Category Archives: Domestic Violence

See It – Speak It

Today has started off badly. Work has been stressful for the last six months but I’ve been coping. The difficulties this morning are less about work stress and more about the effect last night’s BBC3 drama Murdered By My Boyfriend has had on my peace.

BBC3 Murdered By My Boyfriend

Murdered By My Boyfriend charts the four years leading up to the death of a 21 year old mother. It starts when the bubbly confident 17 year old Ashley (Played by Georgina Campbell) meets the older good-looking Reece (Royce Pierreson) who would eventually brutally beat her with his fists and an ironing board, while their toddler looks on before leaving her to die on their bedroom floor.

It is based on the true story of Casey Brittle who was murdered by Sanchez Williams.

Writer Regina Moriarty skilfully and knowledgeably charts how the fun and loving relationship moves through the various stages of domestic violence and emotional abuse. It was superbly delivered by the actors and resonated with my relationship with McDad so much that the perpetrator even said, word for word, some of the things that McDad has said to me from the other side of the sofa.

As I watched the show I followed the twitter feed for #MurderedByMyBoyfriend. I was so shocked by the lack of understanding and the amount of victim blaming. The demographic most likely to suffer from domestic violence are females aged between 16-24 but on the feed it seems to be the demographic most vicious in the blaming of the victim.

Tweets referred to Ashley as stupid, an idiot, weak and many said that love wouldn’t make them stay in a situation like that.

If nothing else what became clear was the complete lack of understanding and empathy in relation to the victims of domestic violence.

For a long time I have been ashamed of speaking out about the level of violence and emotional abuse that I suffered at the hands of McDad.

This is mostly due to victim blaming; and that was mostly from other women. When a woman says to me ‘I would have never have let a man treat me that way’ I understand how little they understand because before I met McDad I used to say that.

Just as in the BBC3 Drama, McDad never laid a finger on me until I was 6 months pregnant. Looking back the emotional abuse had started in subtle ways; unreasonable jealousy, movement checking, subtle put downs.

There was a moment where Ashley screams in her head. That was a moment I experienced but not in my head. I screamed and screamed and begged him to leave, to stop destroying not only me but the children, friendships and every waking day.

He hugged me and smirked.

He also referred to my body size and ‘insecurities’. He advised me to stop getting myself into these states.

Domestic violence happens everywhere. Household with domestic violence are not defined their pay packet, colour, culture, level of education or ages of the occupants. McDad and I are university educated, earned four times the national average wage combined, were senior NHS managers and I was in my 30’s.

I was confident, well travelled, intelligent and feisty. I had a lovely network of friends and was never short of money. McDad came along and eroded all those aspects of my life, slowly chipping away at my self esteem and confidence. By the time the first punch came I was six months pregnant, about to go on maternity leave and living with him.

And I was mentally exhausted.

Utterly spent.

Stages of abuse

Almost two years followed of being spat on, kicked, punched and strangled to the point of losing consciousness, quite often in front of the toddler.

Like Cassey Brittal, who called the police 11 times for help, ten years ago I just couldn’t find the support I needed to get out of that relationship. I called the police on 5 different occasions, I walked in to a police station twice with visible bruising and in a state of shock and distress while barefoot and carrying my year old baby.

I spent days frantically trying to find a refuge or help but was refused by five domestic violence charities because I would not give up my job at the NHS. It was the last thing he was yet to destroy and I wanted to be able to provide for my daughters as a single parent but I was told in no uncertain terms that if I did not cut all ties including my job I could not enter a shelter in case he followed me there.  It was on me to move from the home that I had built long before I met him, my job, my family and my friends if I wanted help.

There was no onus on him stopping; it was all about me escaping.

Finally I woke up one morning and decided that I had to get a better life for my daughters. When his next attack came I locked myself in the bathroom and called the police. When they arrived he was detained and arrested. I took the rest of the day to pack up all his things and asked the police to collect them. At the station I had to go through the ordeal of stripping down so that my injuries could be photographed. When I was examined by the police doctor she told me, that she could never understand why a bright ‘girl’ like me would be stupid enough to stay with a man like that. Had I not been at a point where I was determined I would probably have walked out of the station there and then fully shamed by her comment and perhaps not called upon the police for the next couple of incidents.

In the months leading up to the court case, he would ring my phone and be abusive or turn up and try to kick in my door. He pleaded not guilty but changed his plea to guilty after seeing that I did turn up to give evidence.

He and his lawyer were sure I would drop out.

The guilty plea meant that I never got to stand up in court and my voice was never heard. The police managed to lose the photographs of my injuries and despite assurances from the police of a custodial sentence he received a fine and was ordered to stay away from me.

I received no compensation and so had to find the money to put a door frame back in, replace the front door and repair all the damage he had done to the flat.

Clearly the beating he gave me (despite his previous convictions for violent assault on other people), the jewelry and precious things he stole, destruction and damage he did to the home of myself and the children, was not enough for the courts.

He would have to hurt me to the point of more permanent damage before they would really deal with it seriously.

Of course he was in my street as I walked home from work less than one week after sentencing. I reported the breach of his bail conditions a further 3 times that month but he was never arrested and brought to account.

As time went on he would used the excuse of wanting to see his daughter to try to excerpt control over myself and her.

I’ve spent my time rebuilding myself to the point where if he so much as calls me a name I now call the police. But even so he was still threatening to kill me as recently as May 2013 in the very public forum of my daughter’s school hall.

This started for me at the age of 32 and I was bought so low that I thought of suicide.  The police had no powers and some awful attitudes toward the victims of domestic violence and ultimately a man who already had a string of violent offences was convicted of aggravated assault, breaking and entering with violence and criminal damage still walked off with a slap on the wrists.

I have found that family and friends don’t really want to hear about it. People find it uncomfortable and that leave the victim feeling ashamed and afraid to speak out. apparently after all this time I should no longer be angry or dwell on it, I should be over it by now. I have even been told that I should forgive him.

As if he is no longer an abuser.

These attitudes go along with the victims fear of the abuser and works well in the abusers favor. It aides the victims isolation.

I cannot imagine how a 17 year old can see a way out of such abuse.

How can someone who has never experienced the slow chipping away at their sanity, confidence and self worth understand? If twitter users are to be taken seriously most people cant and don’t want to understand.

I count myself lucky, even though McDad still has moments of trying to control,as I’m still alive, if he had held his hands around my neck a little longer i may not be, if he had hit me over the head with the bottle………. The bruises and breaks have healed and I worked long and hard on repairing my emotional stability.

But 2 women in the UK are killed every week.

Every single week.

Why is this not given the focus it deserves?

Casey Brittal was not so fortunate. May she rest in peace.

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If you are a victim of domestic violence please seek help, speak to someone.

http://www.womensaid.org.uk

http://www.nationaldomesticviolencehelpline.org.uk

http://www.refuge.org.uk

 

 

McDad- The Bully

http://wp.me/p3tJrr-2q

McDad – Still An Abuser; 

http://wp.me/p3tJrr-2H

McDad – Asserting Himself; 

http://wp.me/p3tJrr-4E

McDad- A Tweet- A decision; 

http://wp.me/p3tJrr-5P

McDad; Twisted Logic; 

http://wp.me/p3tJrr-9B

McDad 6 months on;   

http://wp.me/p3tJrr-dx

Murdered By My Boyfriend Trailer; 

 

McDad; Twisted Logic

It won't be long.....

It’s no joke…..

So I was told two weeks ago that McDad has a new job.

Over a year of unemployment and he finally is working. Everyone is pleased for him and once again people can pretend that he is a useful member of society. Let’s ignore the little fact that he probably did not declare his criminal history and got the job under some false pretence.

The most interesting thing I was told was that McDad and his girlfriend have decided that because ‘he doesn’t see his daughter he won’t pay for her’.

Unfortunately my daughter happened to walk into the kitchen at the exact same moment I repeated what she said with incredulity……..’So because she won’t see him he won’t PAY for her?!’

Later she wanted clarification so I told her that SuperGran had told me that dad had got a new job but had decided that he would not pay towards her upkeep because he wasn’t seeing her.

This is more or less her response word for word;

“So because he doesn’t see me I don’t exist? I’m not his responsibility? I don’t eat? Outstanding, nice one”

Inny is learning from his actions that parenting is a choice.

Some people have children but chose not to parent them in any capacity. It was the first time I had heard bitterness in my 10 year old daughter. I feel so sad for her and kind of guilty too!

My brother has two children one is with him and his current partner in Norway and the other lives in the USA with her mother. He maintains regular contact with his daughter in the states and never defaults on his maintenance. He makes that happen. He takes responsibility for seeing that she travels to see her paternal family and has a solid and fruitful relationship with her little sister. He and his ex have always put my niece first and have managed to work out the best of a difficult situation.

My brother is no saint. He has made lots of mistakes in the past and at times can be thoughtless, wrapped up in his own world but his child has always been at the forefront of his mind. His actions have reflected that.

McDad is a much lesser man than that.

He is not seeing his child and so has to control something. This is going to be money.

His control has now extended to his 10 year old daughter effectively he’s saying ‘if you don’t see me I will not support you in anyway; you can starve for all I care’.

I think she gets that.

I can’t conceive not doing the best that I can for my children whatever the circumstances; that’s why I have put up sitting across from the sociopath that is McDad on countless occasions since we separated in 2005. I can’t imagine putting not making an effort for my daughters.

Since the incident in May, he has tried to demand I speak with him via his mother, intimidate me with the National Mediation service and excerpt control via money.

What he has not done is apologised for his behaviour, written to his kid to apologise for his behaviour. Made any attempt to make things better in anyway.

Were we expecting that?

No not at all. I know him well enough to know that he thinks the incident at the school was no big deal; after all he didn’t punch me or anything. I know form history that he does not perceive parenting as something he should do.

His child is not his responsibility.

He has never put Inny first and that is not about to change now. He has always left the nurturing of his child to someone else, his mother, his sisters, my brothers, my friends………. It has never really mattered who as long as he was not the person who had to wait around for swimming class to be over or out in the cold at Brownies or dropping off for a friends party. He only ever showed up for the fun stuff like her birthday party, drop off her Christmas present but of course never was involved in the arrangement (and rarely the funding).

He would make weak and short lived gestures like taking her to school twice a week for a term but that would quickly be cast off unceremoniously if something better came along. What happened to her and her routine was someone else’s problem. In the end his lack of commitment and unreliability meant no one bothered to asked him to step up and parent the child.

McDad is destroying his relationship with her with every passing day. It’s so sad. He’s gone from hero to zero in the last few years, finally topping it off with a show of horrid aggression exposing himself as a monster before her very eyes and in the company of her friends.

Now this.

I would weep with deep sorrow if my 10 year old daughter ever spoke about me in that way.

What kind of failure as a mother would I be to cause such bitterness in the eyes of an otherwise happy, intelligent and loving child.

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See below for previous McDad posts;

McDad – A Tweet – A Decision http://wp.me/p3tJrr-5P
McDad: Asserting Himself http://wp.me/p3tJrr-4E
McDad; Still an abuser http://wp.me/p3tJrr-2H
McDad the bully http://wp.me/p3tJrr-2q

Wife

I am watching my husband control my life
Silently screaming, fighting a fight

I am watching my husband control my destiny
Silently screaming, fighting a fight

I am at a disadvantage
Stopped short
Confused
Raw

I am watching my culture spurring him on
Feeding him honour, feeding him wrong

I am watching my religion justify him
Admonishing slaps, admonishing sins

I am pacing myself, taking my time
Finding my feet, making up my mind

I am at a crossroad
Stopping short
Anticipating
Freedom

(for C, there is light at the end of the tunnel girlfriend)

McDad – A Tweet – A Decision

I have a voice and I'll use it!

I have a voice and I’ll use it!

This morning I did something I rarely do, as the interaction with McDad ran across my mind and I remembered that part of the vitriol he spat at me was that people read my twitter feed and laugh at me, so curious, I checked his twitter feed and then that of his girlfriends.

Perhaps I’m a little paranoid and a little masochistic. Maybe.

What I definitely am is curious about human nature.

Now as I have never met this woman and know the nature of my ex well enough to know how he manipulates the truth, controls, lies and cheats I tend to defend this woman when speaking with his family about the situation. After all it seems he now targets single mothers and swiftly moves in on them, into the comfort of their established home and routine. Straight from my home to hers. I often say things like ‘well we don’t know what’s going on behind closed doors’ ‘she is only told what he wants her to know’ ‘ she feels she has to support her man’ and other such little gems. I am genuinely afraid for her emotionally and physically. But I’m often told to not make excuses for her, that she should not incite him and ‘should be his water to his fire’. I was not sure that she does do that …………

Well I found this little gem on her time line.

Something to say Hun?

Something to say Hun?

As this is quite transparently aimed at me given the date and the content I find this quite interesting and to be honest somewhat annoying.

At no point has she felt the need to comment or condemn domestic violence. She has not felt the need to comment on a violent of aggressive action that took place in a school hall full of children, or an outstanding arrest warrant and the criminal history of violence of my daughters father.

She, a mother herself, has not felt the need to comment on men who do not contribute to the upkeep of their children or that the person she has lived with on and off for over eight years has never had his child over night in their home. Or men who do not in fact see their children on a regular basis or contribute to their physical needs. She did not feel the need to say anything when McDad disappeared for 3 months making no contact with his daughter at all, missing her birthday and Christmas.

But she does feel it’s okay the say that a mother who keeps a child away from its father should be locked up.

I take it for the simplistic, reactionary and one dimensional response to the limited information that she was given by a dishonest controlling man.

When I saw this tweet I had to do some self-examination and question my decision. I’m an open minded, growing person and know that one has to regularly examine one’s own motives when decision making to ensure the right choices are made.

Firstly. What was my decision?

Cease all interaction between myself and my children with my violent and abusive ex-partner and father of my youngest child for the foreseeable future.

Was this the right decision?

I strongly believe that it is the duty of a parent to protect a child from violence, aggression and abuse. Even if that is from the other biological parent.

vinthehome

Unicefs 2006 report ‘Behind Closed Doors; the impact of domestic violence on children’ estimates that 275 million children worldwide are exposed to domestic violence with a range of between 24000 to 963000 exposed in the UK

“There is significant risk of ever-increasing harm to
the child’s physical, emotional and social development.

Infants and small children who are exposed to violence in the home
experience so much added emotional stress that it can harm the
development of their brains and impair cognitive and sensory growth.
Behaviour changes can include excessive irritability, sleep problems,
emotional distress, fear of being alone, immature behaviour, and problems
with toilet training and language development.
As they grow, children who are exposed to violence may continue to show
signs of problems. Primary-school-age children may have more trouble with
school work, and show poor concentration and focus. They tend not to do
as well in school. In one study, forty per cent had lower reading abilities
than children from non-violent homes.
Personality and behavioural problems among children exposed to violence
in the home can take the forms of psychosomatic illnesses, depression,
suicidal tendencies, and bed-wetting. Later in life, these children are at
greater risk for substance abuse, juvenile pregnancy and criminal behaviour
than those raised in homes without violence”

imagv4

My daughter had nightmares and anxiety issues for 10 months after we moved away from the house in which we lived with McDad. Many nights I raced along the hallway to respond to her screams in the night. She is emotionally delicate, cannot bear to see people suffering or take part in any contact sport. She gets distressed at raised voices, cries at foul language and suffers from a nervous stomach condition that comes to the fore when she’s emotionally distressed.

My daughter was traumatized by his behaviour in the school hall in front of her and her friends. She says she was frightened and does not want to see him for a while. She spent the following 48 hours close to a toilet.

I believe she is what is known as Gillick Competent and is unlikely to be forced to see him if she doesn’t want to.

I have an obligation to protect her and teach her that it is not acceptable to be treated with aggression and violence. I do not want her to think that this is normal behaviour or part of a normal healthy relationship. I do not want her to seek out partners like him in her adult relationships. In order to do that I must keep her away from it.

The absolute irony of all of this is that when McDad and I were together he would ask me why I allowed my older daughter to see her father when her father often failed to turn up at the appointed time or didn’t show up at all and did not contribute to her up keep. In his opinion my older daughter, L, should not put through the constant disappointment by now seeing her father at all.

L’s father isn’t violent, never uses obscenities and pretty much left us to get on with things. No control issues or undiagnosed/untreated mental health issues. He was just selfish and self-centered and lazy. He was focused on becoming famous. He’s a bit of a cock; yes he is, but he’s not dangerous unpredictable and extremely violent.

So do I think I have made the right decision?

Unfortunately I went against all advise in 2005 when the police and courts advised me to get a full injunction against McDad and do everything legally possible to make sure he came no where near us in the future.
I thought I was doing what was best for her because she needed to have a relationship with her father. The relationship proved to be inconsistent and has turned out to be traumatic. To sustain the relationship I have been exposed to his abuse and aggression over and over again.

Now I’m following my daughter’s wishes and giving her the space from the anguish and fear she feels by taking her request seriously.

I sincerely believe that McDad is dangerous and a negative influence on all those around him. I don’t want him to have the opportunity to show any further examples to my daughter of what it looks and feels like when a man controls, abuses and hurts their partners, women or people in general.
In her distant subconscious there is a picture of her father strangling her mother and her mother fighting for her life. In her very present memory is the picture of her father leaning over aggressively verbally abusing and threatening her mother in her place of safety in front of her friends. Nothing else needs to be added to those memories to further scar her childhood.

McDad needs to seek professional help to deal with his issues. Or in the words of his 10 year old daughter ‘he needs to sort himself out because he was being so horrible and nasty mummy’. In the years since we’ve parted his ability to control his aggression seems to have diminished, he is unable to hold down a job and his interpersonal relationships with family have deteriorated beyond recognition.

The police have advised me to cease all interaction with him and to call them if he shows up at school or at our home. They have clearly warned me that this man is a ‘ticking time bomb’ and a ‘very violent and aggressive criminal’ who is currently wanted for questioning by the police.

So the blanket statement ‘children as pawns’ does not apply here.

In fact the tweet shows how simplistic people can be, how little McDad’s girlfriend actually knows about what’s going on and how little she actually knows about me. It’s also quite a cowardly; surely if you feel so strongly you’d reach out and have a conversation like an adult instead of taking back handed potshots.

I wholeheartedly believe that children should not be used as pawns to get back at the other parent. I also believe that providing for, nuturing and being present for a child is not optional and have been consistent in doing so every single day of her life but most importantly I believe in giving my daughter the safest and most loving upbringing possible and anyone (and I mean anyone) who threatens that has got to go!

Sources
http://www.unicef.org/protection/files/BehindClosedDoors.pdf
http://www.icyrnet.net/UserFiles/mullender.pdf
http://www.nspcc.org.uk/inform/research/questions/gillick_wda61289.html

Previous McDad Posts;
http://wp.me/p3tJrr-2H
http://wp.me/p3tJrr-2q

Please vote below;

Have I Made The Right Decision by Ceasing Contact?

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THINGS I’D SAY; IF WE SPOKE

You hate me. Okay we get that. You’ve abused me on social network.

Let’s get over that.

I understand. I think.

You live an insecure life with an unpredictable man. He ‘hates’ me and so its siding with him to hate me too is the safest option. It’s not possible for you to be the voice of reason.

You only know the lies you have been told after all why would he risk bringing one abused partner in front of another so that the truth can be known?

There’s a blog called ‘dating a sociopath’, http://wp.me/p39XfS-4Dc’, with several great pieces two of which are ’Top 18 signs you’ve been dating a sociopath’ and ‘The Dripping Tap of Emotional Abuse of a Sociopath’ which I hope you take time to read.

Listed on these are the characteristics of a sociopath; I certainly recognized at least 10 of these characteristics in our mutual sociopath. The top five of those he displays are;

Will always blame someone else – lack of remorse, guilt or shame

Despite the horrible abuse he has put me through he blames me for everything.

Is very dramatic

His absolute crazed rages speak for themselves

Lack of life plan and long term goals

He can’t hold a job. He can’t commit to something two months away

Socially isolates you

You’ve been kept apart from other people in his life for so long because this is the way an abuser isolates his prey. This is how you are isolated so that you only know what he tells you. This is how you are controlled.

Huge ego

He’s unemployed and mightily pissed off at how his life has turned out. His criminal record is a gruesome works in progress.

He’s cheated and lied to you. He doesn’t actually see his daughter regularly and doesn’t to stay over at his mums to look after her.

You walk on egg shells.

Do you know that when he first told me of you I suggested we meet and make acquaintance for the sake of the child?

You were invited to meet up.

Do you know that when you break up he makes a point of letting me know? Or that I give him a reference for every job he’s had.

I want to take this opportunity to let you know a few things. I know what you’re going through. You are not alone.

I don’t hate you. You were once welcomed in my home and I spoke up for you with his mother and continue to do so. None of his behavior is your fault. He chooses how to behave.

I hope you don’t suffer at the hands of this man who is violent to many.

I hope you are okay.

But most of all I hope that your son has not taken instruction on how to be a man or how to treat women from this violent, aggressive and abusive man.

Popular celebrity TV Chef Nigella Lawson abused, attacked by her husband

Popular celebrity TV Chef Nigella Lawson abused, attacked by her husband.

I was walking past the news stand with my daughter this afternoon when I spotted a paper with a shocking picture of Charles Saatchi grabbing his wife Nigella Lawson by the neck while out to lunch in a restaurant.

It was shocking but I realised this is how it looks from the outsiders perspective.

What I saw in the picture was a man using some restraint because he was in public and a woman in abject fear. I can only imagine what happens behind close door.

Why did she kiss him afterwards?

Well, because she was afraid.

Because she was trying to placate him

Because she was afraid of what was to come after they left a public space and were alone.

Onlookers looked………………. but no one came to her rescue.