Tony
Monday, August 13, 2012
One in Three Campaign

It all started when I was introduced to this woman by a mutual friend and we went on a couple of dates. The first time I went to her house she wouldn't let me leave except to go to work, and became agitated and physically restrained me when I wanted to go home. She also insisted I come to her house straight from work. Of course I could see straight away that this woman had serious issues and was quite afraid for my safety, so I did a runner after a few days. I was too scared to stay at my own house because she knew where I lived, so slept at work for a few days, after which, being Navy, I was going to sea for two months, so I called her and told her I'd had to leave on my trip early and didn't think it would work out between us.

I got home after 2 months and she was there waiting for me, she said she was so sorry for acting crazy and it was because she had come out of an abusive relationship, and had been waiting for me because she thought I was worth the wait. That's when I made the biggest mistake of my life and felt sorry for her, because I thought everybody deserved a second chance. For the next 3 years she continually abused me both verbally, physically, and emotionally and I was continually trying to get away from her, but she was an absolute master at forcing me to stay with her. If I tried to talk calmly like two adults to end the relationship amicably she would fly into a rage, physically restrain me to stop me walking out the door, threaten suicide and start running around with a knife, or bottle of pills, or start beating her head against a wall, throw away her money and claim that she was going to starve herself and her son (from her previous relationship), and if I did get out the door she would chase me down the street screaming and throwing punches at me. She knew what worked on me because she knew I would always feel sorry for her son and stick around for his sake, or just give in because I hated the 'public scenes' she would create.

Sometimes I would call her bluff and stay away, but my weakness and her ability to manipulate me always dragged me back, for example she would purposely starve herself and her son and then call everybody to tell them how they were starving because I had run off with all the money and abandoned them, even though she had a full time job; the abusive calls from her relatives would always make me go back because she had manipulated them to believe she was a perfect little angel, or she would ring my work 50 times a day every day demanding to speak to me. Whatever she had to do to force me to come back, she would do.

She seemed to be so full of malice, she revelled in abusing me and putting me down until she broke me ie: curled in a ball in tears, and it amazed me how she could have absolute poison coming out of her mouth about somebody and then be so friendly to their face. She often told me how she liked to have me around to take out all her frustrations on. She spoke of hearing voices in her head telling her to do bad things, and the voices only went away when I was around.

After 3 years of holding me prisoner she had successfully abused me into being totally submissive to her, I literally sat on the floor at her feet like a dog and asked permission to do everything, including going to the toilet, going to bed, to start cooking dinner etc. I had also learnt the best way to prevent her constant verbal abuse from escalating was to continually repeat to her "everything you say is right, everything I say is wrong, you are good and I am bad, I should listen to you more carefully and try harder to be how you want me to be", whilst sitting on the floor at her feet.

No matter how hard I tried I couldn't get away from her. I was a broken man and she forced me to marry her. I knew it wasn't a marriage because I wasn't a willing party and didn't even want to be with her, she knew this and didn't care; she just wanted to possess me. I tried to get help from the police several times but they immediately looked at me with suspicion and openly demanded I admitted to abusing her. Every domestic violence support service and mens help line I called refused to believe me and accused me of being the perpetrator rather than the victim. I had lost all my friends and my work was suffering badly because I had changed from a happy go lucky guy to somebody that was depressing to be around.

6 months into the marriage some work colleagues that had known me for years knew something was horribly wrong. They reported it to a social worker who helped me get away from her, through some pretty horrible experiences that happened when she (my ex) knew I was going to get away from her. I was given accommodation on the base where she couldn't get to me, whilst she was put in a centre for mental illness patients.

That's where her revenge plan started. She called me to let me know that she was going to 'get' me and embarked on a campaign that I had been beating her and sexually abusing her son. She was a master of lies with this as well; one example of many is she had an x-ray of a broken finger which she took to domestic violence support centres and told them "we had a fight and my finger got broken", wheras the truth was that I had locked myself in the bathroom in fear for my life when she had worked herself into a frenzy and broke her finger trying to kick and punch the door down to get at me.

She went to the police, the Catholic church, everywhere she could think of that would listen to her. I of course started getting attention from authorities from these false accusations so got legal advice. My legal advice told me straight out that when it comes to a woman's claims of domestic violence, there is a difference between the 'truth' and the 'law', and that even though the claims are untrue, I would be in a world of trouble if she got any of these lies to stick. I was advised to give her whatever she wants if it stops her making these claims. Because of this she learnt she could extort every cent I earned out of me simply by demanding I empty my wallet and bank account and give it to her in exchange for her not making another false claim to the authorities. This is even after she took every single asset of any value after I got away from her.

After 6 months of living in poverty whilst she got both her own wage and extorted mine, I had no choice but to leave my home and move away where she couldn't find me. It's been 9 years since I got away from her and she still tries to contact me through friends, the latest one being she wanted a new car, but thank GOD she hasn't been able to get me. I have been able to heal to a fair extent but I still struggle to trust people and my faith in human nature is gone. I miss the old me before I met that devil, I was full of hopes and ideals and believed in such a thing as romance. I can't bring myself to be like that anymore, but I thank GOD I was able to get away from that horrible creature.

I would love help to work through this and become again who I once was, but there are no support groups for people who have been through this like me; we are just accused of being liars. I know a friend of a friend who is living this kind of nightmare right now and don't know how to help him. I want to talk to him to tell him it's not right and to get away, but his wife only lets him out of the house to go to work and he is not allowed to have friends, I hope he gets away before its too late and she drives him to suicide or something.

Article originally appeared on One in Three Campaign (http://www.oneinthree.com.au/).
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