Living with and surviving Domestic Violence
Domestic violence includes a wide range of behaviors that control or dominate someone, or cause them to fear for their personal safety or well being (defined by the Queensland courts).
It starts slowly and gradually increases. You don’t even realize it because when it happens you are the one blamed by the oppressor. It’s alwasy your fault and never theirs. Some of the things started before I was pregnant and I am talking sexual stuff and that’s a bit TMI but you get the drift. I do however, remember when I was pregnant with our son and he would get angry over things such as , I didn’t offer him a cup of coffee when he had returned from work. Did I mention the part he would call me his, “little black slave” on multiple occasions? Now I suffered severe hyperemesis gravidarum and could barely keep food down and was constantly in ED getting fluids and was collapsing if I was on my feet for too long. I did try to maintain a social life and make sure my partner had my attention but to him it was never enough.
I developed a cardiac issue (Pericarditis) and symptoms would arise at night. His response when I told him I needed to go to ED his response would be, “You been lying around all day doing nothing now you want me to take you!” Those of you who know cardiac issues can arise at any time but mainly when you are at rest. So I would then drive myself to ED and call my brother who lived across town to let him know where I was.
You hear people say he just kicks and punches walls and throws plates and stuff. GIRL! THATS DOMESTIC VIOLENCE. Some will say, “he just hit me this one time.” GIRL WHAT HAPPENS THE NEXT TIME HE DOES IT AGAIN? I did not know this then but I remember one time we had an argument over something that yet again was my fault and he punched a hole in the wall right next to my face. Girl, I nearly wet my pants. When the baby came I did everything myself, especially those sleepless nights. When bub woke up and I needed help the excuse was, Ï don’t have breasts”. Some days I just wanted the baby calmed so I could catch a few minutes rest. I was so lucky to be a registered nurse and having a mother who is one, I was quick to recognize the signs of post natal depression and sort help. I needed to go back to work for my own sanity and I remember him saying, “no kid of mine goes to childcare. You have to stay home. That there ladies and gentleman is what we call control. He would have had financial control on me which is a form of domestic violence. I would have had to rely on him for everything. When I was pregnant with our 2nd child I asked him one time to move furniture and he refused as I was trying to make room for the new bub. He walked in from work one day and I was carrying a change table and he kicked it so hard against my 8mos pregnant belly the bottom shelf was left with a hole in it. It is not right even when they blame you for their actions. They are responsible for them not you.
I had such a wonderful social life before he met me, meanwhile he didn’t. Everyone whom was his friend he had something ‘colourful’ to say about them. Nobody was ever right to him. On many occasions he even had a few things to say about his own family . He would tell me on multiple occasion that he didn’t need friends because he had me. RED ALERT!!! I should have seen it then but hey, I thought it was love. I remember every single time I mentioned I was going to meet up with friends or even my family he would be like, “Yes that’s great”. Come the day he would pick a fight over nothing and my God it was like he would want me to not go and be home miserable and all. The day I told my friends they were shocked because he always came across as “Mr Perfect” in front of people. So then I would appear to be the delusional one. This one year he picked a fight on mother’s day I cant even remember what it was about but because it was about me there had to be a fight. His own mother and sister told me to come and have an amazing lunch with them and leave him out.
What used to sicken me was that whenever he had picked a fight with me and seen me crying. No, wailing he would come and that’s when he got aroused. Who gets off on someone else pain? I could easily write a book right.
I picked up my son one day from childcare one day and as soon as he got in the care he goes, “mama daddy deserves to be locked in a dungeon.” I asked him why and his answer was, “because he is not a very nice man to you, my sisi and me”. It didn’t quite click then so I just brushed it off and said everything was all good. One of the things I used to tell my ex I could cope everything he threw at me, wall punching, furniture kicking, but the moment it affected the kids I was out.
The day I finally made up my mind after all the years of fights,was when I came home from night shift and my then 4yo son told me his dad beat his little sister up whenever she woke up at night and she didn’t shut up. Do you know what went through my head that day? “What if she doesn’t shut up and he holds a pillow against her face to shut her up”. That day I made the decision to protect my babies and myself. I have since been harassed, abused and my family too but I never looked back. He told my family we had backward third world thinking. I am the mother of his kids and he could be racist. Not just him even his family. I remember when he told me his mother didn’t want our kids to have my African traditional names. WTF!! Right?? My children are so proud of their African heritage and I am so proud of them being that way.I took back my freedom. I refused to let my children and I be victims any longer. Instead we are VICTORS.
What I learned…
You can bring a horse to the river but cannot force it to drink. The many times my mum would tell me I had a home, if things were tough I only had to speak, but I always gave excuses for him and for me to go back. “If I hadn’t done this he wouldn’t have lashed out. If I hadn’t said this he wouldn’t have done this. He wouldn’t have hit the kids and blamed it on me even when I was at work. Maybe if I had stayed home like he wanted and not gone back to work it wouldn’t have happened”. But it was never my fault. He was the one with a problem. The world would come to an end and it would be my fault.
Guys out there, you know the situation you are in. You can get out, Sort help, so many resources out there. I had such a wonderful support system and friends I had met over the years. Being in a foreign country can be difficult, many say well you had your family, but tell you what the government helps you, there are private entities out there that support you. Don’t make excuses for them. Do not be the next statistic. I didn’t want my kids and I to be. This blog post alone might cause havoc but I have the freedom of speech, this is after all a free world. Now don’t get me wrong it may not stop because you left. Mine didn’t. He stalked me and would even drive past my house 3hrs from where he lived with his mother filming my house, harassing me. They try and instil fear in you but I found the police were so helpful. Lots of women and children are dying because no one is paying attention. Domestic violence has to stop and it starts with one voice. I choose to be that voice.
Forms of DV…..
You can find these explained on the internet but I went with a government site
- physical or sexual abuse—punching, hitting, choking, or threatening to punch or hit, forcing a person to participate in sexual acts, damaging someone’s property or threatening to damage property, including hurting or threatening to hurt pets
- emotional or psychological abuse—stalking, repeated text messaging, making insulting comments, calling someone names, blackmailing or extorting, preventing contact with family and/or friends, controlling someone’s appearance, putting them down, threatening to expose their sexual orientation
- economic abuse—denying, withholding, controlling or misusing money or property, or threatening to do so
- threatening behaviour—saying things or acting in a way to make someone feel afraid, threatening to commit suicide or self-harm, stalking
- coercive behaviour—forcing, intimidating or manipulating a person to do things they don’t want to do, such as sign a contract (e.g. for a loan) or a legal document giving another person power over their affairs (e.g. power of attorney).
Seek help, it is out there. And to those whom the abused come to for help or to vent. Do not judge. Give a listening ear. They need to do it at their own pace without another person pushing them.
Stay safe. Don’t be the next statistic