I picked up the pieces of the situation and dealt with it as best as I could. My left arm was badly bruised and swollen, a reminder of what had happened. The worse thing was, this was the first time I had ever been beaten by anyone in my life. My parents had never laid a finger on me, nor my siblings and yet for a man who was supposed to be my protector to do this to me? A massive piece of trust had gone. I tried to sweep it under the carpet yet I knew people in the family knew, and they showed their concern but to a limit. I felt embarrassed to be fodder for gossip and I knew there would be some revelling in it. I forgave my husband and some normality came back for a few weeks until a financial issue came up. I won’t go into it but communication went downhill again and again, the verbal and mental abuse began. ‘If you’re not happy, divorce me’ I would tell him but rather than go through the ‘shame’ of that, my husband preferred to keep me and continue with the constant threat of violence. One occasion, I was sat in tears trying to revise for my driving theory test while he was fixing his brother’s bike outside the house. He left his brother and came in and out of the house to keep up the threat of violence ‘So you’re still learning all that are you to p*ss me off? You wait until my brother goes and I get my hands on you to beat some sense into you. That’s the only way you will stop. If I can’t get my license, do you honestly think i’m going to let you drive?’ I continued in tears and although he didn’t beat me, the repetitive threats were very real.
It got to a point where I wanted out as I was physically and mentally drained and so I told him again that divorce was the only option. He told me that as I was instigating the divorce, it would be on me to tell the family so I said I would. Now bare in mind he told me this was my responsibility.
My final day with him played out like this. I was intending to visit my parents house and my curfew was set for 7 o’clock. So I went and spent a few hours with the family and notified them that I had to be home for the set time. I began to get nervous as the time was nearing and I couldn’t get a lift on time. I knew what was coming but I had to play it down. It must have been about 7.15pm when I arrived home. My son was very attached to his grandmother so he went next door with her where my grandparents lived. As soon as I entered my house and into the kitchen, my husband was sat on the counter waiting for me. ‘What time do you call this? I told you 7 and where is the boy? And have you told them we want divorce because I can’t deal with this anymore?’ I was nervous but responded as calmly as I could. ‘Your son is next door as he wanted to stay with my mother’
His hatred for my family had overtaken him and so he ordered me to get my son and again, he brought up divorce.
‘Get him and make sure you tell them right now’
Inside I was trembling but in a controlled anger, I responded by telling I would go next door to inform them and as I began to head towards the door, he jumped off the counter and launched at me, pinning me against the wall with his hands around my neck.
‘If you say anything about divorce, I will break your face. Now go and get him’
At that moment, I knew it was over so I walked out of the house and went to my grandparents house where my son was. My heavily pregnant aunty opened the door and I couldn’t hold back. The tears fell from my eyes as she asked what was wrong but I couldn’t speak due to the shock of what had just happened. My uncles were ready to deal with the matter physically but it was my brothers who calmed them down.’If we beat him, that’s just going to give him another excuse’ I told them I would never go back to him and as I sat there shaking and in a state of shock, my brothers went over to find him wrecking the house in a fit of rage. They told him to pack his belongings and to leave the property as there was no way they would allow me or my son to be subject to any further violence. And so he left.
A few attempts were made to reconcile and mediation was sought however, the trust had gone and we divorced. The 9 years that followed were extremely stressful due to the consequences of a marriage breakdown and I wouldn’t wish them upon anyone. However, what doesn’t kill you makes you stronger and I proved that by getting myself back into college and eventually obtaining my degree from one of the best universities in the UK. My confidence grew so much after enduring much pain, I felt a natural responsibility and empathy towards helping others and so got involved in helping charities. Today I work, I am actively involved in voluntary and charity work for the refugees and I am totally at peace. The biggest achievement for me above anything else is that I managed to bring up a 17 year old young man in peace and relative calm. A responsible individual who often tells me his thoughts on domestic abuse.
‘Mum, if I ever hear or see anyone abusing a woman, I don’t care who they are, I will deal with them’
Violence can never be condoned but it is a duty on us to ensure the next generation do not accept this as a norm.
Much love and peace from a very content and happy sister.