I have a daughter turning 11 this year. Her father and I parted ways when she was a year or so old.
During our relationship he was manipulative, violent, aggressive and a serial cheat.
Now you may wonder how I can to be with this poor excuse of a man in the first instance?
Well the description above conjures up certain images.
What it probably does not bring up is a well-dressed, suited and booted middle class, law graduate with a master’s degree in marketing, working as a business manager for the NHS earning £40+
That’s who I initially went on a date with.
The manipulative violent guy didn’t show up until I was five months pregnant. We had been shopping and were driving back home talking about work. I had disagreed with a management strategy he was thinking of using and he decided that I was wrong and punched me in the side of the head, then then drove me to a dark remote council estate and kicked me out of the car without out my bag and drove off.
Over the next 2 years he punched, kicked repeatedly until I could not stand, strangled, spat on, threw things at and yelled abuse at me and trashed our home repeatedly. Often in front of our little girl. He wore me down emotionally and physically; even boasting that he had ‘beat me like i was some bloke down the pub’
It transpired that most of the times were him manipulating arguments so that he could go off in a huff and ‘stay at his mums’ for the weekend.
Stay at his mums equated to staying with the latest girl on the side.
In the time I lived with him I changed from a healthy contented, confident woman to a friendless, shattered shadow of myself. I lost all confidence.
I often looked back and asked how I let all of it happen. The answers are simple.
I was scared. I was tired. I was financially tied to this creep.
But mostly I was ashamed.
Ashamed that it was happening to me.
Ashamed that this was the father of my child.
Ashamed of him.
I had tried to leave a year earlier. I desperately called various shelters and domestic violence groups. All told me that they would help but only if I cut myself off and this included leaving my job. The rational was that he could follow me to the shelter. Another charity told me that they cold not help me as I had a good job and should simply rent somewhere. As did hackney council.
Now I was willing to move but I was not willing to give up a job that I had worked hard in and moved up the ranks to end up a statistic in the benefits system. I went back home that night and pretended that I had not spend 7 hours phoning every charity or help line I could think of begging for help.
Once I walked bare foot to the local police station with my half-dressed child in my arms and broke down. But I didn’t press charges. Again I went home.
Finally after reporting him to the police several times I found the strength to see the process all the way to the court date.
I knew that I, as a parent owed my daughters a safe and happy life. This wasn’t it. I had to get them away from him.
I eventually found the strength to press charges against him and he was convicted of breaking and entering with excessive violence, criminal damage and aggravated assault. Lesser charges of theft were dropped.
Going through the process though answered a lot of questions about why women with draw their complaints. The police doctor treated me like some kind of idiot. She rolled her eyes, spoke down at me and I over heard her saying derogatory things about me to an officer.
Photo’s of the injuries, that I had suffered the humiliation of stripping off for, were lost and not available for court.
The final insult was that he got away with a small fine and broke his conditions by turning up at my home, several times, within days, shouting abuse but was not re-arrested and I had to pay for securing the flat and correcting the damage he had caused.
Over the 10 years that have passed, though he also lives in London, he has not had much involvement in our daughters upbringing. There was a school term where he was coming over and taking her to school a few years ago but this ended when he got a job (for which I gave him a reference)……………….. he didn’t bother to let us know that he wouldn’t be turning up……….he just didn’t.
Also during this period he’s had 5 different jobs. Four of which I’ve given him references for. And been sacked from all of them
And he has not supported her financially for almost half of the 10 years. No support at all during 2013 so far. But worse still is no communication. He doesn’t think that he should keep us updated on if or when maintenance will or won’t be coming from him.
So a man with all this time on his hands must devote a good portion of that to being involved in the care of his child. Right?
My daughter only sees him if she goes to stay at her paternal grandmothers’ for the weekend.
He paternal grandma has been a true blessing in our lives. She has been a consistent help and is always ready to chip in when it comes to the picking up or dropping off duties or the looking after her when she’s off school sick.
He father is what we English call a McDonalds Dad or as I prefer a McDad.
‘McDad’ Definition; ‘a man who sees his child infrequently and with whom activities mostly involve a movie and a meal at a fast food joint. He may occasionally turn up at a school play, birthdays, Christmas but carries out no parental duties or responsibilities.
It’s took a long time to build my confidence up and get myself to a happy place but a couple of years after we parted I woke one morning realizing it was over and my strength had returned.
My daughter thrives and is a lovely child. In fact both my children are kind and giving, thoughtful and intelligent. Despite the rough start.
The charity Womens’ Aid statistics reveal that 1 in 4 women in the UK will be victims of current or former partners in their lifetimes and 2 women a week are killed by a current or former male partner.
Being that I have seen the loss of self-control and the murderous hateful look in his eyes, I know things could have turned out differently.
(I was prompted to write this post after an awful verbal assault from McDad, who I haven’t seen since December 2012, this morning at my daughters school assembly. I will go on to write about that later as I think I’m not up to it emotionally at the moment. I’m in total shock that anyone would be have that way in public talk less of in a school hall with children running around. It’s been a rough day and i feel extremely weak.) (Please forgive any grammatical errors)