Seven years ago I met a man, he was like a showman, could sell anyone anything, including dreams to young girls. He asked me out for drinks and from that moment on things happened quite quickly between us. We were dating for about several months before he asked me to move in to his home town (two hours away) and rent a house together.
It meant I would have to leave my friends and family as well as give up my house and job, but I was so taken in by this man that I wasn’t thinking clearly . Things seemed great between us but looking back on things now I can see that there were some signs of control in the early stages. Unfortunately I chose to ignore them. I fell in love with this man very quickly and would have done anything for him.
The day finally came that I moved away from my family home town to start a new life with this man, I was nervous but excited at the same time as I saw it as a fresh start for us both. My family and friends all thought it was very strange that he wanted to move me away from my loved ones and warned me, but, of course, I never listened.
Five weeks after I had moved away things started to change. This man would drink most days, changing drastically with only a few pints in him , I began to walk on eggshells and dread the times when he was drinking. He would become spiteful towards me and very controlling. He used to put me down, calling me names etc. This would happen on a daily basis reducing me to tears .
He used to put me down, calling me names etc. This would happen on a daily basis reducing me to tears . I knew I had made a huge mistake but it was far too late to go back as I had given everything up. Plus I had lost friends and family members due to the decision I made so the only option I had was to stay and make it work.
This started to get worse, he begun to control who I would talk to, what I would wear and put a time limit on me going to the shops . I wasn’t allowed to work or have friends. I had over eight different mobile numbers in the space of a few years due to him smashing phones up and snapping SIM cards. In the end,it was easier to do as he said. He started putting his hands on me, pinching me under my arm which caused bruising, pulling my hair and also pushing me up against a hot radiator.
I was eight weeks pregnant when he came home drunk and pushed me so hard I lost my balance hitting the floor that caused me to bleed and miscarry.
Months went by and I was so extremely unhappy and couldn’t see any way out, crying every day and even scared of my own shadow. His family knew what he was and how he was but they never once helped me or even checked to see if I was ok. It was at this point that I knew I was alone and felt like there was no way out. I learned to live with it and it became normal life to me.
No job, no money, no friends, no life and I eventually lost who I was completely , I never even recognised the girl in the mirror staring back at me.
I tried to end things and take my own life on more than one occasions just to ease the pain and not feel this suffering anymore but ended up in the hospital with this man beside me explaining to doctors and nurses that I was ill and a little crazy. He played the victim, once again and did it well.
I was at the lowest point of my life, nowhere to go and felt so alone and so unhappy.
I went from a strong, happy, confident young girl to an unhappy controlled frightened young girl in just a few years.
He always said that ‘I need him’ and ‘I won’t work properly without him’ I guess these words affected me a little and I believed them. I thought I wouldn’t be able to cope without him as he controlled everything even the thoughts in my head. After two years together we had a son together. The pregnancy was hard as the violence still happened and even got worse causing me to hemorrhage twice at five months pregnant and nearly losing my son. He was four weeks early and we had a few problems with him at the start and I know that is because of the violence and abuse during the pregnancy, doctors had confirmed this.
Months and years went by and I just became very vacant and learned to live in the way he wanted me to. I put so much weight on as I began to comfort eat and looked twenty years older than I was due to stress and depression.
My son was three years old when the turning point came into my life. This man decided he wanted to break up and moved out and into his grandmother’s house which was only five minutes away from me. Even though we weren’t together he was still very much in my life. He called me three times a day, constantly messaging me and calling around the house on a daily basis to let me know it was on his terms and he was still very much in control.
I once said I wanted to move back home to be with my family but he turned on me, blackmailing and threatening me to take our son away.
He quite often made threats to me, that he would hurt me, kill me etc. Three months went by and things were looking a little positive for me for the first time in years, I had made a friend and I had lost three stone in weight . My friend was celebrating her birthday at the weekend and she asked if I would go, I spoke to him about this and he suggested I go and he would baby sit at my house and sleep on the sofa. I was looking forward to going as it was the first time I was going out in a very long time.
My friend was celebrating her birthday at the weekend and she asked if I would go, I spoke to him about this and he suggested I go and he would baby sit at my house and sleep on the sofa. I was looking forward to going as it was the first time I was going out in a very long time.
My friend came with me to choose an outfit. I would normally get trousers to be covered up as he never liked me showing skin. But my friend told me to try dresses on which looked nice and told me to get it which I did. Saturday night finally arrived and I was extremely excited but nervous as it’s been a while since I had worn a dress and been out.
He arrived to babysit an hour before I was due to leave. He started on me straight away, saying I looked like a cheap slut, a slag and was telling me to make sure I didn’t speak to anyone. Instantly, I went back to feeling scared and frightened and not looking forward to now going out as I knew I was going to get abused as soon as I came back home.
I eventually got to my friend’s house a half hour late and when questioned I just made excuses up and tried to enjoy the night as best as I could. I drank quite a bit of alcohol and had a nice evening with the girls . I called a taxi and got home around 1.30am. He was at the front door when I arrived home. Acting weird and being nice to me. He got me a glass of water and helped me to bed. I remember everything of the night including getting home and getting undressed in my room.
Acting weird and being nice to me. He got me a glass of water and helped me to bed. I remember everything of the night including getting home and getting undressed in my room.
The next morning I woke up around 8.00 am feeling terrible, my head was hurting and I still felt drunk, dizzy and not right at all. On my way to the bathroom, II noticed a lot of blood on the sheets and duvet. I called him (he was working the market that day) and asked what had happened as I didn’t remember anything. He replied ‘we had sex don’t you remember’ ? This was weird as I always remember having sex even when I have been drinking.
He kept ringing throughout the day asking if I was ok and then he bought me a diamond bracelet which he gave me after work. I remember thinking to myself how strange his behaviour was but I carried on as normal still not feeling a hundred percent right.
The next day (Monday) I couldn’t walk properly and my front and back private areas were extremely painful. My friend urged me to go to the doctor’s and check myself out.
The doctor told me that there was a severe amount of damage caused to my vagina and anus area and that I should go to the police. I was frightened and still so confused by this all that I never went. I called him and asked him what he had done to me that night and his story changed three times. After speaking to my friend and also my mum, it was made clear to me that I was dragged and raped while my son was in the same room with us.
After speaking to my friend and also my mum, it was made clear to me that I was dragged and raped while my son was in the same room with us.
Unfortunately, it took me two months to have the courage to make that call to the police and report everything that he had done to me in the last five years.
From that moment on my life changed!!!
He was arrested and charged with three accounts or rape to myself but he, unfortunately, escaped prison as there was not enough evidence and I was told that rape is the hardest thing to prove. This felt like another kick to me, feeling that he was in control once again.
The police put a non-molestation order in place to protect me and my child for two years. I received a letter from his solicitor saying he would take me to court in order to see our son. It was at that point that things changed for me. I realised that I had to be the strong person I once was and do the right thing for me and my son. I had to stand up to this man and show him that he wasn’t going to control my life anymore and that I was going to protect my son from being anywhere near this monster.
The court case went on for over a year. It was draining, to say the least and put me through every test possible in more ways than one, but I finally became the person I once was. My son gave me the strength to fight this man all the way and do what was right. The judge, eventually, decided that there was far too much violence and that this man was denied any visiting rights and even had parental rights taken away from him .
This was a rare court decision and I remember the day I walked away from the court feeling like that was the day I got my life back! That was the day my life changed for me and my child. I have now lived away from this man for two years and my life is completely different. I moved back home to be near my family, living in my house and paying my bills, wearing what I want, eating what I want and talking to whomever I choose.
I got my laughter and smile back and I’m never losing it again not for no one. I’m currently working with different agencies and organisations to STOP domestic violence as it affects so many people out there. I also did a skydive jump in march this year and raised £600.00 pounds. I’m setting my own charity which is called ‘add a little pink to a lady’s life’ and I’m hoping to one day write my own book.
If I could say something to someone who is going through this, it would be ‘never give up hope, never lose yourself, always tell someone as someone out there will listen, you are not alone.
Always remember it’s not your fault. You are a beautiful person and you do not need to accept this behaviour. Look deep inside yourself and grab hold of your strength and fight back…….. Believe in yourself.
lots of love, Miss Jodie Harris xxx (I would be more than happy to talk to anyone else who is going through the same, please contact me here)