I was inspired today to write about my experience with domestic violence. A campaign runninng by Refuge & Avon are able to help women speak out about their horrifying experiences in order to help those suffering in silence.
It is important to note that there are four types of domestic violence, Physical, Mental, Emotional and Sexual. I fall under the Emotional category.
Now, in telling this story, I do not wish to bad mouth the man that did this to me, for reasons which you are about to find out. My message to anyone suffering similar abuse is loud and clear, Get Out Even If You Think You Cant.
The man in question I will call J, when we met I already knew his back story from what he had told me. He was an ex heroin user and was at the beginning of an addiction to alcohol, him telling me this because he actually wanted to push me away to protect me. He had a lot of demons to deal with and did not want to hurt me along the way. I was only 20 at the time, so naive. I thought I could be his saviour and help him conquer his addicitions, no problem.
I was with J for two years where I had witnessed him take cocaine at a party, drive under the influence of alcohol and drugs, constantly smoked weed, and hiding vodka bottles from me in cupboards, yet still I thought I could help him. Then along came our son, and his first year in the world was a happy one, with his Dad off alcohol and clean.
A day after our son turned one, J drove to a local retail park to buy a car stereo and was stopped by a stranger asking if he wanted to buy some heroin. J agreed, our son was in the back seat of the car and what he set out to buy was soon forgotten. I didnt know about this until three months later when J looked gaunt, lifeless and his eyes were "pinned up" constantly. I knew something was wrong and he admitted to taking heroin for the last few months.
The next six months were a downward spiral for our home life, J never saw us, constantly remaining in the spare room taking drugs and getting "high." It was the beginning of the long journey of becoming a single parent for me, going to work at weekends and looking after our little boy.
When social services got involved, I couldnt see the problem at first. They were saying J was a danger to our son especially when I left him alone with his dad whilst I went off to work. I could not see the seriousness of what was happening but in hindsight this is what was really going on:
- Heroin was being left in rooms where our son played
- J kept a knife under our bed and had many hallucinations, one included him thinking we were being robbed and I woke up to find the police in my bedroom.
- Our son was being neglected by both of us, me when I went to work and by J all of the time, leaving him in wet nappies and dirty clothes
- I was being emotionally abused with not being allowed my own money, not allowed to dress a certain way, and my whole personality was turning me into a monster
I put the pieces of my life back together but it was hard work. I strived to be the best mum I could be after that, partly to make up for my neglect but also because I knew I could be.
After two years and many battles through solicitors, J was able to see his son but years of drug abuse had taken their toll and sadly, J passed away earlier this year.
Now, without his demons and addictive personality, J was the best dad to our son. After everything that happened, I knew he wanted to fight against it and in the last year of seeing him, he gave the world to his son as much as he could. But, drugs would always be his downfall, coming first in his life, something I will never understand.
The purpose of this post is to highlight that domestic violence happens to 1 in 4 of us whether its physically or emotionally. There is a lot more that I have left out about my experience but it isnt necessary to include them. However, to anyone suffering in silence, I strongly recommend to shout out about how you are being treated. It is no longer a taboo subject and you are definetely not alone. Even though you may think there is no help, there most certainly is and before you know it, your life will be for the better, whether children are involved or not. It is time to speak out and help each other with experiencing domestic violence............