Annabella’s Story

This is a typical story:

I was an accident and my parents ignored me all my life and desperate for attention, I slept with boys who gave me drugs. When I turned 16, things changed as there was a death in the family. Mum a year later got a new boyfriend and within 2 months he’d tried to get into bed with me. I left.

I lived on friends couches for a few weeks before I met Jeff. He was nearly 10 years older and at first I didn’t like him, but with I eventually agreed to go out with him. And quite typically, he was kind, attentive and friendly and I soon fell for him. I keep thinking if I just stopped and looked I would’ve seen the signs and could have ran away before it got to the point of being too scared to even leave the house. But of course, hind sight is a wonderful thing and all I saw was a good looking, sweet and loving man whom I was lucky to be dating.

A few weeks later I moved in with Jeff. Into his spare room. He bought me clothes. He introduced me to new foods and things looked like they’d picked up. Yes, soon we had sex and he liked to have it a little rougher. I’d got a job as a waitress.  Gradually, not only did he tell me what to wear, but if we went out socially, he’d tell me where to sit and if I talked to another man, even casually, he’d be obvioulsly angry. I couldn’t read the signs.

Things moved pretty fast, I remember him telling me he loved me after a few weeks, he told me how wonderful and amazing I was. He used to pick me up from work in his car and drive me anywhere I wanted. If I called he’d always answer like he was so happy to talk to me. I don’t know exactly when it started going wrong, but it was soon into the relationship. He’d tell me that he didn’t like me talking to other men and ‘that’s just how he is’, he’d leer at other women in front of me and tell me how attractive they were and how women would ask him out all the time, but if I got upset once we got home he’d shout at me and tell me I had to deal with it. Once I asked how he’d feel if the tables were turned and he said that if I ever did it to him, he’d leave me.

Things progressed, his behaviour got more and more controlling and jealous, he wouldn’t let me out the house unless he knew about it. If I did leave he’d call me constantly asking me when I’d get home. I was allowed to wear clothes he didn’t like, even when I wore a t-shirt and jeans he’s tell me I looked tarty. I wanted a better job but he wanted me to work with him. top me getting any job unless it was with him, I wasn’t allowed to talk to any man or even if I looked at one he’d scream at me until I walked with my head down. I wasn’t allowed to see my family or friends without constant questions so in the end, I thought why bother? I couldn’t even order food because he didn’t trust me with the delivery man.

We had been together a year when it happened, I was late getting home because the taxi was late, and I knew as soon as he told me to come outside and into his car there’d be trouble.  As soon as I got in, he grabbed me by the neck and screamed at me for being late, he then locked the car and drove like a lunatic until we reached a first where he grabbing me and choked me until I passed out. I woke to him having sex with me. I left but he pestered me. Within a week I was back with him.

This went on for years, he didn’t usually have to hit me, he had enough control over me already, by the threats. if I was talking all he had to do was give me a look and I knew I had to shut up. I was constantly called a slut and worthless. He’d put me over his knew and hit me often with a belt. I believed him when he told me if I just behaved, he wouldn’t have to do this. He never hit me too hard.He’d tie me to the bed if I didn’t feel like sex and force himself on me. Once the screams had the police on the doorbell as he was choking me, I remember not being able to breathe and thinking I might die, but as soon as the doorbell rang, he stopped and suddenly looked calm and under control and of course I didn’t tell the police. By then I had left my job, if he wanted sex I had to have sex then and there. Once he threatened to have me gang-raped. He slapped me on the face but was so careful not to mark my face, and to everyone who knew him, he was the kindest, gentlest man, but it was how he’d tell me I could dress how I please, and then tell me how tarty and horrible I looked and I wasn’t to dress like this anymore. As I got more confused, angry, hurt and emotionally exhausted, I was scared for my life and believed him when he told me he’d kill me if I ever left. He told me when I could go to the toilet. I wasn’t allowed to use a phone. We had lots of abusive sex, he’d suspend me , he tie me up or even whip me from time to time.

Several times, he invited friends over and he’d tell me what to wear and I’d serve drinks but always kept my gaze on him so I couldn’t be accused of flirting with any of his friends. One day one of his friends came round with a girl he fancied. They started to get drunk. I didn’t. I was too scared. He made me get drunk. Next day, he told me he’d slept with her and that his friend had wanted me but couldn’t do it as I was out drunk but he’d sell me to a prostitute ring if I ever slept with anyone else.

I was scared for my life and believed him when he told me he’d kill me if I ever left, but I also knew I couldn’t live my life like this as I’d either kill myself, or he’d kill me. So I read up on domestic violence in secret and kept a diary of every time he hit me or verbally abused me so I couldn’t tell myself it never happened. It took a further year to finally leave him and I am very proud of myself for finally leaving, no matter how long it took.