Everyday Victim Blaming

challenging institutional disbelief around domestic & sexual violence and abuse

It was never my fault

cross-posted with permission from Musings Too Long To Tweet

Today I read something by a clinical psychologist blaming victims of domestic violence for what happened to them, saying they were 50% responsible for how the domestic violence came to be.

This is my story. No one should have to suffer domestic violence, male or female. There is help avaliable and you are not alone.

National Domestic Violence

Freephone Helpline
0808 2000 247

It is years since I walked away but even now each and every year seems like another milestone…

I wasn’t a person you would expect to be in a relationship that would almost break me. A relationship that has left emotional scars that are still only starting to heal.

At the time I never considered myself to be a victim. At the time I just wondered what I was doing wrong, it was just automatic to blame myself and to forgive and listen to the promises that it would never happen again or the screams that it was my fault. I was told so many times that he hated me, that he had wished he never met me. And yet I stayed, until one day I couldn’t let him touch me without feeling physically sick.

All that is left now is a faint mark on my arm that shows up in summer. To anyone else it is barely noticeable. That mark was made the day I was pushed into a bookcase. I was in a completely alien environment, alone and scared with a huge graze down my arm. This wasn’t the first time and it was by no means the last. But this time sticks in my head more – because of the fear. And that is the overwhelming emotion that remains when I think back to all the times it happened, just feeling so scared.

I didn’t tell anyone, I never even thought to. I often wondered what my dad thought the morning he picked me up at 2am and drove me home in hysterical tears. That night I had been pushed into a wall hitting my head. The fear was present then, I was a scared girl who needed her parents. That night I sat in the kitchen with my mum and dad and made up a story about an argument, I couldn’t bring to tell them what had actually happened.

I started to believe that I was worthless and wondered why anyone would want to be friends with me. I stopped going out. I lost weight, I started to control my emotions by not eating. I looked awful, I can’t even look at photos taken at the time because they make me feel ill.

It took me a long to leave him. To finally say enough was enough. I don’t know what suddenly changed, why I could leave after all that time but it happened. And I walked away. But the story doesn’t end there.

It took me a year to process what had happened until one day I had dinner with a friend and the whole story came flooding out. It wasn’t a relief to talk about it, it just made me worried that someone it would affect him, that it would damage his life. I still worry about that. But I needed to talk, I needed to admit what had happened and that in my head I had allowed it to happen.

I am not a victim, it doesn’t help me to think of myself like that. I still throw myself into relationships with everything I have, I don’t seem to have developed any form of caution and I still believe in love. I still use food to control my emotions at times but I am getting better. I put some weight back on, I started going out again and I turned things around. My mum says I have my sparkle back.

Years have gone past now and I am the happiest I have been for a long time. The dark days of not leaving the house for days or weeks on end have passed and I am settled. I still am the hopeless romantic who believes in happy endings but I have a slightly harder edge now…I hope it will fade over time.

Now I know. It wasn’t my fault. It was never my fault.

 

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