Genevieve’s* Domestic Violence Story
It’s taken me 21 months to realise that I’m a victim of domestic violence. I’m 24 years old and a shadow of the person I was 4 years ago. I was confident, fun, outgoing and bubbly. Now I’m scared, angry, moody, isolated and emotionally drained. I’ve reached the beginning of the road I have to take to rebuild my life and become the person I used to be but stronger.
I met John* 4 years ago through a friend. He wasn’t my ‘type’ but we ended up together. Within a couple of months we were living together and engaged. Life was brilliant and I was so happy. He was funny, sweet, loving and I knew I wanted to spend the rest of my life with him. Just over a year later I fell pregnant with our daughter who is now 2. We were over the moon. I had a bad pregnancy with severe morning sickness all the way through and he wasn’t very supportive but I didn’t really think much of it.
The first time he really scared me was when I was 34 weeks pregnant. We had an argument and I had to shut myself in the spare bedroom and barricade the door. Eventually he calmed down and I came out. I thought it was just the stress of me being pregnant, and never thought anything of it. I gave birth to our beautiful daughter and things were great.
Gradually he became less understanding of how tired I was and how difficult it was being up early whilst he was out at work all day. He began to complain that housework wasn’t getting done but never offered me any support. He used to shout and put me down, making me feel useless. Gradually I began suffering with postnatal depression which escalated when 5 months later I fell pregnant again. We chose to terminate the pregnancy as another baby so soon just wasn’t an option. He gave me no emotional support whatsoever and left me to get on with it by myself. Eventually I turned to a work friend to talk to for support. There was nothing in it whatsoever, just friendship but John began accusing me of having an affair and the jealousy and possessiveness began. He would go through my phone, follow me and sneak around the house checking up on me. He was moody, intimidating and nasty. One night he was out at work and I broke down because I was so upset so my work friend came to see me for a chat. Suddenly John was ringing me asking me to tell him I loved him so I did. I heard my car screech outside and banging on the doors. I’d done nothing wrong except seek the support of a friend so I opened the door, he pushed me out of the way and assaulted my friend and dragged him into the street. I was so frightened and tried to stop him but he pushed me again and started hurling abuse. Then he left.
We got back together a few days later and he told me he believed I’d done nothing wrong and he was sorry. That was the beginning of my 21 months of hell. He turned into a monster, intimidating me in front of his friends and family, calling me names, putting me down, constantly checking up on me, isolating me from my family and friends. We went out with his friends one night and had an argument so I left and walked home. He followed me and became really aggressive as we reached our road. He grabbed me by the arm and began shouting so I pushed him away, grabbed my phone and rang the police. My mum who was babysitting came out, neighbours were out and he ran into the house, grabbed a knife from the kitchen and came onto the street with it to his throat. I was screaming on the phone to the police. Eventually he was arrested and released the next day having been cautioned for assaulting me. I was left with bruising on my arm, scared, nervous. A few days later he claimed he was sorry and I was too weak but too in love with him to argue so I believed him when he said it would never happen again.
The next 4 months were hell, the emotional abuse continued and I became a wreck whilst trying to be strong for our daughter. We eventually split up again after the constant arguing. He told me he was too good for me, that I was nothing and that nobody would want me. The next night he turned up at my house at 2.45am declaring he loved me, drunk. I told him to go away and closed the window. Next I heard banging, wood splintering as he kicked my door in. I ran for my phone to ring the police but he was quicker. He dragged me into the bedroom and pinned me down by my throat strangling me. I somehow managed to scream and scream until my neighbours came round and started shouting. He threw me across the room and casually walked out. He was arrested but released the next day without charge due to no witnesses. I was bruised all over, had a black eye and was a nervous wreck. Yet I was fighting to be with him because I loved him and I couldn’t see what was happening to me. He said he was sorry, he did it because he loved me and swore he’d change. So yet again we got back together. That was the last time he physically assaulted me.
The next 15 months or so, I was controlled like a puppet. I became so low I took an overdose but even that didn’t make him see what he was doing to me yet I was too weak to leave. We were a family, our daughter had two parents. He was loving and attentive but yet he was controlling me. I had no social life, no friends. I eventually began to believe everything he said and became very depressed. Only my daughter kept me going.
We split up over the next year numerous times, sometimes for weeks but I would always fight and beg him to come back to me and every time he became more powerful and I became weaker. One time we split up and I moved house but he drove round and found where I was living. Every time the police have been involved and they never once took it seriously. I saw solicitors and was told I had no grounds for an injunction so I began to think I was exaggerating it all and that it wasn’t that serious.
We split up just over three weeks ago after constant arguing. I’d begun to hate him and couldn’t bear to have him anywhere near me. He became abusive and called me a slapper and a baby killer, stood in my face trying to provoke me. I grabbed his clothes and threw them downstairs, some out onto the road. He stood in my face, his fist clenched and I thought he was going to hit me. When he went downstairs I texted my mum and told her to ring the police. They came out and took him and all his belongings to his mums, they told me I had to stop putting myself and my daughter through this otherwise I would end up losing her as she was hearing him being abusive to me. This time I’ve been taken seriously. The domestic violence unit contacted me and gave me the details of a solicitor they worked with. I made an appointment and she said I needed an injunction. I gave a statement which was heartbreaking and on Thursday, we both attended court and I was granted a 1 year injunction. He didn’t contest and admitted everything in my statement was true but he didn’t seem at all sorry or bothered.
He hasn’t seen our daughter or asked about her since we split up and neither has his family. He has put me and my daughter through hell; she’s 2 years old and should never have to see her mummy crying with fear because her daddy is so abusive.
Since I got my injunction, people seem to be taking me seriously now. He made an allegation to the police that I was sending him abusive messages but they told me they know he’s lying and he was just trying to get me into trouble once he got served with court papers and realised I was taking control at last. I haven’t spoken to him since we split up and now there’s something in place to stop him contacting me or coming near me but also its made me realise exactly how serious it has been, the danger I’ve been in and that there’s no going back now.
I will never fight or beg to be with him, I will never sit and cry because I miss him and still love him. I cry because I’m hurt and shocked and angry. Somehow I have to rebuild my life, for me and my daughter and move on from this. Yes I’m a victim of domestic violence and its taken 21 months, 10 incidents of police involvement, 2 assaults, 1 overdose attempt and a lot of anti depressants for me to be able to say it. I hate him for what he’s done to me, for the person he’s turned me into. He can get on with his life, no commitments, going out drinking with his friends, buying new clothes, meeting women and enjoying himself. I have none of that, but I have our daughter who keeps me strong and I have the control at last. Someday I will get over this and move on and be happy. I look forward to that day but for now, I take one day at a time. These men will NEVER change and I wish I’d been strong enough to walk away at the beginning and I hope my story will give someone the strength to do that.
*Names have been changed to protect identities.