was good looking, clever, and very charming. We quickly got into a relationship, which went on to last for three years.

My friends would tell me how wonderful they thought he was, how lucky I was, and that I had bagged myself a real catch.

I spent three years being thrown against walls, having cutlery hurled at me, being punched in the stomach, bitten, and spat at. One time he threw me out of the car at a service station miles from home and drove away, another time he threw me out of the car and left me on the hard shoulder of the M1 motorway. He continually humiliated me, told me I wasn't good enough, and knocked every last bit of confidence out of me.

I became insecure, paranoid, and unsociable, but weirdly felt I needed him in order to survive - he had some sort of hold on me. I never told anyone about what was going on.

I remember going to give blood and when I rolled up my sleeve there was a huge purple bruise with teeth marks on my arm where he had bitten me. I told the nurse that I had whacked it against a door knob. She gave me an odd look, and part of me wanted her to probe, but she didn't. 

He finished the relationship in the end. And after two weeks of devastation, I felt overwhelming feelings of relief and freedom, and vowed never to speak or see him again, which I haven't. I also vowed to never ever let myself get into a similar situation again, which I haven't.

Before that relationship I was confident, outgoing and certainly no pushover. I have never really understood how he took a hold of me like that, but he did.

It took many years for me to start getting my confidence and self esteem back and to let myself trust anyone or get close to them. It wasn't until I met my truly wonderful husband Tom, that I learnt to trust again and feel secure. Tom completely believes in me, and makes me feel like I can do ANYTHING. He is the most amazing person I have ever met! 

Twelve years later and I am talking about it publicly for the first time. Domestic violence charity Refuge and make-up artist Lauren Luke are launching a powerful online campaign telling victims of domestic violence, and wider society, ‘Don’t cover it up’ (65% of women who experience domestic violence keep it hidden).

Sandra Horley CBE, chief executive of Refuge, says: 'For too long, domestic violence has been allowed to fester in the shadows of our society. Women who are abused often feel too afraid or ashamed to speak out. People frequently turn a blind eye when they know or suspect abuse is taking place, even when the victim is a loved one. This must end.'

Further support and information about domestic violence can be found here: www.refuge.org.uk/lauren.


13 comments:

sadie said...

the men are gutless, bullying, controlling, weasels. That's why they do it. They are crap people and they know it, they can only make themselves feel better by bullying and hurting others.

I'm glad you are in a much better place now.

I think this is one of my biggest fears. If my girly girl grew up and got entangled with a bully like that. How would I help her? I can only hope she'll want someone like her a dad - kind and generous.

a good post. even if it was uncomfortable to read.

x

One Mother's Notes said...

The sad thing is that these men also tend to get away with it because their victims don't usually get the opportunity to press charges. Thanks for sharing your brave story.

nappy valley girl said...

I'm appalled to hear this happened to you - thank god you got out of this relationship. Well done for sharing it - I am sure it wasn't easy but hopefully it will inspire others to get out of abusive relationships.

Sparx said...

Very well put down... difficult to write. I've been lucky enough not to experience that in my life - emotional bullying yes, physical, no.

Hope all's well!

northernmum said...

I imagine that was very hard to write, well done you for writing and raising awareness.

J x

Esther James said...

Thank you for sharing your story- It just goes to show that it can happen to even the strongest women around

Piddley Pix said...

You are an amazingly strong lady to write about this! Well done on raising awareness of this subject!

The video is very clever too!

Iota said...

Elsie, how brave to write about this. I would never have guessed. I suppose that's a big part of the problem. There's no way of spotting who might be (or might have been) involved in a relationship of this kind.

I'm so impressed that you have written openly about this relationship. Good for you. Inspiring. I'm glad you found Tom.

AliBlahBlah said...

I'm so sorry to hear what you went through. It's amazing to read your blog and hear what a confident, smart, cheery person you are, and that it can still happen. I think that's why it's particularly brave of you to write about it, so that everyone knows it's out there and can happen to the nicest of people.

My friend and I at Uni watched the Ike and Tina movie. We made a pact at the time, that all it would take would be a phonecall for the other one to come and drag us out of the abusive relationship. Thankfully we've never had to put it the test. I wish the nurse had rescued you sooner. x

Crystal Jigsaw said...

Gosh, how utterly awful for you. Abuse to this extent is likely to ruin your faith in human nature, and particularly in men, so it's wonderful to know that you are now happy and have a wonderful husband.

Well done on writing about this, it must have been very hard for you.
CJ x

Lorraine The Party Times said...

Elsie, thank you for sharing with us and hopefully it will encourage more people to open up and maybe even ask for help x

miriam said...

Thank you so much for sharing your story, I has a very similar experience at uni, he left me after 4years and I too was devastated for a few weeks but then realised I had been given my life back and another chance. Miriam xx

Beccers said...

Thanks for sharing. xxxx hugs for you