Read the real story of Jane who has been supported by Women’s Aid.
I had been with Mike since I was 24 years old, we have been married for 2 years years. Mike was always so gentle and kind to me when we were going out, he always remembered the little things I liked and would surprise me all the time. When we went out he would be very proud of me and be telling everyone how great I was, he really was a wonderful man. We got married when I was 28 and on our honeymoon he told me that I would always be his. Mike was very good to my family, always doing little jobs for them on the weekends, painting, fixing the car and stuff like that. They all thought he was wonderful and told me how lucky I was and that he would make a wonderful father.
Mike wanted children, he always talked about having six. I wanted children too, maybe not six, but I wanted to wait a while because my new job was great and I wanted to get the promotion that was coming up the next year. Mike said I mustn’t love him or I would want to have children with him straight away, he said I promised on our wedding day to accept all the children that ‘God’ sent us. He told me that I shouldn’t take the pill anymore because this meant that I didn’t want our children. He flushed all my pills down the toilet and told me not to get anymore from the doctor. He told me he would know if I was taking them and that he wouldn’t be happy with that, he used to check my bag every day before I left for work and when I came home.
Every month Mike would check all the time if my period had come and every month when it did he would get really mad and accuse me of taking the pill or getting an injection to stop myself from getting pregnant. He would throw things all over the house, breaking stuff, once he kicked a hole in the wall of our bedroom. Mike wanted to have sex every morning as he said this was the best time to get pregnant, if I said no he would threaten to hurt me. After eight months we discovered I was pregnant, Mike was really happy and told me how much he loved me, I was relieved as now I was pregnant his moods would change he would stop wanting to have sex all the time and checking on me constantly to see that I wasn’t taking the pill or lying to him.
When I was pregnant he became more aggressive and violent. I was sick for the first three months and was tired all the time. I just wanted to sleep when I wasn’t working, but he said I was being selfish and insensitive to him. One morning I was in the bathroom being sick and he came in and started yelling, he told me this pregnancy had made me ignore him and that he was sick of me being sick all the time, he picked up the towel and started hitting me with it. I pleaded with him to stop, I told him the sickness would pass after three months and that everything would be ok. I felt so confused, Mike wanted this baby so badly and everyone was telling me about how happy he was that we were pregnant. He didn’t seem happy to me and I was very unhappy. How could I tell anyone? They all thought the world of Mike. How could I tell them: ‘this person you think is great does these things to me’? I had no words for it.
One morning when I was just over five months pregnant, Mike woke up and started kissing me, he climbed on top of me and when I asked him to stop, he got really mad. He picked up the phone and started hitting me with it, I tried to get away from him and fell on the floor. He started kicking me in the back, I was so frightened I was trying to hide my stomach, I was so worried about the baby. I had bruises all over my back and was so sore from where he had kicked me. Later that day I started to bleed, Mike took me to the maternity hospital where he told them I had been in a car crash. He cried to all the staff telling them he was so afraid we would lose our baby, he said the crash was his fault and he felt so guilty.
Later when he was gone home for the night I talked to a midwife about what happened, she told me that I should talk to the social worker who could help me to think about what I wanted to do now. The social worker arranged for me to talk with a woman from Women’s Aid who helps women who are being hurt by their partners. It was so good to talk to people confidentially, people who didn’t tell me what to do, but who confirmed what I knew – that what Mike was doing was wrong and that I shouldn’t have to experience these things. I got information on how to get legal protection and the woman from Women’s Aid came to court with me. Mike was very angry, he called me horrible names and tried to attack me even though my parents were with me, they couldn’t believe it. I now live with my parents because Mike kept coming back to our house. Next month, I will have our baby and I know I will have to see him then, but I am getting stronger now and I hope that the courts will help me to sort out custody and access so that I don’t have to see him on my own.
These stories are based on real accounts as told to the Women’s Aid National Freephone Helpline and One-to-One Support Services. Specific details and circumstances have been changed in the interests of protecting identity and to preserve the confidential nature of Women’s Aid Services.