by SIOBHAN KENT
I always thought that I’d never be a victim of domestic violence. People make certain assumptions about the ‘type’ of person that experience it, myself included, and I didn’t fit any of those stereotypes (misguided as they are). I’ve always been strong, independent, self sufficient and not one to take things lying down.
I also thought that if it ever happened to me, there would be no way I would stay in that situation one nano-second past when the first blow occurred.
I was wrong on both fronts. The thing is, it can (and does) happen to anyone.
My story isn’t unique, but by sharing it I hope that I can help give other women strength and hope. I gave up a successful career and moved thousands of kilometers to run a business with my then fiancée. From the outside, we were the perfect couple. We had a successful business, gorgeous house, cute dog, beautiful cars, were healthy and were even featured in local magazines. But nobody knew what was really going on.
My strongest memory is one particular night when the situation I was in degenerated fast. At one point, the sound emulating from my mouth was so foreign that it sounded like it was coming from some injured animal outside on the road. Indeed, it sent my dog into a spin…
You know you’ve hit rock bottom when you can’t get off the floor no matter how hard you try. When you are curled up into a ball rocking back and forth and screaming, yet you don’t even realise it’s you that’s making the noise. When you are literally running through the night to get to freedom. When you have no semblance of self left, and don’t even recognise when enough is enough.
An abuser, whether they mean to or not, has a knack of cutting you off from everything – financially, from friends and family and even your career and future prospects. All my money was invested in our new life together, and I was physically a long way from my family and friends, but emotionally even further. He put me down non-stop, to the point where I had no shred of self-esteem left. I was fat, ugly, incompetent and an insult to the world. And I believed it, wholeheartedly.