Living a Trapped Life
“Domestic Violence is NO JOKE. For too long we sit in silence. For too long we don’t reach out for help. Don’t be a silent victim fooled by so called love”
- 1 in 5 (1.7 million) women and 1 in 20 (428,000) men have been sexually assaulted and/or threatened since age 15
- Intimate partner violence causes more illness, disability and deaths than any other risk factor for women aged 25–44
- Almost 1 in 4 (23%) women and 1 in 6 (16%) men have experienced emotional abuse from a current or previous partner since the age of 15
- On average, almost 8 women and 2 men are hospitalised each day after being assaulted by their spouse or partner about
- On average, one woman a week is murdered by her current or former partner.
*trigger warning- the story told below contains graphic detail
Hi, my name is Jenn, and for a long time I wished my husband would die.
This may sound shocking, it may even sound selfish. But when you have been constantly abused by the person who is supposed to love and protect you, your thoughts become desperate. Like a silent plea to god to end it.
We met young and immediately hit it off, I thought he was the greatest thing to walk the Earth. He filled my hopeful young mind with promises and I was smitten. We were inseparable.
The initial warning signs I didn’t pick up on. Anger issues, possessiveness, talking to other girls and the initial cutting off from friends. I was unaware and happily devoted myself to the relationship.
It wasn’t long before we were engaged. A few friends expressed their concern it was a bit early and we were too young, but I paid no attention I was far too excited and set about planning the future. Whilst all this was going on, my own bank accounts had been shut down, I was only allowed to have the joint account and had to ask permission before I spent anything, and any social activities were also closely monitored.
It confused me to begin with, but whenever I expressed those thoughts it would be turned around and he would say ‘what about all the things I do for you’, ‘have I ever let us down with my decisions Jenn?’ and ‘I’m providing for you, be grateful’ an early sign of gaslighting.
The first time he physically hurt me I am still blurry on the facts. It was like being in someone else’s body. Of course, I deserved it, it was my fault he got so mad and threw me against a walk and choked me until everything was blurry. Afterwards I was I shocked and upset, I tried talking to him, but he just brushed it off. I never told a soul….
Years went by, the control continued and got worse. I wasn’t allowed to work I had no say in where our money went. We had two children and I felt very isolated at home with them. To make things worse our only communication was the type that would lead to emotional outbursts from him and me being made out to be of lower importance than him, and often bruises were left on my body and my heart. He made me believe that this was what love was about. There was no teamwork. He was insecure and his jealousy often took over his rational brain. Going for a coffee with friends was hard work, let alone a class at the gym or out for a drink. I was constantly asked if I was sleeping with other people.
There are many facts and events I could talk about, some disturbing some that may not seem to have relevance. But believe me, when you are living this day in and day out it feels nothing short of a nightmare. I somehow managed to turn my emotions off for so long. I told no one of the things that were constantly said. I felt cold and only functioned to provide for my beautiful children.
Then one day I snapped. He told me I was lazy at 8am one morning. After I had been up 3 hours before him and completed most of my daily expected ‘chores’, id looked after our children, had his breakfast made. It wasn’t enough. He was annoyed about work and took it out on me and called me all sorts of names in front of the kids, our beautiful children.
I remember very very clearly getting up without a word just tears and going into the bathroom. It was a moment that really could have gone two ways.
I felt trapped…There was a moment where I sat in the shower and thought seriously about the razor blade and how it would slice my skin, would the pain disappear straight away? Would my point get across? Would he see I was drowning and change? As quickly as I thought it, it was gone. This was not going to be my life.
The events that followed for the few weeks after are somewhat like a domino effect.
I needed to open-up and get some help, it was the hardest thing to talk about after years of playing my role in a ‘perfect family’.
With one conversation to a friend everything spiralled out of control. What I didn’t realise is this is how I was going to gain control back. I booked myself in to see a councillor. As a pre-screen they ask questions to find the right person to suit you. I’ll never forget her saying I was being referred to the DV worker. I had to ask her if she meant what she said. I was still so oblivious.
Nothing will ever be able to describe the emotions and effort it took to leave someone after so long. It was draining to say the least. I was mentally and emotionally exhausted. Someone who thinks they did no wrong but did so many things to hurt you, is not an easy person to deal with let alone communicate.
I still wished for him to disappear.
There were moments of absolute desperation, no money, no car no idea what to do. It was a matter of starting from scratch, just me and my babies.
The abuse didn’t end when I left. This is the worst part. I remember feeling so relived, making the choice to leave and thinking I would be free. I wasn’t. The manipulation and control continued. If it wasn’t being verbally abused over the phone, in person or in messages. It was control of my life. It was making up stories to make me look bad, to give everyone a reason as to why I left other than the truth. It was the continued gaslighting and the ability to persuade everyone with his stories to hurt me.
All I can say now is through all of this. Years later. I made the right choice. I broke a cycle. You see I grew up in a similar pattern, there was no way I wanted my son to think that was how to treat someone or my daughter to think she has no voice. I worked hard on me, I provided for my kids and built myself up.
It hasn’t always been smooth sailing, I have made many mistakes, there has been highs and lows. However I have learnt a lot along the way.
Please educate yourself on the signs and symptoms surrounding abuse. If someone you know reaches out please listen, you could save a life.
13 11 14
Lifeline has a national number who can help put you in contact with a crisis service in your State.
1800 737 732
24-hour national sexual assault, family and domestic violence counselling line for any Australian who has experienced, or is at risk of, family and domestic violence and/or sexual assault.