“till death us do part”
At the age of 18 I walked down the aisle of the registry office thinking in my head that I would spend the rest of my life with this man. Yes we had our issues, but we were both young and still learning about life, so it was to be expected.
I had seen my parents remain together after issues of violence, adultery and being young themselves. So why couldn’t we make things work I reasoned to myself after probably the fifth time he had hit me.
When I was younger, I remember confidently saying to my friends, that if a man ever put his hands on me I would walk away, or remove his dick; the list was endless. Yet, there I was hiding in the bathroom of our flat because my dad had popped by. I didn’t want him seeing my black eye from where my husband had repeatedly hit me in my face the night before. A few days later when I visited my parents, I just said I had hit it on the door to the safe at work.
The last year before we separated, I had just started a new job and finally became more social. Up until that point, I was just a mother and a housewife. All my clothes were like old women’s, we only went out with the kids but even then he would put me down so much to the point that I had little confidence in who I was, so I liked being at home.
He didn’t like the fact that I had work get togethers and that I had made a friend who was similar to me because she also had married young and had a child. He would always accuse my friend of my change and also said I was cheating.
I found out I was three months pregnant with our third child. It hurt so much because this was my husband but I knew that if I had another child with this man, I would never leave him, so I had an abortion. He knew about it and agreed that the time wasn’t right, but he revisited that moment over and over.
The beginning of Autumn 2007, my cousin was to be married. My parents were living with me due to the recession and my mum being made redundant. To enable them to continue to pay their mortgage and reduce their outgoings they had decided to rent out their home.
It was Friday night, the night before the wedding and my husband had said that he would teach me a lesson soon. I instantly knew what he meant and was scared but also had built up a skin of just numbing the pain and getting through another onslaught of him pounding my body.
Saturday morning, I rose early. The last few Saturday’s had brought me much needed relief at work through overtime and I lapped it up. Work had sadly become one of my escapes.
I remember sitting at my desk with one of my colleagues and I turned to him and said, my husband is going to beat me up tonight……
And he did!
He dragged me out of the bed by my hair whilst my son and daughter were asleep in their neighbouring room. My son was four at the time and he woke because he could hear the escape of the screams I tried to smother as I bowed my head in protection mode. He ran out of his room to see me being hit with the wooden handle of a broom repeatedly on my legs, across my side until his dad noticed and told him to go back and lie down.
That night was the last time. Something had to give because I thought I would die. I was cowered over, covering my head and face so not to be struck by the broom. I felt it break as his thrusts began to get more intense and did not stop. As I felt the stick getting closer to my head, I knew I had to get hold of it and not to let go and I didn’t. I begged and pleaded with him to stop!
But it was enough to know it was the last time.
That night I slept with my children in their room. It was the only place I felt safe until my parents would come home.
He left early the following morning as he said he had a client to see, which gave me the chance to speak to my mother about the events from the previous evening. My dad had also gone out, he visited the gym daily, which left my mother and I alone with the kids.
I listened to them happily playing before knocking on the door to my parents room. As I entered, my mother was sitting on the edge of the bed and I instantly broke down in tears. She stood to receive me in her arms which made the. Sound of my sobbing unbearable to the sounds of my own ears but I needed to release it.
As I began to calm, I stood to lift the hem of my nightdress to reveal the bruises that spread across my thighs and my side. I explained why had happened and all she did was look at me with pity in her eyes but no words came from her mouth. I stood there, searching in her eyes for something, my mother to console me andnlet me know that she was going to take care of it, but it wasn’t there. How could it be?
That evening, a silence fell over the house and my parents only left their room when they could hear no one else walking outside of their four walls.
The following year in the January after our daughters second birthday, he moved out as we had agreed. He didnt want to go and I knew that even though he was moving out of the house, his presence would still very much be here.
Although he had just moved out, we had been separated for the best part of the previous year. We didn’t need to communicate it with each other but remained active as two parents would be for the sake our children. However, mentally and emotionally, I had begun to move on.
My friend had been encouraging me to start dating. She knew everything I had been going through and thought I needed to get out there again. A guy at work liked me and she suggested that he be my muse. In the lead up to the events that led to myself and my husband parting ways, he had been the escape at work.
He worked the late shift, so I stayed back at work with him; just talking. Getting to know him. It was at this point that I recognised that I didn’t know how to be with a guy. I couldn’t make eye contact because I was shy, I didn’t know what to talk about or even to hold a proper conversation because these were all things I hadn’t noticed I had lost the inability to do. I didn’t even know who I was anymore.
The summer of the following year, he suggested that we spend a week together. We could either go away or just stay in a hotel and explore London. I was greatful for his patience and being so kind and gentle with me, but he had his reasons.
My parents had taken a much needed holiday so naturally I asked my husband to look after them for a week whilst I was away. I asked in plenty of time to which he reluctantly agreed.
The time came and to my surprise he arrived. I left and had a much needed break away which ended all too quickly and with a sad ending.
As I climbed the stairs, the kids ran to embrace me. I had missed them terribly.
My husband sent the kids outside to play in the back garden because he said he wanted to talk to me. As I started to unpack and put things in the washing machine, said he told me he knows that I’ve been away with ‘him.’ I told him that it’s not anymofbhis concern and thanked him for looking after the children.
He didn’t take to kindly to that and began thrusting himself behind me. I motioned to one side to break the contact and to also create room which angered him and made him come toward me. By this time, he was right in front of my face and forcing me backwards into my bedroom. As I tried twisting away, he restricted my movements with hands. He forced me down onto the bed pinning my body down with the weight of his. He began tearing at my leggings to make a hole so that he could find his way to my knickers. I kicked away as hard as I could and even screamed at him to leave me alone but he just kept saying “this is what you want, this is what you went away for.”
Tears streamed down my face as my head was fixed back on the bed and my mind thinking about the kids and just not wanting them to witness this and then we heard the distant footsteps of them running up the stairs. At this, I felt his weight shift as he sprung up and I felt the mask instantly frame my face. The one that I showed the kids when reassuring them everything was fine.
I never told my parents or anyone about what had happened that day. Even when I shared with anyone, I told my sister and my friend.
I remember when my dad told me before ever living with me, that I was to blame for the arguments between myself and my husband and the day my husband left, he said he realised it wasn’t my fault.
My dad did not hear his words, but I did; loud and clear. He knew everything I was going through physically, emotionally and mentally, yet he turned a blind eye to it because he thought I was to blame; I was the reason; I deserved to go through what I was going through.
Eight Years Later
He called me asking if the papers he had received meant that we didnt need to go to court? I told him that it should mean our divorce has now been finalised.
He wished me all the best. My sister said that it made it seem so final like I would never see him again.
It was final. The hold that he had over me and my life he no longer had. He could only try and make my life unhappy by blaming me if something was wrong with the kids or putting off potential men by intimidation or messing around with his time with the kids. But that could only effect me if I allowed it to.