It’s been well documented on here that my last relationship wasn’t the most stable and let’s be honest wasn’t the most fun situation to be in at the end. Not all the relationship was shit, but it slowly grew into something that wasn’t nice. It made me cry at night and at work and it made me question everything and everyone. And ultimately it made me lose a part of myself for a very long time.
The statistics for abusive relationships are shocking to say the least:
- Will affect 1 in 4 women and 1 in 6 men in their lifetime
- Leads to, on average, two women being murdered each week and 30 men per year
- Accounts for 16% of all violent crime (Source: Crime in England and Wales 04/05 report), however it is still the violent crime least likely to be reported to the police
- Has more repeat victims than any other crime (on average there will have been 35 assaults before a victim calls the police)
- Is the single most quoted reason for becoming homeless (Shelter, 2002)
- In 2010 the Forced Marriage Unit responded to 1735 reports of possible Forced Marriages.
- In addition, approximately 400 people commit suicide each year who have attended hospital for domestic abuse injuries in the previous six months, 200 of these attend hospital on the day they go on to commit suicide.
(Information from Living Without Abuse)
Abusive relationships can not be pigeonholed into a nice little box, they can affect everyone (male or female), at any age and any cultural background. Yet, we as a community are not open about it. We hide abuse behind close doors, in the tightness of the grip on our partners arm, under a scarf or jumper, under our social awkwardness…
#MaybeHeDoesntHitYou was started by writer Zahira Kelly on Twitter. She wanted to break down the walls of silence about abuse and in particular the walls surrounding emotional and physiological abuse. For me, the emotional abuse was the worse. My known flaws and deepest fears about myself were picked over like a turkey carcass and used to hurt me even more. I don’t believe I suffered as badly as some other do, but I suffered enough to consider suicide at the end. I remember sitting in bed and thinking “I could walk into the woods and kill myself and no one would find me for a few days” and this perversely made me smile with happiness. I thought giving myself back to nature would help end the cycle and I could be forgiven the sins I had perpetrated against a man who was meant to love me.
I should have been smarter in all honesty. I should have realised that a man who told me he was bored of me telling him about my day, bored of my family and friends, bored of dealing with my depression and ultimately the person who made me give up on ever being a mother was no good for me. I spent several years thinking I could somehow make this person better and make them love me as much as I loved them. In the end I ended up destroying myself.
I’ve become more cautious of ever loving anyone again the way I loved that man. I don’t think I could ever give myself to anyone again and risk all that pain. Risk feeling like my chest was going to burst open and drain onto the floor. For now, I can pretend to play the game of wanting another relationship, knowing that it’s unlikely to happen and to console myself that my cats will love me enough to eat my fleshy parts when I eventually die.
So here are my few to add to nail to the wall, bearing scars not fully healed but getting there;
#MaybeHeDoesntHitYou but he’ll call you a cunt and tell you no one likes you #MaybeHeDoesntHitYou but he’ll spit in your face when you make him angry #MaybeHeDoesntHitYou but he’ll isolate you from your family and friends #MaybeHeDoesntHitYou but he’ll make you cry and then tell you it’s your fault you are so upset #MaybeHeDoesntHitYou but he’ll tell you that you want all this drama and you want him to be angry at you #MaybeHeDoesntHitYou but he’ll throw a book at you then tell you that you deserved it
As I finish writing this, I’m sat at my desk at work in the office quietly crying. I’m fobbing it off as hay-fever to colleagues whilst I swallow back the guttural sob that hurts my throat.
It’s cathartic to open old wounds every once in awhile. Its just learning how to stitch them back up is hard. I’m learning slowly how to make beautiful marks and memories not to hide the truth or pain, but to make them more pleasant to live with.