The following stories may cause emotional distress. If you have PTSD, please use your safety plan.
I couldn't believe what had happened. He loved me. Why did he choke me? Maybe it wouldn't happen again and we can work through this, I wondered. But I was unable to forget it. I couldn't sleep. I somehow managed to work everyday. It was a great distraction from the reality of my home life. But in each quiet moment, I couldn't stop thinking about what happened. So I made sure I didn't have any quiet moments. I didn't tell anyone because I didn't know how to explain what happened. I also didn't want anyone thinking that he was a bad person. I also wondered if they would believe me because they had never seen him display such rage. He told me it was my fault because I made him angry. This was just a really bad fight I told myself. He apologised and promised it would never happen again. But I shivered when he touched me. I couldn't sleep in the same bed with him anymore. We broke up. And then a flood of overwhelming sadness and pain arrived. I fell into depression. I was diagnosed with PTSD. I didn't know who I was anymore. It was like my body just shut down into recovery mode now that I was on my own. I don't have many memories of that time. It took months of therapy to stabilise and heal. But the fear of seeing him again on the street never left me. I needed to speak to someone that had also experienced domestic violence. I found this group. Joining this group has been a major turning point any my life. I realised that I wasn't going crazy and needed to continue healing my PTSD. Ongoing therapy, support group meetings and wonderful friendships with the incredible women in this group have saved me and turned my life around.
My uncle sexually molested me when I a young girl. Many times.
I told my mother. She didn't believe me. When I was a 12 I ran away from home and reported what happened to me to the police. They took care of me and moved me into a home for young girls. I had counselling but I just wanted to forget what happened and move on. I found a job, saved money, studied hard and graduated university with distinctions. My career has been my passion since then.
After getting married and having a young girl, all the trauma resurfaced. I did my best to be strong and carry on but I had a burn out when my daughter was 3. While I was on sick leave, I joined this group. I received help to find a therapist and a clinic. I never attended a support group meeting because I still felt embarrassed. So I met Preshika 1:1 only. She came with me to visit clinics before I finally decided to go to Tagesklinik for 8 weeks. While I was there, I would receive text messages checking in on me. Deciding to go to the Tagesklinik was the best decision I made for my mental health. I needed the rest together with the therapy which also included yoga, art and music therapy. It felt like a mental health retreat.
I still have regular 1:1 meetings which continue to support me. We also became good friends and I cannot imagine my life without this wonderful friendship.
I have been married for 6yrs. The abuse started not long after we were married. First it was grabbing my wrists and pushing me against the wall. Then it escalated to hitting me and throwing things at me. After each fight, he apologises and explains it as his anger management issues and stress caused by his job. When we are not fighting, everything is fine. We enjoy time with friends, and we have a daughter that is the centre of our lives. The abuse stopped while I was pregnant, but then it started again a few months after my daughter was born. The emotional abuse is now constant. The constant insults and threats don't stop. We seem to live two lives. One outside the home, which is almost picture perfect and a horror movie inside our home. I have accepted it. Who would believe me? He is a manager and a "respected" person in our community for his charitable work. I have found ways to cope mainly by focusing on my daughter only.
Until one evening when the neighbours heard us fighting and glass breaking and called the police. I needed advice on how to handle the situation and reached out to this community. I not only found the answers to the questions I had, but I also found out that there were other women like me who despite being abused also don't find it easy to leave her marriage.
It is difficult to accept that the man that promised to love me and take care of me, hurts me like this. It is impossible to understand why. I held onto cope that maybe someday he would change but he hasn't. And when both parents don't accept divorce, I am stuck. As a foreigner, there are also so many legal and practical issues to consider. It all becomes too overwhelming so it feels easier to stay and accept the situation. And I could never imagine living alone with my child. I often think about who could love an abused woman and marry a woman with a child?
In this community, no one was surprised by my thoughts and no one told me that I had to leave my husband. I felt understood. I was given advice on how to take care of my emotional and physical health, and during 1:1 meetings, we discussed all my options including where to go to for additional help. I am always reminded of my strength and power and that I deserve better. I reach out whenever I need to and what means the most to me is someone is also checking in on me too. I always feel supported.
It's now over a year later, since I first became a part of the community. I am still living in an abusive marriage. But thanks to this community, I have learnt how to protect myself and take better care of myself. I have also started the divorce process. The community helps me plan and think through all my next steps. I am confident that one day I will live in peace again. It will be hard to get there but I know I will because of the support of this community.