Thanks to Habibi for taking the time to write this amazing story so boldly, and so bravely. I’m honoured to post it and I hope you can take the time to read it and make a comment.
Turn back time 20 years
Dad worked away and mum went out a lot. I spent a lot of time with friends. I was 15.
There he was, that boy. I’ll never forget that first time I saw him from across the room, playing pool.
He was beautiful
I looked at his face , his hair thick and dark against his caramel skin. Stunning, striking blue eyes. The most beautiful I had ever seen. Full, soft looking lips pulled to a smile.
Oh God! He’s smiling at me. I look away.
He was often there in the weeks after and our friends became friends. One big group. My stomach jumped into my mouth each time I saw him. He was stunning.
He kissed me one night as we were all walking by the sea.
We were the couple everyone wanted to be and all our friends looked up to us.
He was shy, gentle and not what I expected. Not at all the person I saw but then we all wear a mask don’t we? His was very convincing.
We were both very much in love soon after .
After a week or two I got a call from him . His dad had broken his nose . He came to stay with us . Mum looked after him and we learned that his parents had separated after a violent relationship and he was in the middle. She was busy with one of her men and he was taking it out on his son.
This wasn’t an isolated incident. She hit me once after we’d argued.
So that was how it went. Mum looked after us both . He went home to sleep but that was all.
Before long he practically lived with us on the condition we both went to college . We were a quiet house by comparison and he loved us.
Things soon changed
It started small, apparently he hated my naturally curly hair that everyone admired. So I’d spend hours straightening it. He didn’t like my outfit or my choice of friends.
Soon my friends weren’t really around.
He would just walk out on me, clubbing last minute, so I’d have no plans and stay home alone.
If we went out together it was disastrous .
If I spoke to someone I knew he would hit them for ‘ perving at me’
I spoke to a lot of people, that was just me. One night I told the doorman the floor was wet. I saw his face change. That dark look I’d come to know. Those heavenly blue eyes filled with rage. We headed home and I knew better than to protest. In the street he called me a slut. Said I’d begged him for sex. I laughed and shrugged it off.
He moved so fast it was over and I was left with pain shooting through my bloody nose. Eyes throbbing and watering. Looking up his forehead was bloody. He’d head butted me. Nobody stopped to help. People stared, we walked home. Slept in silence.
The next day he took me out in the car he told me he was sorry for pushing me with his head and played John Lennon’s ‘Jealous Guy’ and that was that.
I forgave him. He was a product of violence himself. We were 17.
Dad didn’t visit home often but when he did Andy had to go home. He would go out of the house and sneak in later using his key. It was easy as my room was on the top floor.
Mum liked having a man around while dad was away. Andy would build and fix . I loved him and things were easier when we were together. There were no questions and I didn’t need the hassle of thinking for myself.
The questions were relentless otherwise
Even after a day at college .
Who did I see at lunch?
Where did I go?
Who was I talking to when his mum saw me in town?
Then the accusations
I’d been with guys. I was a slut. My friends were sluts. I only wore that for attention. I was only friends with *** so I could have an affair with her brother. It went on and on and he was less and less like that gorgeous boy I first met.
But I loved him.
Mum and dad went away. A week with just us in the house. Truth is I was just glad I wasn’t alone. We argued. Next doors friend was parked outside. He was waiting for me. I was seeing him. I was a slag. No I protested . I wasn’t . I had never been unfaithful. The eyes changed. Not good. So I stood against the wall and waited. BAM! Oh God how would I explain the hole in the bedroom wall? My head throbbed..
I was thinking ‘put a poster over the hole’. Anything to take my mind off the fact he was dragging me. Slamming me off what felt like every wall in the house.
Aching I crept into bed and waited for sleep.
There was a strange feeling as I lay on my side , hugging my knees to my chest, something stirred me awake. Heavy breathing on my neck. My skin prickled. Something inside me. My silent tears fell as he pushed harder and faster. I just lay still. He was using my body without my permission. I was sore and bruised inside and out.
Eventually it was over and pain was my only reminder of what had taken place.
It wasn’t rape though. We were a couple. Rape was a stranger. That’s what I told myself.
The next night he would make it all better and take me out.
It was uneventful, mainly because after he hit most guys I spoke to or who he thought I looked at I stood in the shadows and kept quiet. The worst was missing the dancing I loved. He flirted with girls, time to go.
I felt an arm around my waist .
“No dancing tonight , beautiful?”
I spun around in horror. It was Jay. A guy I used to dance with.
We all chatted , walking home, but as jay turned off the main road I knew what would come. I ran after Andy but I was too late. My white dress was blood splattered.
The next day the police called me to the station ” We don’t grass” Andy’s mother warned or she would make me regret it.
Jay had broken ribs, lost teeth and had his face stitched together. I was scared and relieved he was alive after what I had seen.
I stood by my man. That’s what you do. Right?
I couldn’t do this any more and shortly after I asked Andy to move out. He did , until one night.
I’d gone to bed having the house to myself. I woke suddenly . Confused. I saw a shadowy shape. The glint of a blade close to me. He leaned forward.
” You fucking dare bring anyone here and I’ll fucking slit your throat while you’re asleep . You’re mine!”
And then he was gone.
The months that followed were hell despite the fact he was with someone new. Coincidentally she looked a lot like me people said.
He broke into my friends flat after seeing us out together but I wasn’t there.
He told the family I was a nanny for that he would break their windows while the kids were in if I was there. I got the sack.
I moved out alone after the police said they couldn’t really help. An injunction would just infuriate him and I was up against a notorious family ( I had no idea!!). Nobody knew where I was, so I thought. I soon moved on to be closer to mum. He moved into the house I left. Coincidence?
Living there meant he was able to get credit in my name and soon bailiffs were knocking at my new address.
I couldn’t go home. I swore not to after he broke in and threatened mum. It was my fault.
I got a job in a bar. He saw me there but said nothing . Maybe it was finally over. He was all over whoever he was with.
Relief. I felt safer now I had a mobile phone. The next day my phone rang. I got lots of silent calls that day. The last one said he loved me. Needed me to see. See how wrong I’d been about all of this. He had told my boss that I was his girlfriend and he was locked out so that was how he got my number. Again I couldn’t eat or sleep.
I got a job in a nursery. I loved it. One day I was called into the office. There he stood. My boss hoped it wouldn’t be a problem for me to care for his baby. It wasn’t. She was lovely but once again I was answerable to him. Why did I let her sleep late ?? ( she hasn’t) and so it went on. Them living in my old house. Their child in my nursery. Hayley was lovely. I really felt sorry for her because I knew what he was like.
So it went on. For years. More than I could ever find time to write about.
I got married. The photo was in the paper. When I saw him he said my hair looked a mess. Sending I love you messages through friends.
Until finally he went to prison . He had hurt and raped someone.
I was free
I’m no victim. I win. He did me a favour. Although I’ll never get my teens back, he taught me never to settle for anything less than love and respect and I’ll never change who I am for anyone.
I don’t have to . I have someone who is gentle, kind and generally awesome. He cherishes me and lets me be my outgoing ,chatty self. He trusts me.
My gentle protector.
He holds my heart and cherishes it.
Andy was released and moved doors away from my mother in laws house which was owned by my gran’s brother until until he died.
That’s my story
Remember, domestic violence isn’t always loud and shouty. Sometimes it’s quiet and evil,
Thanks for reading x