Victim of Domestic Violence – My experience
Women’s Aid defines domestic abuse as an incident or pattern of incidents of controlling, coercive, threatening, degrading and violent behaviour, including sexual violence, in the majority of cases by a partner or ex-partner, but also by a family member or carer. It is very common. In the vast majority of cases it is experienced by women and is perpetrated by men.
My own case of domestic violence was by a male partner, whom was much older than me at the time, I was in-experienced in relationships and very young then when it happened. I am no longer with this person but it is an experience that I will never forget till the end of my life.
I think I was around 21 years of age at the time, lack of confidence, I wanted someone to love me truly and be there for me as a partner. Then a man came along, he was 10 years older than me stated he wanted to be with me in a relationship and that he will be my life partner not knowing he is the most dishonest, wicked, heartless human being, sneaky and uncivilised person that I have ever met in my life. He took advantage of my kindness, noticed I was inexperienced, lack confidence and that he can get what he wanted from me by the type of person I was at the time.
So the story started like this, one day I received a call by unknown person and a strange number which I picked and answered the person, noticed it was a man on the call. When I picked the call, I asked who it was and he introduced himself, I asked him how he got my number and what does he wants from me. His replied was he got my number from someone who knows me and how he wanted a relationship with me. I was not convinced by his response but somehow he managed to persuade me to meet up with him for formal introduction which I naively agreed to.
After a week we met at a restaurant in Hackney and later I started a relationship with him, with my experiences now I would never had encouraged him because he is not the type of person I date. To be honest I don’t think I ever loves him, its more like I felt sorry for him and his story plus the promises he made and how he will treat me good and assist me financially in the household expenses. He moved very quickly in my flat and agreed to take up some of the responsibilities especially paying the rent but he never stuck to it.
We then continue with the relationship, during that time he doesn’t have his immigration status in the country, so he asked me to assist him with his papers at the home office on the basis of our relationship and as my partner. I was also going to uni at the time studying for my business degree when I was with him. I then agreed to help him, thinking if I did that he will be able to gain employment in the country and then assist me in bills and other personal expenses but not knowing I was doing it for his own good.
At the beginning stage of the relationship he was nice and humble even though I never love him but I was hopping with time I will love him. I was also helping him financially and otherwise during the relationship plus sponsoring his application at the home office with my student finance money. I then did a registry wedding without any of my family member knowing or present at the ceremony, though they found out later, it was not a pleasant experience for my dad to learned about it. The only people who were present at the registry are his own friends and families.
After then we send his application to the home office and then there it all started, his behaviour and attitude towards me completed changed. I always knew and said he changed from being humble to mean since his application was sent to the home office but people and one couple in particular never believed me and said it is me that don’t listen because I am in Europe.
I was crying out for help to this couple and for them to believe me and talk to him so he can behave in a good way but no I was not getting anywhere. At this point I can’t go to any of my family member to complain or cry out because I have disrespected them for him, an uncle of mine stated if he marries me he will eat his shit, the word got to me so I was doing everything to keep the relationship and hopping one day things will get better and prove people wrong that have said negative things about him and the relationship.
However things continued getting worse until he started beating me physically. The beating, the beating, the beating are out of this world, but God wanted me to stay alive so I can tell my story and progress.
Each time he will beat me and the police got involved, sometimes he will be arrested and taking to cell but I will never press-charged so he will then come home laughing and saying relationships in England within the African communities is all about police where women called police on their men. At times I don’t call police but noticed that my neighbours will call them. The things he will beat me for are not necessary, he gets angry when I questioned him about his behaviour in the house and that the way he is treating me is not fair.
Things he used to do in the house even though I know they were wrong and he then knows I had no one to complain to expect this same couple, the reason this couple listened him and accepts his side is because is the same way the husband treats his wife expect he doesn’t beat her. They think the same way as an African, however this couple are older than me plus they have been in their relationship for very long time with kids and I am very young so I am not used to most of the African mentality and behaviours so I was struggling with the relationship with my partner.
- When his application came through from the home office, he started working and he was not contributing any money in the house. He will live the house to go work and when I asked him if he has gotten paid he will denied that he has not been paid.
- Sometimes he will give me money to cook in the house perhaps I am tired because of uni and I did not cook when he give me money he will moan and complained so much that it will lead to arguments and then the beating will start.
- He will not go out with me either to cinema, parties, restaurants, public places or do fun activities with me, when I questioned him why he will not go out with me he will say it’s not necessary, waste of money and all this things are in the house so why go out.
- He will not spend time with me in the house or keep my company, the only time he wants to do that his when he wants to have sex and when I noticed such behaviour so I stopped having sex with him even though we are sleeping in the same bed.
- He became very sneaky in the house where sometimes after work he will enter the property without me knowing he will be standing in the corridor listening to my conversations on the phone with people. A friend of mime sense that base on what I told her about the relationship so she will alter me to go and look at the corridor and each time I checked I will see him standing there listening to my conversation.
- There were times when I am busy at uni and not able to come home on time, he will be using the house phone to make calls both in America and Sierra Leone and as soon as he hears the key on the door he will then end the call and pretend he was not on the phone till the bill comes. One time he accumulated a bill of over £300, luckily it was his name that was on the account so I did not pay the bill.
- He will lie about every situation, things don’t make sense or add up so I never believed him and to a point that I wanted to get out of the relationship as I was tired of his lies.
So he continues to treats me bad, lying and being disrespectful towards me all the time until one day the beating that almost took my life and that was the last day he left my house by the police. What happened that very day was that, he came from work asked me if I had cook and I said no because he doesn’t give me money to cook for him and I am not going to use my money to cook. Because of that we got into arguments and I said something he doesn’t like so he then got violent towards me.
He physically beats be till I became very weak, I had no energy to fight him, he used his strength on me, head butted me, kicked me, box, punched, pushed me left and right on the ground and on the wall, break so many things in the flat such at my tv and other furniture’s. I had no power to fight him, I was crying and screaming like no body business until the police came to my rescue. I think the neighbours must have heard the continuous struggle, screaming and noise coming from my apartment so they called the police. Because of his deadly beating I was blind for one week on my left eye and I was swollen everywhere on my body including my eyes.
He was then arrested and taking to the police cell, this time I press charged and wanted for him to get tougher punishment for his behaviour towards me. He was bailed after a week of him spent in the cell and was given injunction not to come close to my address or communicate with me. He was escorted by the police for him to come and collect his belongs from my property because at this point I am tired and I told the police I don’t want the relationship anymore. With his bail conditions he was not allowed to travel outside the UK till the court case which he break.
He knew what he was doing to me and he had his plan for his future and that he was only in the relationship for his gain. He was given two years from the home office of his spouse application so he was working and doing things freely.
After his injunction from my address, he started calling me and my family to apologise of his behaviour towards me and that he is sorry so we should take the case out of court and settles it as families. I told my dad for me to take the case out of court he needs to pay for some of the damaged he caused in my flat and reimburse some of the money that I spent for his application to the home office. He insisted I should take the case out of court first, this time I refused and I said to him is he not getting his way this time. Because he is so used to manipulating me and get his way each time he wronged me, he thought I will listened to him.
By this time the police, victim support, women’s aid and other domestic violence organisations as well as charities for women had already involved in the matter and was fighting my case and providing me with emotional support.
What he also did during his last time with me in the relationship is that he bought a ticket to travel to Sierra Leone, the ticket came to my house address and I informed the relevant authorises that was dealing with my case about his travel to Africa who then informed the police that he was not allowed to travel outside the UK since he was on a bail condition. On the day of his travel to Sierra Leone, coincidentally, my dad was also travelling to Freetown and I happened to escort him at the airport. I did not see my ex at the airport thinking he will not travel because he told my dad he is not travelling to Africa not knowing he tried to travel but unfortunately for him he was arrested by the police at the airport.
My dad noticed and saw the commotion when they were arresting him but because my dad never liked or approved of our relationship, he had only met him few times so he did not recognised him at the airport.
Now, brace your seats and prepare for the painful part of the story. After he was arrested by the police at the airport, he was then taken to a nearby cell, I received a telephone call in the morning by the police saying Mr Sesay (that was his surname) had been arrested and he is in a police custody. My dad arrived in Sierra Leone but could not crossed over to the city (Freetown), in the morning I contacted him and told him about the information from the police. What my dad told me next shocked me and could have killed me if I was not strong mentally.
During his (my dad) arrival to Sierra Leone, he said he noticed a lady was crying and displaying like a mad person at the airport wondering what had happened to her, so he then learned later that her husband from the UK had been arrested by the UK police. He started to think, could it be the same person that was arrested at the airport so he was feeling sorry for the lady in the ferry all throughout the night until I made the call in the morning. So my dad asked the lady if her husband name is my so-called fake husband in the UK and she replied yes (wow are you following the story).
Now everything changed at the ferry when my dad started asking the lady further questions about her husband and their relationship where she also mentioned that they have been married for long time, he send money to her and that they have kids. This man did not ever mentioned to me he was married or have kids with another woman. My dad was so upset about what the lady was telling him and I was also upset and crying and was very angry to learned about his relationship in Africa. I even wanted to send people back home to go and beat up the woman but I guessed it was not her that offended me.
Upon all this, I still went ahead with the court case, he was then bailed again at the police custody but this time he was placed on a tag on his ankle, they gave him curfew order and reminds him of his injunction not to come close to my address for seven months until we went to court. The court case arrived, I had gathered my evidence and the police had already done series of tests on me to use as an evidence in the court.
O my God, this man can lie, he lied his way throughout the process when he was given his statement at the court and when the judge was asking him questions. You can tell the dishonest and evilness on his body language but because I was so innocence and honest even though I was crying when I was given my statement he lost the case and he was found guilty of the violence towards me. He was charged for GBH (Grievous bodily harm) and his punishment was not something I was happy with. He was given 12 months community sentence order, the court asked him to pay compensation for the damaged he caused in my flat and not to cross my address which most of it he did not follow through.
Since then, I stayed away from him and did not want to see him, redrew my affiliation on his application at the home office as a spouse, divorced him and contact all organisations and companies where we had joint names and asked them to take my name off as a partnership. During this period I was going through counselling from one organisations to another for over two years trying to develop my confidence, self-esteem and how to cope and spot out signs of bad relationships. I also went on various women training and support groups in order to build my confidence.
Till date I have only seen him few times and he tried to contact me on Facebook which I ignored. I hates him so much and I don’t want anything to do with him in my life even if he is the only man on this planet, I would rather turned lesbian because the damaged he has caused in my life I will never forget. Because of his abuse, I spent longer period at university and my progress was slowed, I think about his action towards me and sometimes I am afraid of my relationships with men whereby I don’t trust them.
Even though I am much better of dealing with men and spot signs of bad relationships, I pray I never come across someone like him again. I have also build my relationship with my dad since then and apologised. I still don’t know how he got my contact details, where he saw my picture and what information they must have told him about me for him to contact me. I have had rumours of how he got my number and I also believed the source of the person that was mentioned of how he got my number but I don’t have concrete evidence to approach this person.
This is my DV story and hope you were able to follow what I have been saying and thank you for taking the time of reading it.
If anyone needs name and contact of organisations that supported me during my ordeal let me know and I will pass on the information.