Written by: Renee, Survivor
My name is Renee, and I am a survivor of domestic violence.
I’m 24 years old, and I was in an on and off again relationship. When we got back together for the millionth time over the past seven years, I thought his drug habit was harmless. He seemed to have it under control. We spent an entire week together; he was so attentive, loving, and caring. He bonded with my daughter, and I was so happy.
But then I didn’t see him for three weeks. I barely heard from him until he suddenly became homeless and needed somewhere to stay. I loved this man, so I opened my home to him. However, he was so distant; he didn’t want any intimacy or affection. Our quality time meant watching a movie or sleeping. I expressed how I felt but, somehow, he turned that around on me making me feel like I was smothering him.
The very first time I noticed his abusive behavior we had a small argument about something, and he spat in my face. I walked out of my room, and he got up, calling me a fat s**t over and over. He threw a box at me, pushed me, and degrading me, saying, “No wonder no one wants you, fatty.” I was crying horribly. He then walked back to my room, and my daughter followed him. I wish I didn’t have to go in to get her but trying to call her back out to me wasn’t working. He cuddled me, smiled, and apologized. He just held me. I knew it wasn’t okay, but he said that he was sorry.
He was going to see his daughter anyway, so I had time to pull myself together. However, it didn’t make it any better. A few days after he returned, he demanded me to get him drugs, yelling at me speaking to me badly making me feel like I had done something wrong. I tried to organize someone to get on for me desperately, but I couldn’t. I was feeling quite afraid because I didn’t know who this person was that he was now showing to me.
I went into the garage and just sat crying. He came out to me and punched me in the face. I stood up freaking out and started pacing. He pulled my hair, grabbed the back of my neck telling me to shut up. Telling me that it’s my fault. Telling me to get inside. I went inside and sat on the couch hoping that he wasn’t going to do it again – but he did. He kept yelling at me, so I got my phone to call the police. Instead, he took it from me.
He decided to go for a walk and cool off. Once he returned, we just went to sleep. My daughter woke up at about 4 a.m. After trying to settle her, I put her in my bed. I forgot to turn my alarm off, and it went off at 4.30. I had plans to go see a friend. It was a decent train ride, so we had to get up early. My daughter and I got up, and I started preparing to get her dressed so we’d be ready to get the next train. But he got up and started yelling at me in front of my daughter.
I asked him not to do it in front of her, but he didn’t care. He threw her shoes at me and told me to stop being so dumb. My daughter and I just sat on the couch; I felt so small. He punched me in the arm, used my legs as a punching bag, and repeatedly head-butted me. I took my daughter back to bed, and he followed me, telling me to get back to bed. He continued to hit me in the legs, and then he punched me in the face again. I kissed my daughter goodnight and told her to go back to sleep.
I was terrified; I went into the spare room, but he still followed me. This time, he had a knife. I tried calling the police again twice; he threw my phone each time. I then got to the house phone to call my mum, and he took that, too. He threatened to stab me if I didn’t go back to bed, so I started walking back to the bedroom. As I did, he pushed me into the wall. He knew what he did was wrong.
Again, he cuddled me and said he was sorry. I didn’t get much sleep that night. At about 9 a.m., my daughter and I went to my mum’s house before leaving to see a friend. He kept calling and texting, threatening and demanding me to get home – threatening to kill himself, threatening to smash my house up if I didn’t. I only told my mum about him punching me, but not about everything else. She told me to leave him. But I didn’t. He threatened to hurt me worse than the time before, and I still went back.
He made tea for us that night, watched a movie with my daughter, and I loved him. A few days later it happened again. I didn’t answer a question, so he strangled me and hit me in the arm again. He pushed my head into the wall and tried dragging me to my room as he yelled at me. I texted my mum to ring the police because I knew I couldn’t do it. He did two months for this.
He is now off the drugs. I almost went back. He would still verbally abuse me through texts, blowing up my phone in the middle of the night. But I still loved him. Because I love him, I let him treat me this way.
Love is not an excuse. Love shouldn’t hurt. I thought he had changed. But the only difference with him is, he doesn’t want to hurt me. If he had seen me, he would have recognized this. An abuser doesn’t change. Once they cross that line, they can’t stop.
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