"Before my marriage, there had been a few minor incidents that he explained away, by saying I had misunderstood him. I believed him, because it made sense and the alternative would have been too crazy. After the marriage, it took two weeks before he showed me his real self. I was not ready to recognise it though. What happened shocked me so badly that it took another 10 years before I even remembered it.
We were on our way into town to meet his friend. As we drove onto a quiet little side road, where no one could see us, he stopped the car. At this stage I should point out I am 5 feet 3in tall and had a very slight build. He is almost 6 foot and a strong build. I looked over at him in bewilderment as I could see no reason for stopping. He proceeded to take of his seat belt. Then, with his left hand he grabbed me by the throat. With his right hand he opened the car door and shoved me out by the throat. He was shouting and cursing at me but I can’t remember what about.
When he finished, he sat back in his seat and calmly said “nothing happened “. By the time we reached the town, my mind had put it in some place that I couldn’t access nor remember.
I thought he could be fixed. The extraordinary rages continued but I began to notice when they were most likely to happen. I also noticed that I would be safe if other people were with us. So I modified my life accordingly. I walked on eggshells. It was always about keeping the children and myself safe. I actually got him to go to counselling. He went, in full belief that it was me who had the psychological problem. I never got a diagnosis for his problem but I did have one big light bulb moment. A psychologist that had seen us as a pair, then individually, explained to me that contrary to what I thought, my husband was in complete control of his temper.
This shocked me as I realised he kept his outbursts for me.
Some of the worst experiences happened when he would use our little son. He would go to his room, wake him up and carry him up to the front door. Then he would threaten to drive off and crash the car. I would be on my knees begging him to stop, apologising, crying, trying to appease him. Our little boy would be crying and reaching for me but he wouldn’t let him come to me. This could go on for hours.
I got a protection order but the gards took his side. I finally told friends about the state of my marriage and they were very supportive and they still are now. I told his family and they weren't surprised as he had been violent at home too long before he met me. I finally ended the marriage but the abuse and disrespect continue.
I am speaking out now for two reasons. First, I find it helps me on my road to recovery. Secondly, I want to raise awareness. If I can help to do this, then it won’t have been a complete waste of a life."
"Women's Voices" is a series featuring individual stories from survivors of domestic abuse posted during the Women's Aid 16 Days of Action campaign. Each woman tells her story anonymously, sharing her own personal experience of the abuse she suffered. By telling their stories, the survivors hope that those in similar situations reach out, ask for help, and seek support. If you are affected by domestic or dating abuse, please call our 24hr National Freephone Helpline 1800 341 900.