It's International End Violence Against Women And Girls day today. I knew it was coming and I had been dreading it. Not because I think it unnecessary, but because it is STILL necessary.
We hear the statistics and yet it feels distant, disconnected from us somehow. Even, especially if we know someone who has been through it. Especially if that someone is us.
When I talk about things that have happened to me, I am calm and unemotional. I may as well be describing making a cup of tea. This is because I have dealt with the events and moved on. It feels like it happened to someone else, and I think that is self preservation, a coping mechanism. If I were to actually immerse myself in what it was like, how that fear took over me then I might not escape. And that would be bad.
So, if, when I describe what happened to me, I sound distant, that is the reason.
I'm going to take a deep breath and list it here though. Part catharsis, part real hopes that it connects and helps someone either leave, or not go there.
In my life I have:
Been beaten with a bamboo cane. That one was because I went back to smoking.
Had my face held over a chip pan with a knife held to my throat because dinner wasn't ready.
Been punched in the mouth just to see by way of experiment how much I would bleed.
Had crockery, cutlery and a bookcase thrown at me.
Been beaten with a nail studded bit of wood while pregnant because someone asked AS A JOKE if the baby was his.
Been locked in my flat and a fire set outside the front door so I couldn't catch him up before he spent my money at the pub.
Beaten with a chair for buying cheap dog food after he took my money.
Hospitalised twice while pregnant because he thought it funny to repeatedly kidney punch me to see how long it would take to make them fail.
Made to sleep on the floor without a blanket.
Kicked and punched from one end of the road to the other after a night out for smiling at a guy I used to be at school with.
Was told I was fat (8 stone 11) and ugly and no one would ever want me with a baby.
Threatened with death if I told or tried to leave.
Constantly told I was lucky to have him.
Constantly controlled emotionally, physically, financially.
I got strong when he went for the baby. That was when I said enough.
It wasn't over even then.
He stalked me, turned my family against me. Convinced my friends I was making it up.
He was so plausible.
It ended eventually when I turned the violence back against him. When I had nothing left to lose I found the strength to say enough.
I still bear the scars both physically and emotionally. But I won't let it become who I am. Because if I do, I'm lost. And he wins.
So if anything I have said resonates for you or anyone you know then please. Get out. However you can. Whatever it takes.
Enough isn't just enough.
It's too much.