All About Me

Domestic Violence

I just want to say a quick few words of thanks for all the lovely messages I’ve had on my post about my depression, while I’m still feeling all happy about that I thought I would write my ‘missing part’ of my story, which incorporates really from when I was 18 till today. I think if I had put this in at the same time I would have ended up with the longest post in history.

Just a quick warning I have tried to keep this as non-graphic as I can, and not gone into details. But obviously I touch on some awful subjects in this post so just wanted to put a warning up.

Basically this starts around a year after I had moved into the halfway house, although I was only 17 when I first moved in as I had got on with everyone in the place I had been asked if I wanted to move in more permanently than the 4 week short stay room I had started in. In my first year there a lot of things changed, I split up with the guy I had been with since I was 15 just before my 18th birthday, my over dosing never really stopped until the incident I spoke about in my previous blog.

But then something huge happened, as I have said before I didn’t care about myself and really didn’t think about the dangers I was putting myself into, when one day I decided to meet someone I had been talking to on the Internet. I didn’t tell anyone where I was going, and although I had my mobile on me I was very prone to not answering. I only remember small bits of the day it was cold, and the train seemed to take forever to get to its destination – London.

I’m sure many people can probably guess where I am going with this, so I won’t go into much detail the person who I met wasn’t who they had professed to be beforehand, but they were charming, I was cold they gave me their coat, that sort of thing, but I was quite glad by the end of the time to be going home. At this point I tried to give them their coat back but they wouldn’t take it, I wish sometimes now I would have tried harder, dropped it on the floor even.

For the next week I tried my best to ignore all the phone calls, but then on the Sunday a text came that I don’t know what to do about, he was on his way to where I lived. I panicked, I remember now that all he knew was the name of the next town over, if I had ignored this text he would have gone away and none of the following would have happened, but I didn’t…

I responded and went to meet him, he begged me to let him stay for the night and I did on the understanding it would just be for the night, the next day he would go home.

I’m sure you can guess the fact he never did. I think it was only 2 months that it lasted but it feels like a life time even now. He did everything to me you could think of I’m sure, in this time I did see my parents, but he would always be there, making sure I told them everything is ok and when I was at  home it was a life of horror.

If anyone came around he didn’t like or I did something he didn’t like I would end up locked in the bathroom with no lights, he would bite me every time I bent over to pick anything up, and he would rape me anytime he wanted to.

I lived in a communal building in a bedsit and believe me I was never quiet I would scream and cry any time of the day or night, the building was staffed and the only time I was ever asked by a staff member if I was ‘ok’ I was crying my eyes out and shaking badly and they took my answer as ‘I’m fine’ to be the truth and walked off, after 2 months the women living opposite me came and knocked on my door, screaming leave her alone, I remember just sinking down on the bed and thinking this is it, I’m either dead or saved. I remember him opening the door and shouting at her to go away and mind her own business, she stuck her foot in the door so he couldn’t shut it, and told him to get out she wanted to speak to me, for some reason he went, I think he must have believed I was so under his thumb, I wouldn’t say anything and I think he was probably right, he just didn’t bet on one thing, what she said to me.

I know what’s going on, don’t you dare deny it, because I won’t believe you, and someway this ends now.

She took my phone and rang my mother, told her I needed to go and see her. I didn’t tell my Mum the truth that day, I just told her that I was in debt and couldn’t deal with it anymore. But things kept slipping out that made no sense to her, like the fact I asked her to use the bathroom, which I know well enough I don’t need to do in my parents’ house, the fact I wouldn’t stop crying and how withdrawn I was, also made them wonder, by the evening when my Dad was home and they ended up taking me to the hospital where I was sedated.

The next day my Mum took me into town to have a cup of tea, when we went back to hers there was a package from him, having been posted through her front door, I flipped told her he was going to get me, then I started saying I have to go to him, the doctor can out this time and quickly sedated me.

The next day we went out again and went to see a couple of friends, in the afternoon my Mum had a phone call, from one of my friends I had not spoken to during this time, turns out my Mum had rung her in a blind panic and she was taking me in for a while.

Over the next few weeks I slowly started telling her the whole truth of what happened, the local refuge wouldn’t take me in due to my mental health problems, so my Mum and friend tried to help me through it all as best as they could. And I thank them so much for that, but I was too messed up, I didn’t know how to look after myself anymore, I had been turned into a machine and I was stuck in the cycle of domestic violence.

I went through 2 more abusive relationships, over the next years, there’s not much to say about the one in the middle bar he was a very angry person who needed and I still hope, maybe, has now got the help he needed, the last one well I refuse to say what I think might, or could, be wrong with him, he thought I was possessed and he had to beat and rape me to get whatever it was out of me, he even admitted the rape to mutual friends – alongside the fact he had previously thought about murder. I had tried going into a refuge in the October – but the local one to my parents didn’t have room and I walked out after a few minutes – yes I was a girl who went back.

For my 21st Birthday my parents took me to Center Parcs it’s quite a tradition and I still love going to this day (even at the big 25) on the day we were coming home, my Mum had asked me to get the towels and pack them away. I was in the middle of getting them when he asked me to go and do something, I turned around and said give me a minute let me just finish doing this for my Mum and he went mental at me. I remember turning to my Mum and asking her if she thought it was out of order.. When she said yes I finally knew I had to do something.

Again I went and stayed with the friend who had put me up after the 1st and 2nd episodes.  But thankfully when we rang the local refuge this time they said they had a bed of me right away. I remember wondering if it was the right thing to do should I really take this step and leave everything behind, I remember what had happened the previous month – had I really gained the strength in such a short time? But most of all I also knew I couldn’t carry on as I was.

A week after my 21st birthday I moved into the refuge and while the first nights were so hard, I also learnt so much, such as I am not a victim but I did give off signals that drew people like that to me.

I lived with some amazingly inspirational people who had been through so much, and were so strong, I’m sure during that time I drew strength from each one of them, as 9 months later when I got my new flat and moved out I was a different person. I loved being single, myself and Sally in our home, it felt perfect. I spent 3 years like that, just me and Sal seeing a lot of my friends and my family and loved every minute of it. I had nightmares and sometimes I needed to be around my Mum and Dad to feel 100% safe, but I was free.

On the 10th of May 2010 I got with my other half you hear me talk about on here, we had known each other for 5 years he knew everything that had happened already so I didn’t need to explain the way I was, the fact I’m terrified of small spaces and the dark didn’t faze him one bit. He tells me every night that if I wake due to my nightmares all I need to do is wake him and he will talk to me. He accepts me for my past, and within that has made me realise I am me because of it.

So have a forgiven them for what they did to me – yes.

They made me stronger that I could ever have been without it, they made me understand sides of life, I couldn’t before and at least for making me stronger, I thank them for it. I now will NOT try and commit suicide, because if I do they will win. I still have my depression and battle that dragon every day; as I still get the feeling of being at the bottom of a hole.

The best way I can describe it is that it’s a hole very deep dug from the mud, I try to climb it to get to the light but the mud just falls away under my hands.

So to add from my words of the last post

We are just humans. We just can’t cope like others.

Please take a moment to think about how others might feel, take a moment to maybe try and understand.

Take a moment and tell someone you’re there for them that you love them or maybe just how much they make you smile.

If you are looking to meet someone online TELL someone where you are going whatever your age. But also remember that however long you have known someone they may not be who you think (I left this out but the last guy I had known since I was 17 and moved into the supported housing) I thought he was a good guy and a good friend, but he proved that I was wrong.

Most of all NEVER be ashamed to ask for help, never be worried about telling someone what is happening, there are people out there who can help you, people who know what you are going through and have been there themselves.

And if anyone reading this ever wants to talk, use my contact page by all means and I shall get back to you ASAP.

This article has 25 comments

  1. Jude

    Sarah,

    What an inspiration you are. I am a civilian investigator with the police, I come into contact with with offenders and victims of domestic violence every day. I spend my time interviewing the offenders and then speaking with the victims and trying to persuade them not to withdraw their statements. People not in this situation will say ‘why don’t you just leave’ and ‘I wouldn’t put up with that’, they don’t realise the control and the fear that you are living with day after day. You’re a survivor and with the support of your family and friends you are here telling your story. I hope any women, who maybe are in the situation you describe, are reading this and gain some strength and hope from your experience. well done for such an amazing post.

    Jude xx
    @jadlgw

  2. Sarah

    Hi Jude,

    Thank you so much for your lovely comment, I have to say I am so glad they have someone like you looking out for them in their time of need, my interactions with the police were sadly very bad, they were all too happy for me to drop the charges and even at one point declined to take a statement from me, because I would just drop the charges anyway, so it would have been a waste of time. I had threats on my phone, and I remember them saying well you will just delete the texts and then what proof would there be, unless you hand your phone over to us now, so I put it on the table and told them to have it. And he soon back tracked on that. I still don’t quite understand there thinking to this day, as I later found out I wasn’t the first and I’m sure I sadly wont have been the last, but at least I can say I tried. But I do also believe I was unlucky, and there are wonderful police out there who are very kind and understanding.

    I hope that my story can help just one person realise that things can get better and although at the time it’s just so hard to even think of a life without being controlled and infact it’s actually scary to think that it could be like that, as it’s what you have become used to, that it worth taking the huge step and walking away.

    Sarah xx

  3. Mary

    Glad you’re through the other side Sarah. I lived with this for over 20 years. In ‘those days’ there wasn’t much help and the police weren’t as informed. It was always “just a domestic”. I had 6 kids to look after too. I know what strength it takes to break away…and STAY away…so well done you. Hope you have a really happy life from here on in. Glad you shared this as it could give someone else in the same situation the incentive to get out of it. Love and hugs. Mary xxx

  4. sherie buck

    Sarah yet again I had to read this over and over, it brings me to tears, this is not a problem it is because I feel for you so much.
    I have never been in a domestic violence situation, thank god. Thank you for your story an inspiration to help others get out of one.
    I have and still find I am in a emotionally abusive relationship, controls different aspects of my life.
    For some reason I have always attracted the control freaks.
    maybe one day like you my life will change and have someone who respects me for who I am.
    x

  5. Sarah

    Hi Mary,

    So glad you managed to get away from it all in the end, what an amazing women you are in so many ways. I’m so glad I know you 🙂 I think one day I will have to look up the stats of how many people it effects in there lifetime, I have a number in my head I’m sure I was told while I was in the refuge but wouldn’t like to quote it with out checking I still have it right after all this time. It’s good that the police are getting better with it, and realising it’s not always just another domestic. The police around here now send trainees into refuages to talk to the women in there to see how they found their interactions with the police, while I was there the majority said it was awful, but there was a couple who did say it was good. So getting there!

    xxxx

    Hi Sherie

    *huge hugs to you* I was having a conversation with my friend today, and basically I turned around to her and said the emotional and mental scars are in my view anyway the hardest to heal from, no matter what they are from, if its being hit, raped or just being mentally or emotionally abused. Though I do no that sometimes that isn’t the case, sometimes your beaten to much and left with much harder problems physically you have to deal with. Which I couldn’t start to imagine how that would be.
    I remember deciding I was going to be single forever when I was 21, I was never going to be with a guy ever again lol Did me good to be on my own, but I wouldn’t change the OH now, though how he puts up with me I have no idea.
    Just remember to make sure your happy and safe 🙂 put yourself first, oh and keep making your wonderful jewellery and beadie bits 😀 I love looking at them, and will treat myself one of these days lol.

    Take Care of yourself and if you need a chat then you know where to find me!

    *hugs*
    Sarah xx

  6. mandy4baz

    I’m not one for writing long comments etc.. but I do love to read. Your story and how you have come out the other side is as others say Inspirational.
    You have certainly been through terrible, tough times. Thankyou for sharing.
    Amanda xx

  7. Anonymous

    I read this tonight; i really admire you for being so frank and writing about what happerned to you Sarah. you are an insperation to so many that have been through or are experiencing simerla things as to what you endured.

    love and hugs Hannah x

  8. Hannah

    ( not sure why it came up as anonymous)

    also; what you wrote could possibly help give the strength to help others seek inside them selves to leave such horrific partners.

  9. Hollychihuahua

    As a person who has worked with people who are accused of domestic violence and people who are victims, I can say congratulations for relying on your loved ones to help you through such a difficult situation.  You are such a strong and beautiful person and are an inspiration to others.  I recently wrote about how to remove toxic people from your life at my blog at http://www.buddhatropolis.com/2011/05/10-life-changes-series-eliminate-toxic.html.  Congrats for following through. -Hollychihuahua from Swap-Bot

  10. Sarah Bailey

    Thank you so much, I just hope that it rings through to one person, that they think hey I can do it I can make everything better – yes it hard at first but so worth it in the end. I shall be popping over and having a look at that post now, it sounds so intresting thank you xx

  11. Laura Harris

    I have only just read this part of your blog, and while I thought you were brave before – wow! You are one amazing person. Never forget it.

  12. Wendy Tolhurst

    I have been signed up to your blog for some time and admittedly, I first turned to some of your home posts to comment for your advent competition. However, tonight, I got to learn a little more about you and what you have been through. I started reading more because I wanted to know about your illness and how you managed day to day, then I came across this article on domestic violence and I believe it gave me just a little insight into how difficult your life has been to date – and, compared to me, you are a mere youngster!! I really admire your courage with your blog but the overriding thing that struck me is how much, despite all the difficulties, you have made positives in your life and are such an inspiration. That is not meant to sound blase, and I certainly am not saying life is easy and sorted now, but you seem to have experienced so much in your life, but seem to be on the right track, with the right type of person alongside you now. Over the coming weeks, I will be spending more time reading your blog (right from the start) and hope to learn more about you and have more of an understanding of you. Thank you for such an honest blog.

    • Sarah-Louise Bailey

      Thank you so much – I am sorry it’s taken me so long to reply – I still find it hard to come back to this post. I keep meaning to go over it, touch up the bad spelling and awful grammar but I can’t find the strength somehow. Perhaps one day I will. x

  13. Andi G

    I also came on here to comment for a competition, but I am so moved by these posts. I hope they can be there for others in the same situation to read an feel the help and understanding that is there

    • Sarah-Louise Bailey

      I really hope the same if they help one person it would be amazing – I don’t want anyone to feel alone if they are going through it – and to know that things can get better it’s hard yes but the outcome is worth it. x

  14. Zoe @ My Mummys World

    Sarah! I never knew all of this, I have just read all three posts I am so moved by all of these stories. However I am so glad you came out much stronger the other end.

    • Sarah-Louise Bailey

      My hidden secrets – it definitely made me a stronger person, I think once I hit rock bottom I had to come out of it and in some ways it still helps as crazy as that sounds as when I’m feeling really depressed I just think – don’t let them win. x

  15. sgrmse.

    you’re incredible. i’m so glad i read this but more than that, THANK YOU. for writing.

  16. Stephanie

    Wow what a story, so sorry this happened to u, i really hope others will read and get help from it, u are a strong women and am so glad u got out of that terrible relationship

  17. Kim Styles

    I have experienced and knowned people who have gone through this – people need to be brave and ring ‘refuge’- they will help and support those who experience domestic violence- and remember domestic violence isnt always physical violence it is control , humiliation and social deprivation .

  18. Sarah-Jane Laycock

    I have nothing but admiration for you – talking about this subject is so important for people still trapped in that perpetual cycle. You give them hope and that is the most important thing on this planet x

  19. ana

    Sarah I was sobbing throughout this post choked up at what those disgusting self-entitled men did too you. You are brave, beautiful inside and out and don’t ever let anyone take that away from you. You have been through so much and yet you use your past to make you stronger and I think that is something that we should all do. Children these days aspire to be like celebrities but my role models are women like you who have the strength to keep on going no matter what has happened. I was abused by my stepmother as a child and my dad just sat and did nothing because he was too scared of what she might do to him, while I was sitting there with cuts and bruises. I have been abused all my life and although it is not pleasant by any means would I change my past? No I wouldn’t because like you I have a duty to raise awareness and protect all those innocents who do not have a voice of their own x

  20. Tess D

    this was an inspirational and thought provoking post – you are very brave and although this was tough to read so glad I did thank you x

  21. Michelle Whyte

    Survivor…that’s what you and an inspiration to everyone you share your experiences with…an insight into the manipulative ways of an abuser…all reading this will have their opened a little bit more now…ty x

    • Sarah-Louise Bailey

      Thank you so much – it always amazes me people read this post still, I should really tidy it up and make it more readable but I need a strong day for that I think. x

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