TRIGGER WARNING: This article deals with an account of domestic violence and may be triggering for survivors of abuse.
A few weeks ago, after a night out at a fundraising event with some girlfriends I was attacked in my own home. Here’s the kicker: I knew my attacker. In fact I had once thought I was in love with him.
I arrived home admittedly a few glasses of wine worse for wear. He had been watching our baby and had even sent me texts during the evening letting me know that our 20 month old son was fast asleep and saying that he hoped I was having a great night. I felt at ease to finally let my hair down and have some fun.
I was wrong, this was the first part of his game: to lull me into a false sense of security.
As soon as I walked in the front door I went to the bedroom to take my shoes off as my feet were sore. Seconds later I was thrown back onto the bed, his hand around my throat. His face inches from mine and his eyes vacant as he screamed at me for being drunk, calling me a slut.
I begged to go to the toilet, and tried to grab my phone as I headed to the ensuite, but he wouldn’t let me take it. He stood there and watched me as I went to the toilet. I was buying time, trying to think of what to do next. As I tried to leave the bathroom I again asked if I could have my phone back, but he wouldn’t let me have it. He wanted to know who I was talking to, wouldn’t believe me that there was no-one, I had only spent the night chatting with my girlfriends. He wouldn’t let me past, and as he got more and more worked up, yelling at screaming at me he punched a hole in the wall of the ensuite, cutting his hand. Finally he walked from the room and I was able to come out.
The yelling and abuse went on for two hours. At some point he put my phone down and I tried calling 000 as he ranted, with a half empty bottle of tequila in one hand and an empty bottle of scotch in the other. He was trying to smash them on the floor of the bedroom and I was scared he was going to cut me with them. I hadn’t picked up the phone when I dialed as I didn’t want to attract too much attention. The next day I noticed that the phone call to 000 had lasted 27 seconds before he had noticed what I’d done and hung up, taking my phone away again. But nobody came. Luckily the bottles didn’t smash, instead he began hitting himself in the head with them and then punching himself in the head before he turned on me again.
This time he had his whole body weight on top of me, his hand once again around my throat, threatening to rape and kill me. I will admit that I fought back. I wasn’t going to let my baby be without his mother. My older children weren’t at home that night, so I knew they were safe. At this point I heard my little boy cry, and I think this is the only thing that stopped him. I really don’t know how far he would have gone if that hadn’t happened. He wouldn’t let me go to my baby, and after a while there was silence. I remember praying that my son was OK, and I just wanted this monster out of my house.
I grabbed my phone (and in my panic for some reason I didn’t actually call 000 or the police again, I really don’t know why… it seems ridiculous now) I pretended to be recording him.
I very calmly asked him over and over to leave and for some reason the thought of being recorded made him play the role of being cool, calm, and collected. It still took 30-45 minutes to convince him to go, as he paced the house, with me pretending to record him. Eventually I was so exhausted I began to cry hysterically, I think he figured he had won and finally he went. It was like the switch had been flicked again and he was all of a sudden able to see what he had done, and what he was about to do, but I was fully aware that it wouldn’t take much for the switch to flick again.