One week after the morning I showed up at my parents’ house, I found myself sitting across the table from my abuser at a restaurant. He had sent me dozens of emails and text messages over that week. Every day, a new bouquet of my favourite flowers showed up at my office. In every message, he begged for a chance to tell me how sorry he was, how he couldn’t live with the fact that he had hurt me so badly.
If we could just sit down and talk, he could explain himself. And explain he did: He told me how he had been afraid of losing me — that was all. Nothing like this would ever happen again. He finally understood that if things didn’t change, I would leave him for good.
“Just give me one more chance to prove it,” he begged. “Everything will be different from now on.”
Read the full story here.
Anj Barker’s ex-boyfriend choked her so violently her vocal cords were severed. Then he bashed her almost to death.
Read the full story here but be warned, the content and images are highly disturbing and triggering
I was raped by a close family friend when I was 12 and it happened so suddenly that I didn't really see it happening until I was in the throws of it all and even then I didn't really understand it and naturally it left me tormented and devastated for many many years.
What that rape taught me though was to be on guard and to heighten my intuition and my instincts.
Years later after my marriage broke down and a few more years after that, I met a guy and something just didn't seem quite right, but I didn't know what.
You see, he was really lovely and charming and together we had a lot of fun.
Sometimes though, he was the loveliest guy ever and then suddenly he wasn't. He was there for me when I needed him and then he wasn't. He was kind and compassionate and then he wasn't and it was all of these inconsistencies that I started questioning.
Hearing him say things like "that is because you are so emotional" or "you are so sensitive about the littlest of things" or "that wasn't what I meant, but as always you took it the wrong way." And silly me, I believed him.
Each time it was like he would compliment me and then insult me or insult me and then compliment me, so I never quite knew where I stood and foolishly I found myself wanting to try harder and harder to gain his approval.
I kept thinking, "You know what he is right, I am too sensitive and I do take things to heart a little too much, hey I need to lighten up a little." I never once thought it was him or his fault, it was me being too sensitive and just not being relaxed and chilled enough.
Luckily for me after 6 months, these inconsistencies grew bigger and bigger and I started paying more attention to every little thing he said and realised that every chance he got he would blame me for something and then when I wasn't expecting it, he would compliment me.
I almost felt like I wanted to screw up so that he would compliment me and I felt like Pavlov's Salivating Dog, waiting for that bell to ring for that one bit of food or in this case that one bit of recognition.
Once I noticed how I was reacting to him and how he was building me up to knock me down, just like in the song, "Tucker's Daughter, I'm going to build you up so I can tear you down." I knew that I had to end it with him and after a few days of plucking up the courage I did end it with him and I wish I could say he went away and that was the end of it, but it wasn't.
I had to go to police three times due to his constant flurry of vile text messages. I had to leave home and take my girls to their dads for a couple of nights and I had to change my route to work regularly just in case.
I also had to text him, under the instruction of the police to say "That I have told everyone what you have been doing and showed them all your vile text messages and if you do not stop contacting me, I will be forced to take the matter further."
Did this stop him,?No. He kept on and I kept on sending the similar text message to tell him to stop and that everyone knew what he was doing and saying to me.
You see the thing with these guys, is they often don't like to be called out.
They want everyone else to think they are perfect and you are the "loony" but I had vile text messages as proof that I could show people and the police and that at least worked in my favour.
So how did it end?
Well he continued off and on with texting for at least another 6 months, sporadically so I didn't know what to expect.
I blocked him and he would text me from another number.
I blocked him on Facebook and LinkedIn and he would check me out on someone's else's computer and then connect with a friend and tell her what a liar I was or that I had no clue about what I was doing.
Only occasionally I would get the odd weird phone call from another number, but I was resolute and just kept on repeating the same thing, "I have been telling everyone what you have said and done and if you keep on harassing me I will be again forced to take the matter further. “
You see I wanted to be vague and not threaten him in anyway. After all I didn't want him to be able to come back at me and I had to make sure he had no ammunition to use against me in anyway, shape or form.
Did he give up? Yep eventually.
Funny though, 2 years later, I got a text from a random number saying something like, "How are you? Would be good to catch up but don't bother contacting me if you haven't changed."
I laughed at this last comment, because I had changed. I no longer dated absolute losers like him.
What changed in me? I started valuing and respecting myself. I started believing and knowing that I deserved better and I deserved to be treated with respect at all times and not just when it suited the guy.
Oh and I gave myself 12 months without men ... and then that 12 months turned into 2 years and that 2 years turned into 3 years and that 3 years turned into 5 years ... and now I am with the most gorgeous of men I could have ever imagined.
So hang in there, you deserve to be loved but only if you are fully valued and respected for who you are.”
~ Melinda Walker
Natalia & Tamara agree: the worst part was that family & friends didn't listen, didn't want to see...
Natalia & Tamara know the dangers of abusive relationships. They both survived & they’re speaking up.
Read their stories here.
On a September night in 1993, on a remote banana plantation on the outskirts of Carnarvon, 16-year-old me stood terrified in the doorway of my bedroom. I had woken to the screams of my mother who was again being bashed senseless at my dad's hands.
Read the full story here.
The first time he hit me, we were in the car. There was no warning before his hand flew out and smacked me in the face. We both sat there in shocked silence for a moment. I felt my lips to see if I was bleeding, and my fingers came away red. We both looked at them in horror.
Read the full story here.
I was matched with the guy by a couple that didn’t know him very well, they described him as “really nice....almost too nice”.
Our first date, we went out for a drink, the next night he cooked me dinner but before we had our main course, I was so intoxicated we had sex. He always mixed me very strong drinks. My kids were away for 2 weeks so he practically moved in. He wanted to see me constantly and he couldn’t stop touching me or holding my hand. He wanted to see me everyday, but I wanted to see my friends. It was a little suffocating. One of his daughters said to me, you’ve got so many friends, dads got none. I thought that was weird. He would turn up on my doorstep with a coffee in the morning. He could fix and would do anything for me, it was amazing. Within about a month he told me he loved me. He’d got caught cheating on his wife and because she ended the marriage it was all her fault. The way he spoke about her was disgusting and frightening. Everything was always someone else’s fault.
Five months into our relationship we were at a function and a friend of his kept coming up to chat, I was polite however I got accused of cheating. We were in the city and had to leave the function and in the street he yelled and called me every vile name he could think of...the public humiliation. He didn’t worry about making a scene.
He yelled at me for two more days until he eventually apologised. This continued, however I was blamed for how he reacted and lost his temper for anything. I was always made to apologise no matter what. It was my fault that he couldn’t control his temper. He was jealous of every man that spoke to me. He broke into my iPad to read my messages. I couldn’t have any male friends and soon it became my female friends he wanted gone also. It grew worse and worse and he would break up with me constantly. I was always sick and on edge. He tried to control my life, got angry with me for buying clothes, for joining sporting clubs, even though it was my money. He told me “that at the age of 47, with minimal income and no assets, no man would ever want me.”
The abuse got so bad that one day i had such bad chest pains, I broke down and I thought about ending my life. I had to be taken to hospital. I told him I had had those feelings, I then tried to break up with him. He talked me round again and we stayed together. A few months later in a disagreement, he came up to my face and said “why don’t you kill your self”.
He eventually broke up with me and had a new girlfriend a week later.
I have a fractured sternum that has calcified into a lump on my chest, to remind myself everyday of 4 1/2 years of hell. It took a psychologist to explain the behaviour of a narcissistic sociopath for the light to finally go on in my head. I’d been told by him for so long that our relationship problems were my fault. I have a wonderful partner now and my health has returned.