I envision a society free of family and community violence. I want to lead the way by empowering victims of domestic violence, child abuse, sexual assault and human trafficking to move from crisis to confidence in themselves. I have a mission is to provide support, prevent violence and promote justice for victims of crime and abuse, their families and communities. Send me your story, let’s break the silence together. My mail address is firstname.lastname@example.org
Today, I present Amaka to you. Here is her story of abuse. After being thrown out of her own home, Amaka found herself in an abusive relationship with someone who rapidly became cruel, pushing, shoving, kicking, but it is the Sexual Abuse Story which affected Amaka most deeply, and the secondary wounding in the lack of understanding from friends:
Dear Readers, you’d never pick him out as an abuser, he was small built, never got into fights and everyone who met him thought he was a sweet guy. When I was thrown out of home and had to live with him he very suddenly started to get rough. It was minor stuff like shoving me, being all up in my face, not serious stuff but looking back it started then. When I was pregnant he suddenly became very violent: what had been pulling my hair got to be him kicking me in the stomach. I couldn’t leave him because I had nowhere else to go. The day after I’d had the abortion was the first time he raped me. One morning he “accidentally” shoved me in the stomach so hard he pushed me out of bed and I screamed in agony. In the space of a short few weeks this was my life and I was dead inside. It really was that fast, the violence came like flicking a switch and I was instantly shattered by the horrific abuse.
A few people tried to get me to leave but by the time they were doing that I was already deeply traumatised by months of verbal, physical and sexual abuse … he’d deliberately traumatised me so much that I was totally dependent on him. Then because I didn’t leave people said I must like it, that I must be making it up, that by not leaving I was choosing the abuse and I deserved it. I was so low and vulnerable that I believed what they said. I used to scream and scream for help and nobody would come, people would hear but ignore it. This makes me cry now writing it. People heard but they thought I wasn’t worth saving because it was my fault for staying.
After a few months I was a shell, I couldn’t even feed or dress myself and I was getting so drunk I couldn’t walk every day of my sad life. On a good day I’d just pass out drunk at home, on a bad I’d get a beating. Fortunately I have tried to blank out most of it but what I remember has left deep wounds. He could beat me for hours, shoving me against walls, twisting my fingers and banging my head against things … then he’d get aroused. I’d be sobbing and wailing like an animal, my face swollen from tears and I’d have to carry out degrading and painful sex acts. He’d always make it as humiliating as possible, he wouldn’t look at me, he’d sodomise me, he’d wipe bodily fluids over me and he’d call me all sorts. If I refused to do it he’d rape me. This was my life.
During the years that we were together he’d worked himself into believing that I was responsible for everything that went wrong in our lives. If he made a mistake at work it would be my fault for distracting him, it was my fault he couldn’t get it up because I was so ugly and so on. This, for me, was fortunate because he met someone else (prettier than me, he said) and decided that because I was so awful and he was such a victim it was fine for him to chuck me and move her in. I gradually rebuilt my shattered life and slowly realised that what had happened to me was domestic violence.
I’ve got over the worst of the problems but what still cuts me up is other people’s anti-victim prejudice, people saying that we deserve it for not leaving. I remember I spent hours explaining to my friends why victim blaming is wrong yet a few months later she said she had “no sympathy” for victims because we’re “mugus” and bring the abuse on ourselves. I gave her numerous chances to apologise but she refused despite knowing how deeply she’d hurt me. I’ve since realised that it says more about her than it does about me and that bigots like that aren’t worth thinking about.
My ex was a medical doctor but that doesn’t mean he was a nice person. Last time I spoke to him he was still martyring himself and making me out as the bad person. He absolutely believed it, passionately believed that he was the victim and that I made a big deal out of nothing. He was just like my mum, she always told me I was worthless and that everything she did to me was my fault. For years I believed what I had been taught, I really, truly thought the abuse was my fault and that if I wasn’t so horrible then my mum and my ex would have treated me well. Now I know they just taught me that to make me easier to control.
From birth till I was 20, all I knew was abuse and for a long time after the abuse ended I truly hated being alive and wished he’d just killed me. Now I value every day that I’m alive even though I have low level problems with my speech, memory, nightmares, flashbacks, hearing, sex, intimacy and physical scars. I always wanted to help people and now I’m a lawyer, I use what happened to me to help other people. Everything I went through paid off, it’s all worth it because I can help other people and stop them from hurting.
If you’re reading this and you’re going through it I just want to say sweetie, you can escape this and whatever anyone says this isn’t something that you caused or deserve. I have a nice, safe, warm home and everything is ok … you can get there too and you deserve to be happy.