health

"I found myself bruised, battered & underneath an X-ray machine."

An important post this White Ribbon Day.

Trigger warning: This post deals with domestic violence and may be triggering for some readers. 

I’m 35 years old, have studied psychology at a postgraduate level and was raised in a middle-class, moderate two parent family. I am a mother, I pay a mortgage, I’m a reasonably health conscious woman. I have the unpleasant experience of a broken marriage behind me and I’ve been relatively and deliberately private about it.

I know my rights, I know what constitutes domestic violence and I have a fairly acute theoretical understanding of gender inequality alongside an understated feminist streak.

Last week I found myself bruised, battered and underneath an X-ray machine because a man decided to exercise his physical power over me. And I didn’t see it coming.

hospital-hallway-feat-720x547-720x547
“I didn’t see it coming.” Image via iStock.

I am more equipped than most to predict this kind of behaviour. I wrote a thesis on it. I’ve seen it all before. And I didn’t see it coming.

This is the most difficult thing I’ve ever shared…

I’m worried I’ll regret it. I’m worried that this may seem trivial in comparison to what others have endured. I’m worried about what my friends will think, my family. I’m worried about what my male friends will think. I’m very worried I’ll be more compromised (further than my single-thirty-something-mother status) in finding a future partner.

But I’m doing it. I’m doing it because I don’t want to perpetuate the secrecy, and then in some way, the increasing acceptance of the way violence against women has been quietly absorbed into our culture. Women aren’t stereotypically great owners of their bravery but we need to be. We need to be brave to counter the cowardice of our perpetrators. I don’t feel remotely brave but I want to force myself into it, to show that man who assumed I wasn’t and relied upon that assumption that he was wrong. I want to force myself because he was very nearly right.

Domestic Violence Shadow Fighting from iStock
Because, apart from total shock and upset, my initial reaction was to keep it a secret.  I let him stay in my house (for too long) and explain his ‘side’ and crawl back into my bed, lay beside me and hug me close. And for this time I wholly considered staying in the relationship. I was going to share the blame for it (because maybe he had a point…I shouldn’t have left, I shouldn’t have cried, I shouldn’t have stood where I did). He was sorry. He never meant to hurt me.  He would never do something like that.

ADVERTISEMENT

I accepted his text messages, even after I sat with bruised arms wrapped around my child, resting a pounding head on the warm little shoulder and a worried best friend by my side advising I go to the hospital.

I read his messages after the GP looked me in the eyes, said gravely ‘you know that’s domestic violence’ and sent me off with radiology paperwork.

I messaged him after I sat getting my skull x-rayed for half an hour by a gentle man who politely ignored the occasional silent tears that I couldn’t keep locked behind my eyes.

After one of my most trusted friends urged that I do not. I messaged him back.

Watch Rosie Batty discussing the importance of funding domestic violence prevention on The 7.30 Report. Post continues below. 

Video via ABC

I did not immediately walk away. And I am in a privileged position in terms of support and knowledge. It took me five days (and his continuing reference to ‘my part in what happened’) to realise with clarity and certainty that I had no part in being knocked off my feet, pushed down or hit in the head.

A man knocking a woman off her feet is never ok. Neither is pushing her. Or repeatedly bringing a crushing weight down on her head.

I know there are hundreds of stories like this being told today. And it’s devastating. Because somewhere under the guard of intimacy, there are many men who believe that it’s ok to disrespect, devalue and disempower women.

And it’s not ok.

It’s not ok even if you stand in the way, if you left him, or if you cry.

It’s never ok.

*Not for a minute do I think violence against women is limited to or only synonymous with physical abuse. It’s just the way of this story.

The author of this story is known to Mamamia but has chosen to remain anonymous. 

If this post brings up any issues for you, or if you just feel like you need to speak to someone, please call 1800 RESPECT (1800 737 732) – the national sexual assault, domestic and family violence counselling service. It doesn’t matter where you live, they will take your call and, if need be, refer you to a service closer to home.

Today is White Ribbon Day, Australia’s only national, male led campaign to end men’s violence against women. To find out what you can do, visit the White Ribbon website and take the oath to prevent men’s violence against women. 

Tags:
FROM OUR NETWORK
00:00 / ???