His presence, at the time, made me feel safe but how would I feel once he left?

The living room certainly looked lived in, I felt nervous but probably looked a right mess.

Sitting down, his voice was soft and calm and sort of put me at ease.  I tried not to make too much eye contact and turned my attention to my daughter and tried to focus on her.  I can remember both of us giggling at something she did.  The ice felt as though it had been melted.

He took his time with me and let me take control.  If I needed to stop, he let me, if I wanted to go slow he allowed me too.  It was difficult but I knew I had to do it, for a chance of moving forward.

Making my final statement was daunting and scary.  How could I tell that he wasn’t judging me with every word he wrote.  I wasn’t sure if he would go back to the station, to tell everyone how he had taken a statement from someone who was involved in “just a domestic”, saying, why doesn’t she just leave.

I had those butterflies lying at the bottom of my stomach, fear of doing the wrong thing and not knowing if I was doing the right thing.  I was so very confused and scared!

His presence, at the time, made me feel safe but how would I feel once he left?

I can still remember his name, his face and professional manner.

To him, I was just another number, a statistic, a victim.  Someone who should just leave or another person making him think, what did she do to make him do that.

He probably couldn’t understand why I had put up with him for 3 years, why I stayed, waiting for one more day to come because he promised me he would change.  That day never came.

Not once did I ever think about the process that had taken place for me to make this statement.  From that first phone call to the controllor, to it being radioed out to the Police Officers and then that knock on my front door.

First appearances count but I dread to think what he must have thought of me as I relived my own personal events.

It took time and strength for me to actually do this but my reason for doing so was right in front of me; my daughter.

I can’t begin to imagin where I would be now, if I hadn’t have made that particular call.  At least I had the opportunity to do so.  I now worry that the proposed cuts will further endanger victims and take that right away from them.

Police Officers often get singled out and blamed for things that are out of their control.

Dedicated officers working tirelessly in order to serve and protect, yet cuts to officers could mean domestic abuse calls pushed down the list.  No awareness of training because of cuts and Police having no control over this situation and having nothing to do other than abide by it.

Frustration with fewer officers on the ground, how are they able to support those in need?

What happens when officers work so very hard, only to find CPS will not support a prosecution, the court system fails the victim or no prosecution because of lack of evidence from the victim.

The Police are not to blame for this.

Cuts will do more damage than good and soon there will be zero confidence in them.  So who will victims turn to when they find the courage to speak out?

I can see nothing more than barriers preventing victims from leaving the relationship.

The key point needs to be, all agencies working together in order to support the victim, a victim cannot get through this alone and with threats of cuts, how can they become survivors?

The reality is, where domestic abuse is concerned, all agencies must work together in order to become beneficial to victims.

Aftercare and support is absolutely vital because without it, there is every chance they will go back to their perpetrator, the isolation and manipulation pulling them back to the complex cycle.

Lack of understanding and empathy, teamed together with no safe place or financial independance makes it increasingly difficult to simply, just leave.

 

 

Manipulation ripped through my veins

With every touch, my whole body would freeze with fear.  Loud noises around me would make me wonder, what’s next.  The key in the lock of the front door would make me think, what mood is he in.  Waking up the next morning made me ask, is today my last.

This process was never a one-off but more of a ritual, one that would happen every single day.  No matter how hard I tried.

It was a love that I had never felt before.  It did not make me happy, it didn’t make me feel safe and I no longer knew who I was any more.  Yet I could not let go.  I didn’t have the strength to break through the isolation, push past the manipulation or leave the fear behind.  I simply stayed because I was too frightened to leave.

Leaving would mean always looking over my shoulder, watching around corners and wonder, when will he get me.

To leave would only be more ammunition for him to have the power and control over me.  Controlling me with his tongue, telling me what I wanted to hear but never loving me the way I wanted him oo, never wanting or needing me the way he wanted and needed to abuse me.

Walking through the darkness, loneliness and emptiness would only be temptation for me to go back to his controlling charms.  He knew which buttons to pres to make me melt for the hotness of his words, the way he could make me feel loved yet at the same time make me fear him with every single touch.

How he was always in my mind with ever step I took and completely under my skin.  A heavy heart would be beating inside my chest, never knowing which way to turn or reaching out for a guiding hand.  No point in leaving when I had no one to tell me that everything would be ok or two listen to me if I were to break down in floods of tears when that one memory came back to haunt me.

Isolation, loneliness and being alone contributed to my head being full of doubts, concern and fear.  He had been the only person there for me for 3 years, the one I cried too, smiled at and made love too.  Little did I know he was the instigator, the fire started, the one who was abusing me, in such a way that I didn’t even recognise it.

Manipulation ripped through my veins, control was a part of me and isolation my new best friend.

How could I break this chain of abuse that was dragging me down and holding me back from life.  My life.

Who would believe me, who would hear me and who would listen to me?

They never saw him in the same light as I did.  They just saw the cheeky chap, the charmer and the crown, whilst I felt poison, power and a perpetrator.

My relationship with him, manipulated and moulded me into someone I wasn’t, with the easy option of being murdered at the hands of the man, I deeply, truly, madly loved with all my heart.

A challenge to my death was something I didn’t want to happen but I needed a guiding hand to help me leave, for I knew I wasn’t strong enough alone.  I needed someone to reach out to me and tell me everything would be ok.  No one had walked in my shoes or left footprints with every step I took so how could anyone possibly help me.

Finding the courage to speak out, helped me leave behind a life of abuse but the reality for me was there wasn’t enough ongoing support.  An 8 week domestic abuse awareness course wasn’t strong enough, not when everything still felt so very raw.

The trauma of the last 3 years of my life would last a lot longer than 8 weeks.

What about the dark and lonely nights, someone to catch my tears as they flowed down my cheeks or to turn my frown upside down.  The sleepless nights, my mind working overtime and unable to put the nightmares back to sleep.

The fear that run through my veins and my head full of worry, who could I share all of this with if there was no aftercare of support.  I couldn’t do it alone.

He no longer appealed to me, I didn’t want him in my life anymore, yet he wouldn’t leave me alone.  His abuse surrounding and smothering me with every single step I tool.

The abuse didn’t magically end, he wanted to work his magic on me and draw me back to his abusive clutches.

Finally leaving his grasp in November 2006, feeling so much stronger, the first movement began with me but to end up where I wanted to be, I should have had a helping hand.

Even in his wheelchair, he was still nasty

After I finally found the courage to leave my ex perpetrator, I knew there would come a point in my life where our paths would cross.  It was inevitable really, with his parents living quiet closely to mine.  I never knew how I would feel, let alone what I would say to him.  The first time we came face to face with each other, I was still that shy, timid and petrified person he had moulded me into; shaking with fear as I walked away from him.  However, the second time, my heart had become so very strong and not so scared anymore.

Parenthood had completely changed me – for the better!  Stronger on the inside because giving birth to my daughter gave me drive, focus and strength which came somewhere from inside me, a strength I never knew I had.  The expression of pure shock on his face was completely worth it.  The very first time I had ever had the power to say something back to him, words to hurt him, to make him stop and think.  It still made me shake but this time, with a sense of achievement.

Even though you end the relationship and leave the perpetrator, they don’t exactly leave you.  You always hear things in the grapevine or with technology today, see and read things, you don’t always want to about your perpetrator.

When I left my ex perpetrator, I never looked back.  I didn’t contact him but yet, he always found a way and a reason to get in touch with me.  His true reasoning behind this wasn’t for anything other than me returning back to the tangled web of abuse.  However, the timing and the way he contacted me, made it sound as though he had good intentions at heart.

After changing my mobile number, I was a little upset when a friend had given him my new number and one day, he called me.  The sound of his voice speaking in my ear was a complete shock and his reason for calling was something he had seen in the newspaper to buy Tegan.  That was another sim card thrown away and another new number.

Over the years you hear things about what they have done, who they are seeing at the moment, how their life is almost the same as before but with a true definite – their behaviour not changing.  In a strange and selfish way, learning that they are treating their new partner the same abusive and controlling way they did with you makes you become defensive, telling people, see it couldn’t have been me, if he is treating new partners the same way.  You still find yourself finding reasons to justify their actions.

Often, you will have many friends in common with your perpetrator, whether friends you already had in common or new ones you make along the way.

It is the latter for me.

Friends almost probably feel divided and try to stay loyal to both, whilst others will take sides but almost guaranteed, you will always heard different things from different people, almost like a game of chinese whispers.

It has been almost 10 years since I left him, but I still hear things about him and one thing I heard recently has stayed in my mind.

Even in his wheelchair he was still nasty.

Highlighting perfectly, how a tongue is the most powerful weapon.  Whereby physical abuse does not always come into the equation.

As awful as it may sound, he probably got the sympathy vote being in a wheelchair but under no circumstances did he stop being a perpetrator.  He was still in control.  Still being hurtful and abusive.  Maybe his unfortunate circumstances left him bitter, therefore much more abusive.

Thriving survivors will always question their behaviour yet not necessarily their perpetrators behaviour because they are blinded by love.  Blame is a huge consequence of domestic abuse that stays with the victim because it is so very difficult to comprehend domestic abuse.  I mean, what possible plausible reason could anyone have to actually abuse the person they claim to love?

To gain and maintain power and control is done in a way to hurt the recipient and nothing hurts more than words because they stay with you for life.  Therefore building a barrier around their future, making it so much more difficult to move forward in their life.

His disability could have been extra ammunition to abuse.  Anger, upset and frustration would have built up inside him and exploded from the entrance of his mouth with a rippling effect to the victims ears, leaving a clear imprint on them.

Words have a huge impact on lives.

Constant criticism of how useless we are prevents us from doing things we liked and once loved doing because those cruel words are still ringing in our mind.

Being told we are ugly stops us making an effort with our appearance.

Words live with us subconsciously so even though he could no longer physically abuse, he could still psychologically abuse.

This is how the complex cycle often starts, with subtle behaviour that we often dismiss because we want too, because we misjudge why it’s been said or because we are in denial.  It is easier for perpetrators to excuse their verbal abuse, oh you mis heard me, you must be hearing things or, when did I say that? But the reality is, these excuses are pure mind games, leaving the recipient pondering on the situation the whole day.  Trying to work things out in their mind, they won’t notice when the perpetrator is still abusing them.  Subtly isolating them, becoming possessive and jealous, not notice how they are being controlled and monitored but in such a way that the perpetrator tells them it’s “because I love you” and because of the psychological abuse, the criticism and put me downs, slowly they become completely brainwashed and have no indication they are a victim because they haven’t been hit.

Without the adequate awareness of psychological abuse, many silent victims will remain silent.

Like most perpetrators, my ex was verbally abusive on a daily basis.  I wasn’t a real woman, I was thick and useless and with a lack of confidence, esteem and worth – drained away by him – who was I to disagree.

Regularly he would bring ex partners back to the flat,he would mock and ridicule me so I could be humiliated at their expense.  Then as quickly as he made me feel worthless he would change character and praise me up and tell me how I was the best thing since sliced bread.

Living with a perpetrator is confusing and hurtful but you don’t doubt their behaviour because you don’t want to accept or believe it is happening, you love them and want them to love you in exactly the same way but that will never happen because domestic abuse has no room for love.