On the 20th of May 2011, I picked myself up off the kitchen floor for the last time. I didn't know that it would be the last time my ex partner beat me after 6 years of beatings, but it was to be so. You rationalise the beatings, I'm smart and I know they are bad, but somehow, maybe, I deserved them. It wasn't easy and it is no way over, but this is my blog detailing how I am getting free of violence, abuse and control.
My abuser was a nice middle class guy, a university lecturer, an educated man. Not the acceptable face of a wife beater, yet 6 months in to the relationship, he slapped me, yet I stayed. When he blackened my eye, I went to work for two weeks with a shiner, when he ruptured my eye, I lied, when he pulled out a third of my hair, I told friends I had alopecia. When he chipped, chipped, chipped away at what makes me intrinsically me, I took to my bed for a year on downers. This time he beat me when I needed his help to get my sick cat to the vets, he tried to drag me out of the flat, I fought to stay put, he tried to make me say I was a cunt, I refused and he rained blows down to my head and ripped my hair from my scalp whilst banging my head on the floor. I told him he was going to kill me, he laughed, I screamed for help, my neighbours never came. When I admitted I was a cunt, he kicked me in the back and went to bed. I grabbed my cat and took him to the vets.
I walked up Lithos Road slowly with my cat, I managed to get to the taxi firm on the corner, but they had no cars. People passed me and stared, I didn't realise that I had a split lip and I looked terrified, no one spoke to me. I heard one "hipster" couple walk past and say "that is a sad face.... "
Friends sort of knew, but they also knew that I was never going to be the woman who put up with that; I'm the kid that moved out at 15 and then moved to London at 18 and survived, sometimes it even felt like living. It's difficult for me to understand where it came from, why hate me so much that you try to drown me in a bucket of stale piss, I guess it will always be unknown to me, and that is even more unfair, I think.
Why did I not leave before? Difficult. If they rewrite your whole personality and feed you it back as truth, you get lost in their reality and yours is unknown and alien to you. I was told I would not be able to cope, that I was a major fuck up, that I was useless. It never occurred to me or him, that in my past I coped, but you can't see that anymore, you only see what they tell you.
"You are driving me mad. Why do you hate me?"
My cat had to have an operation, so I called a work friend to tell her I would not be in that day, I told her Adam had hit me, she went crazy and told me I needed to go to A&E, forget the cat and run. I couldn't do that, it was the need to get the cat to the vets that made me throw the cold tea at him to wake him.: "You cunt, you scolded me!" Run, Zoe, get away. He was on top of me, dragging me out of the flat, if he did that I would never be able to help my cat. His bollocks were in front of me, I worked my arm free and pinched and tried to pull. He let me go and and I scurried into the kitchen. He is really mad now. Unhinged. I see a smear of red blood on my hand, I hope it is his.
It is. He starts punching me in the head, using my hair for purchase. It tears out in clumps.
The cat at the vets, I slowly walk back to the flat, numb. So scared. I get into the flat and take to the couch I sleep on and pull the covers over me. My phone rings and it is Julia, begging me to go to A&E, I try to convince her I would go, but I guess we both knew I wouldn't. He is asleep in the bedroom. She phones again, insistent. I meet her at Belsize tube station.
In the bright sunshine, I feel like fainting. The coffee I am drinking makes me feel light. When she arrives, I know it will be alright.