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Kane's personal story

The day of our wedding, the first thing that she said to me after walking up the aisle was “Do I look pretty?” The second thing that she said was “Do I look skinny?” I should have known right then that our relationship was only ever going to be about her.

After the ceremony was finished and we took some photos with the guests and our families outside, we headed to our 1950s wedding car to depart to our first photo location. She asked me to sit in the front with the driver so that her dress wouldn’t get squashed. The driver said that in his 23 years of driving for weddings, not once, until our wedding, had the bride and groom not sat together. It wasn’t a good sign.

We hadn't lived together before getting married, but I was concerned that we wouldn't be able to sleep next to each other once we did because I would snore at times, and she was really sensitive to noise. She came up with a rule that no matter what time she went to bed, I would have to stay awake at least 20 minutes after she had fallen asleep before I could try to sleep. After a few weeks, I became so sleep deprived that I couldn't possibly follow these rules anymore, and I started drifting off even though I was trying to stay awake. She ripped the blankets off me, turned on the lights, and started screaming at me, telling me that I had to sleep on the floor, that I didn't deserve any blankets, that I was a fat ugly pig who disgusted her and that my mother had never loved me. When I refused to get out of the bed she kicked me in the back until I gave in. I eventually moved just so that I could try to get some sleep before getting up early to go to work the next day.

I was constantly put down and yelled at and told that I was in the wrong, but that she never was. I had to wear slippers around the house so that I didn't leave any footprints on the floorboards. I wasn't able to set foot in many of the rooms in the house because I would scuff the carpets. I wasn't allowed to turn the tap on in the sink because it would leave water droplets or even make toast in the kitchen as it would leave a smell or a crumb. I was consistently told that I breathed too heavily and ate too heavily, and would sometimes have to eat food in the garage because she couldn't stand the noises I made. Her favourite insult was to tell me how disgusting I was. I would get yelled at for going to the toilet in my own house, and would sometimes say that I was going down the street to the supermarket just so that I could go to the toilet in peace.

She viewed sport, my friends and my family as the enemy, and slowly started to try to cut these things out of my life or turn others against me. I tried to go to my father's birthday celebrations one year, and was locked in the wardrobe with her standing at the door. She said that if I tried to get out she would call the Police and lie to them about me hitting her so that I would get into trouble. She then picked up my mobile phone and smashed it into the ground, breaking the screen in the process.

Weekends would involve driving her to shopping centres so that she could buy all the newest and fanciest fashions. Meanwhile she cancelled my credit card and tried to control my finances, limiting me to $200 a fortnight, which wasn't even enough for petrol, public transport fares and food for lunch.

Eventually I found out that she had been cheating on me and having an affair with her personal trainer since before we married. After two years I planned my escape, packed up all my stuff while she was at work, and later came by with a mutual friend to ensure my safety when I asked her for a divorce. I had all of the doors unlocked in the house in case she tried to lock us in or pull out a knife. Luckily there was only one or two insults, as she tried to hide her abusive behaviours from her friends or family. I was then abused by her father a few months later for supposedly doing all of the things that she did to me when we were together. He then tried to threaten to sue me for theft and fraud unless I paid for half of their legal fees for the divorce proceeding. I guess I know where she learned to be a bully from. Knowing my legal rights however, I refused, hung up the phone, and haven't heard from them since.

Although I am still impacted by some of the traumatic events that I went through in our marriage, I am grateful for the wisdom and growth that I have since achieved, and appreciate the freedom that I now get to experience every day. I am in a happy, loving, supportive, respectful and equal relationship with my new girlfriend. We discuss any issues that arise in a healthy way without any name calling or verbal abuse, and compromise where necessary to ensure that both of our emotional needs can be met. Most importantly, we encourage each other to be who we are, and to see our friends and family and engage in our leisurely pursuits as much as we would like to do so. Intimate partner violence against both men and women is wrong, and equal relationships filled with mutual respect will go a long way towards overcoming this all too common problem!

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