The story of Anne.

I have been seeing John for a few months now. 

My parents love him and he is so considerate and always brings along flowers or something for them. He’s so strong, so handsome and I have butterflies in my stomach whenever I see him. 

I love his gentle manner and his way of making me feel as if I’m the only one in the world. 

“You are my life, my world revolves around you,” he says, looking deeply into my eyes.

My girlfriends envy me because he is so sweet. 

Today we had our first argument. It was pretty ugly! He held my wrist so tightly that I know it will be bruised in the morning. I was upset and told him not to come around anymore. 

The next day he called and begged me to give him another chance. “I love you so much and I’m sorry I grabbed you. That’s not me! I am not like that,” he pleaded. “You just make me so angry at the thought of losing you!” 

“Don’t be so hard on him,” my friends say. “It’s a wrist for goodness sake”

“Forgive him,” my mom tells me. “You’re not perfect either!”

Maybe, I am too hard? 

I agree to give us another chance.

One day he surprises me and meets me at work. “Wow, this is such a nice surprise,” I smile as I hug him. “Let me introduce you to my colleague, Paul. I was just talking about you,” I hug him again. He stands quietly, not moving and not returning my hug.

“Is everything ok,” I asked anxiously as we enter the car. “Why are you so quiet?”

“Who is Paul and how long have you known him?” He quietly asks with a level of ice in his tone I had never heard before. 

“Aww love are you jealous,” I laughingly enquire. “

Bang! I feel my head being smashed against the dashboard. 

“What the…” I mumble. I’m in shock. 

He hurt me! 

“Take me home now,” I tearfully demand.

“No!” he answers. “You and I are going to lay some rules!”

I gingerly touch my forehead. There’s a lump that’s started forming. What is going on with him today? How dare he think he can tell me what to do? As soon as I am home I will never see him again. I’m not one of “those” women who get beaten up. 

He pulls over and proceeds to tell me how this relationship is going to be as of right now. 

“Oh, and lastly, I don’t want you dressing like that,” he finishes.

“Now you will go home, get changed and I will pick you up at 8,” he commands.

As I enter my parent’s home I pray my mom doesn’t see me. I hope she is watching tv. I’m so ashamed! How do I begin to tell my parent’s and friends that I allowed him to abuse me? I know differently. This doesn’t happen to women like me.

As I dress I hear my dad letting John in. “Come in son,” my dad says as he shakes his hand. 

“Yes, I am taking her to our favourite place tonight,” John says as I enter the lounge.

I combed my hair so no one would see the lump that was rapidly turning blue and purple. 

John moves forward, hugs me and smiles. “You look beautiful tonight,” he says. 

“Thanks for the chocolates,” my mom calls out as we leave the house.

There’s absolute silence as we sit in the car, not going anywhere yet.

“I’m so sorry,” he starts crying. “I’ve never done that to anyone. Hell, I couldn’t harm a fly. I will work on my temper. I will get help! You get the therapist. Forgive me. I just love you so much.”

“Anything,” he continues, “just don’t leave me!” 

“I will change!”

“Please,” he begs as I remain silent. 

“Marry me please,” he asks as he produces the most beautiful ring.

“I love you….”

Abuse and violence sometimes creep up on you and you are torn between the “good guy” you met and the “bad guy” he has become. Often it’s difficult for you to reconcile the two.

Understand that:

You didn’t allow it!

It’s not your fault!

You’re not stupid! 

You were sold a lie!

Don’t blame yourself or take responsibility for others violent behaviour.