WARNING: Contains graphic details which some may find disturbing and upsetting.
My name is Aundrea, I’m going to talk to you about a bit of a taboo subject today... Domestic violence. Not a pretty subject but it’s one that is very close to my heart and I think that the more we know, the more we are equipped to deal with it, should it ever affect you.
I'm going to tell you my story. Before I start just let me say that I was one of those girls that used to say ‘I would never stay with someone who hit me, it would be the first time and the last time’. It’s not as black and white when you are in that situation, at least it wasn't for me... OK, here goes.
I was 20 when i met him, we’ll just call him ‘E’ for this. We met in a pub where my friends and i used to hang out 2 or 3 nights a week. He was sitting in the corner alone. I thought he was a really great looking guy and I never really liked seeing anyone on their own in our pub, we were all like one big family in there. I turned to my friend Steve to ask him if we should invite him over, and he told me he knew him from a few house parties. He called him over and introduced himself to us. We talked for most of the night and a few friends ended up coming back to mine including him. 3 days later he was still there, we were getting on so well and seemed to have a lot in common.
About 3 weeks later the cracks started to appear, I was always a fun loving, out going, friendly type of girl. That was all about to change. He didn't want me talking to any guys, I wasn't even allowed to look at them. I told him I had had enough, that I wasn't going to let anyone control me. He broke down and told me he had lost his job and couldn't afford his apartment anymore, he didn't mean to take it out on me. My heart melted and i offered to let him move in with me on a temporary basis, until he got himself sorted.
Things went well for 3 months, the jealousy was still there but not as bad as before. Things were OK until i started to feel ill, really ill. I went to the doctor and found out i was pregnant. That was the day my life changed forever. I had just turned 21, I wasn't equipped to deal with a baby... I was terrified. The thing that terrified me more was having to tell my parents. I went home and told E. He was delighted. I explained my fears of telling my parents, and he said that we would tell the together. I knew how this was going to go before I even got there. My father went crazy, he told me that i had to have this child aborted, that it was a sin for me to even think about going through with this pregnancy. I found that rich coming from a man who had never been to church in his life. I'm going to be honest, I did think about it. I don't have anything against abortion, I’m pro choice, a women s body is her own business. I decided against it, I knew I would never forgive myself for doing it, and it wasn't the child's fault. My father then told me to get out of his house, that i was never to come back, I would never see any of my family again, that I would be cut out of his will and that he would leave a stipulation in his will that should he die, i was not to attend his funeral. All my mother had to say was ‘I’ll pray for you’ my family are in no way religious by the way.
That's when the violence with ‘E’ started, he knew i had nowhere to go and that i would have to take whatever he threw at me. I was devastated over my parents. I felt very much alone in the world, I really felt he was all I had and the little one in my tummy of course. They were my family now, they were all I had. It started over the little thing, for example we were watching hostel one night and when it came to the scene where the girl threw herself in front of a train because she caught a glimpse of her reflection. I laughed and said ‘ She could have got that fixed’ I got a plate broken across the back of my head. The cat was thrown against the wall and I received a punch in the face. Then i was locked in a tiny bathroom for about 3 hours.
Seem a bit extreme? It gets worse. I went to my friends 21st one night and had to tell him I was going to dinner with a girlfriend. He went to the pub and someone told him where I was. He rang my phone and told me he knew where I was. When I got home that night I thought there was no one there, when I walked in to turn on the light he jumped out and wrapped a scarf lead around my neck and tried to strangle me. He told me if i ever lied to him like that again he would kill me. I had had enough, I was nearly 9 months pregnant and i hadn't lost everything and everyone so that i could lose this child because of his violence i had to be strong for it. I went to give him a hug, and kicked him full force into his privates, pushed him into the bathroom, locked the latch and rang the police. They took an hour to come, this was at 3 in the morning. They came and took him away, and brought me to my maternity hospital to get checked out.
He showed up the next day to collect his things, all he asked was if he could be there for the birth, I told him when they were inducing me and said he could take the morning part and my friend Charlene was going to take over at 2 o’clock. The morning of the induction came on the 21st of December 2007. He arrived at the hospital to meet me and i was taken up to the ward to get the ball rolling.By 11am i was in agony, the midwife suggested I take a bath first but she said my doctor needed to do an internal exam first. He followed me into the bathroom and locked the door, he helped me into the bath and then tried to drown me because i had let a male doctor do my internal. The only thing that stopped him was the midwife coming in to check on me. After she left he said id i tried to leave him with his child he would kill it, and then me.
This had to stop, how much was i going to take? How far did it have to go?! Char came in to take over at 2 and she saw the new bruises, she didn't lecture me but i knew what she was thinking. My daughter Addison was born into this world at 9.09pm on December 21st. She was the most beautiful thing I had ever seen in my life, I knew I had to be strong for her. I had to stay in hospital over Christmas as I had a C section Stephens day was the 26th and that was the day I was allowed home. To my utter shock my father showed up with my brother, he told to get my stuff together and he was taking me home to my family house to visit. I told him i had to go back to the apartment to collect my things and he said he had everything we need at home.
When I got home he told me one of my friends had contacted him to say what was happening and that my life, and the life of my daughter was in danger. The following day he brought me to his solicitor to file for a restraining order. A week later it was granted, I changed my phone number and cut any ties that might link me to him. He never showed at court to defend himself... but really how could he justify what he had done? The only time I went back to that apartment was to collect my things, under Garda escort. When i left that apartment I never looked back.
Its been 4 years, and here I am. I am stronger. I am happy. My daughter is safe and happy, and I have a man that loves me and treats me right. He adores Addison.
The reason I wanted to tell my story is because if it reaches even one person and gives them the courage to say enough is enough, then it’s all been worth it. Violence in any shape or form in NOT OK. I don't care how they try to justify it, and believe me they will try. And let me tell you something else, once they hit you once, they will do it again. If you think you are not strong enough, that you love this person and they don't mean what they do, you are wrong. These situations are never accidents, the more you try to look the other way the more it will happen. You might think who am I to say this after sticking with it for so long? When you remove yourself from the situation and get over the ‘seperation anxiety’ you will see where i am coming from. Surround yourself with positive people, friends, family, councillors. Never ever be afraid to speak up. You wont know how strong you actually are until you walk away. And ladies, once you walk away, never look back.
If you are wondering how I plan on coping when the restraining order is up next year, I’ll tell you. I'm not who I was back then, that time of my life is over and I am so much stronger because of it. If he comes looking for us, it’s him that needs to be afraid of me, I'm not afraid of him anymore.
I’ll leave it there, and if you need anyone one to talk to or have any questions or comments please leave them below or feel free to contact me.
Lots of Love and stay strong,
Do you need help?
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