He is right
This week's blog post is a timely reminder from Miley F.* that, whilst violence against women (perpetrated by men) is boiling over in countries across the sea, in Australia the most dangerous place women and children can be is in their own homes.
My parents are yelling at me again. People are lying to them and they don't want to listen to me. But he does. He tells me they will never believe me, they will never understand. They are abusive and they would be glad if I was gone. But not him. He loves me. He will do anything to make me happy. I joke that I can't wait to finish school and move out. He begins to make plans for me to leave early.
He suddenly has a place of his own. He tells me I need to move in with him. That I'm never going to be happy until I leave my toxic household. He continues to push. He tells me he only got a place for me. That he's worked hard to get everything ready. He tells me what to say to my parents, coaches me for days.
He is right. I need to be somewhere healthier.
I pray they won’t let me go, but they do. I'm not allowed to leave until my room is clean. I drag my feet, hoping they will change their minds. He gets tired of waiting and does it for me.
It's still dark outside, I can hardly keep my eyes open. I tell him no, I'm too tired. I lay still staring at the ceiling as he takes control of my body. My mind wanders to the chores I will do today. I ignore his breath against my neck, his hands grabbing and pulling at my skin. I bite my lip. I hold back the tears. He grunts, groans and rolls off me. I turn over.
I feel nauseaus. He tells me I'm pregnant. I laugh and remind him that he always uses protection. He smirks. I take a test and feel briefly relieved. I should leave. I need to wait until he spends the night at his friend's house again.
The vomiting continues. I take another test. I decide life isn't worth living. He smiles at the result and tells me he already knew. He demands I quit the job I love because it's not good for the baby. He takes me down to the shop and tells me that if I don't quit, he will do it for me. I do as he says. I can't support this baby without him.
He is right. I don’t need the extra stress.
I push the pram down the driveway and feel the panic set in. I realise his car is in the carport. I enter the unit and place our baby into the swing. He throws things around in our bedroom. I find all my clothes on the floor, my notebooks scattered on the bed. He accuses me of trying to run away with the little one. He reminds me I didn't have permission to leave the flat. That he can't trust me not to do something stupid. His rage flies in my face and I sink back against the wall. He stands over me.
He is right. I am doing something wrong if I can’t tell him I am going out. I don’t need to see that friend. She is trying to split us apart. She hates that I have a loving man in my life. I need to be more thoughtful of his feelings.
I ask to go to the shops tomorrow to buy our little one new clothes for summer. His attention leaves the game in front of him. He yells that I am always wasting our money. I tell him I picked up an extra shift to cover the cost of new baby clothes. He tells me I have attitude, that I'm acting like a spoiled child, that I need to be more financially responsible. I remind him that he's on his third packet of smokes for the week. He storms past me and flings his game control. I stand and follow him. I tell him that I'm the only one working. That I should have a say in how our money is spent. He punches the wall. He holds his bloodied fist up to my face and tells me how lucky I am. I nod. He holds out the undamaged hand and demands my bank card.
He is right. I'm not good with money.
I sit in the shower. I pray he won't be waiting for me when I get out. I lay in bed praying to go to sleep and stay that way.
He's smoking weed outside the nursery. I tell him to leave.
I don’t see him for weeks. I don’t hear a single word. I work 55 hours a week, only seeing my little one at bed time.
He reaches out and asks to see the little one. I wait for him to come pick us up.
He is parked across the road at his dealer's house. I see red. I get in the car and begin to yell that he hasn't seen his baby in weeks. That he hasn't helped with anything. That he has the time and money for more drugs. He grips the steering wheel, his face a deep red. I am going to be late for work and the little one is screaming. I tell him to pull himself together.
I watch them through the shop window. He sits at the wheel, staring at the shop window while the little one screams. He does not move. I rush out and take the baby from the car seat. I tell him he's not safe for us to be around. He calls me a filthy name and speeds out of the car park.
He calls me, day and night. He tells me he is going to take me to court. That I'm never going to see my little one again. That I’m mentally unstable. That I'm going to get our little one killed. That he's going to make me pay. That he will ruin my life.
He is right. I can’t breathe most of the time, my thoughts jumble in my head. I am losing my mind.
I can’t leave my little one’s line of sight. I see the way my child flinches, the shaking and sobbing when I say goodbye.
He is right. He ruins my life.
*This week's Mona contributor has used a pseudonym. She wanted to share her survivorship, even if it is not yet safe to name the perpetrator of her and her child's terror.
If you'd like to know more about domestic and family violence and how it impacts women in Australia, the following websites are great places to start:
If you, or other women or children you know, are impacted by domestic and family violence, please call 1800 RESPECT for support. If a woman or child are in immediate danger, please call 000.
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