“At times it can be dark again and I reflect on what I went through, but I’m one of the lucky ones. I still have my life and I am thankful for that everyday”. Domestic violence survivor Jasmine.
Dark shadows will always haunt Jasmine, but she’s stronger for their presence ♥️
I loved him from the start…
My name is Jasmine and this is my story. It was at the beginning of 2004 when I first met him.
He ended up being friends with the whole group of my friends my family after I introduced him to everyone. I guess from the start I pretty much fell in love with him. He was outgoing, extremely good looking, and so charming.
He was somebody that everyone wanted to be around, everyone wanted to be with and everyone wanted to be liked by him or please him in some way.
I was really drawn to his outgoing nature an his confidence and fell in love with him, well who he showed me he was and who I thought he was. I learned further along the track this was his “public” self not his “behind closed doors” self.
From best friends to lovers…
We became best friends and that’s how it started. In the beginning I guess you would call it an unconventional relationship – so we essentially hid it from friends and family and just saw each other when we could not spending more than a night here and there together but hanging out in public with everyone just as “friends”.
We told each other that we cared for each other more then anyone could and would always be there for each other no matter what happened. I kept saying to him, and I kept thinking, that it wouldn’t work “as a proper couple” as the age difference would make others judge and look down on our happy bubble we were trying (or I was trying) to create away from prying eyes, but he was always there for me when I needed him as a friend even when he was in relationships (or I was) with other people he always let me know that he was always be there for me no matter what.
His violence chilled me to the core…
It came to a point in our lives when he was living with me and a few friends in a share house as he had been dating a friend of ours who took her own life and really needed my help. From this point on he was always angry about everything and he started to take it out on me, we had gone back to seeing each other secretly and had become even closer that we had been ever before.
It was in the hallway of my share home the first time he physically abused me.
He was yelling at me about something and my roommate came out to tell him to pull his head in or get out of our house (especially as I was providing for him financially as I did though out our whole time together) he looked at my housemate/friend and told him “what are you going to do about it?” and punched a hole in the wall whilst looking at my housemate/friend and I with the scariest look in his eyes I have ever seen still till this day.
My housemate/friend looked at me as I gave him a look of “I’ll be OK” and motioned for him to go back to his room with my eyes as soon. As he was gone, he struck out at me for the first time physically in our time together. He slammed me against the wall holding me there whilst yelling at me – to this day it’s all a blur and I have no idea what he said except for this was all my “fault and doing”. This was something he continued to tell me from that day forward until I had the ability to get away.
I thought my love would fix him…
I was saddened for him and I told myself the only reason he was doing this was due to the anger he felt from losing someone dear to him some time ago. This went on for some time with my housemate/friend being told not to stick his nose in.
I tried to tell his family about the abuse & physical violence that was being inflicted on me and the fact that he needed some kind of professional help (In Queensland, if you are from NZ you are not entitled to get mental health care for free and I needed his parents to get this for him and also deep inside for them to get him away from me) to only have his father tell me to never allow the police to take him away. That how can anyone help if that happens?
More then anything I was worried about him as he would usually end the attacks with saying he wanted to end his life and being that I had loved him from when we were friends all those years ago all I wanted to do was help him, heal him, and make everything OK (I thought my love could mend him) but I learned in the end that would never be the result. The attacks got more frequent when my housemate moved out and I was then subjected to this daily.
All it took was nothing to trigger his rage…
It was odd as nothing, or something I could realise, would trigger him to start with putting me down and telling me I was worthless he had a habit of telling me that I was worth nothing and that how would anyone want me at all in their lives as a friend or as a partner and isolated me from all of my friends and family.
The friends who stayed, and I guess were worried about me, he started to make feel unwelcome and act out in front of them until the point where they left and told me they couldn’t be around me with him in my life. But I still made excuses and protected him saying “it’s not his fault it’s mine and if only I did something correctly, or better or right in the first place that he wouldn’t be acting this way”.
This is what he told me and this is what he conditioned me to feel and react like. I was the one who worked. He would always have a reason to why he couldn’t work or if he got a job a reason why he quit and knowing that it was better for me to just agree rather than question and end up with the same result. It was just safer and easier this way to just keep quiet and work hard to pay for what was needed.
He tried to rip my ear off and pull my eye out…
One morning one of my most horrific memories, and one of the worst times he ever beat me. I was getting ready for work and for the life of me can’t remember what triggered it that morning but the next thing I know I go from buttoning up my work shirt to being thrown across the room. It goes into a blur of me being tossed around like a rag doll and hearing his usual rants about being nothing and nobody.
The next thing I knew he was on top of me and no matter how submissive I became it’s not stopping today I’m not saying anything at all a few times I’ve cried for help and it made him angrier, and caused him to frenzy. It made me know that if I cried out for help I would pay for it with bruises, broken bones, and, to this day, damaged hearing. He was on top of me, continually whacking into my head and top of my body while sitting on me.
He wasn’t a huge guy but he was so strong and I was only a tiny tiny thing from all of the depression and lack of love that I now gave myself. He started to hit me so hard in the head I noticed that I couldn’t hear properly out of one ear with him screaming at me. I cried “I can’t hear, my hearing’s gone” (I don’t know exactly what I said but this is what I tried to cry out and was what my head was trying to say) he then tried to tear my ear off with his teeth and tried to pull my eye out of its socket with his fingers. I then felt his hands clawing and closing around my throat and I think I passed out for a bit as he stopped and was off me.
He almost killed me then I went to work…
I got up, pulled myself together whilst bleeding and in absolute agony and crazily tried to go back to my routine – I finished getting dressed and made my way into work. My boss was horrified I tried to cover all the bruising and scratches that were appearing on my neck with a work scarf but the scratches and bleeding that was caused to my eye and ear were apparent and not easy to hide. My boss sat me down and asked what was happening as I’m very good at showing the world I’m OK even when things aren’t.
I told him a bit of what was happening but made excuses saying he’s unstable due to a loss that happened some time ago and that I will get him help and I will be OK. I was told I had a week to sort it out and to come back to work at the end of the week once I had done so. It was too big to sort in a week and I wasn’t strong enough to leave at that point, still thinking it was all my fault and programmed to believe it was my fault anyway – that somehow I deserved this.
He hid his private self very well when he was in public…
I was very lucky my neighbor at the time was a lovely old gentleman took a liking to me and wanted to help anyway he could. He was the first part of my support network during that period of time and would call the police when he heard it get “too violent”. My neighbor would try to get things for him (my partner now) to do to occupy him to get him to leave me alone – his “public self” would never allow his true self to be exposed so this gave me a “place to hide” ‘in the open’ in public.
The police were no help when I needed them the most…
For some reason, and to this day it makes me cry, but the police here would always stand or sit me next to him and ask me if he had hurt me or what had he done. I knew that if I told the police the truth what would happen – I would be hurt worse. They hadn’t ever taken him away and protected me properly before – how could I trust they wouldn’t just let him go? So I always told them it was nothing or just lied and went along with whatever he said happened.
The police also in Queensland won’t remove anyone from a property if they have no where else to go, so even though he was never on any of my leases (to him this was probably “his proof, If it was raised in court that he owed money). They would never make him leave even the times when I was able to whisper to an officer “I want him out of my house” when I could get a second alone as they put us together or a female officer would for a second allow me change my torn clothing so I wasn’t exposing parts of myself (he always use to tear my shirts to pieces – I think it was the way he degraded me in this manner. I didn’t know why he did that and I don’t know till this day still).
I was lost, helpless and alone…
He started pushing his violence to the maximum and he “got away with it”. This was the beginning of my life of terror with him – it was no longer just fear. The abuse would always be that horrendous from that day forward and I felt there was nothing I could do – i was lost, helpless and alone. One day my sister was calling me when it was happening and I broke down and told her everything. She then became the second part in my support network.
Even though my sister was on the phone, he broke fingers on both my hands and turned my fingers into S shapes. It was so gross and so painful I will never forget this day either – this was the first time of many that he broke my fingers. My poor baby sister heard the cries and was not able to do anything.
She called the police and his father who told her if he goes to jail how can anyone help him. I was conditioned to feel this was my crisis to own. His father called me to tell me the police were on the way due to my sister and “don’t I let them take him”. The police said that this time someone had to leave the scene and since they had called ambulance due to my severe injuries that he could stay there – a moment that I regret so much. I had to have my fingers cast and it was impossible to do anything.
At times like this, he would revert to the man I loved…
It was times like this when he would then flip back and become that kind person who I did fall in love with but it wouldn’t last long. At times it made me feel like “he” existed still and he was the way he was because of what had happened to him. This made me feel “I’m strong enough I can handle this” and “poor him” to go through what he’s going through. I disregarded my own life, feelings, mental health and soul.
They say you leave nine times before you finally stop going back…
There are a lot of things that I have blocked out due to the pain and hurt both physical and emotional that I encountered and I for the life of me can’t remember other than my sister helping me leave and parents taking me in – that helped me get away. Yes, like most people that have been mentally and physically abused, I ended up back with him.
They say (I learned from councilors) that you leave about nine times before you get the real courage to leave forever. I stayed at my parents’ place for a little while and was told by my friends a few months later that he had moved out and all my stuff was still there, that he was using and they had offered me to come back. I was going crazy being back at home as a adult. I moved back in and was happy in my life for a while.
I had heard whispers that he and my brother remained friends and that he may or may not have been at my parents’ place and visiting my brother. No one would tell the truth, though saying that they don’t want me to have anything to do with him. This confused me as why were they having anything to do with him and was it that they also thought he was unwell and needed help? It was a strange thing to be facing and hearing whispers of a ghost that was still haunting my reality of life.
I won’t lie – I was missing him…
I was back socializing with friends and working three jobs and trying to learn to “love life” and rebuild myself and had just met someone new who I was slowly getting to know when I was in a severe car accident and ended up breaking my spine (I can now walk and I’m healed as much as I can. I’m happy and lucky).
I had to go and stay with my parents to get physical help as my share house had stairs and issues that was thought would hinder my recovery. I then kept hearing how my brother was hanging out with him and he had been living with him and I found out it was just around the corner. I’m not going to lie – I had been missing him everyday even though that may sound strange to some. And deep down inside – even though I was trying to get my life back on track and have myself whole again all – I wanted deep down was to be back with him.
In my mind still I kept thinking how useless I was and how no one would want me how, I deserved it and with the fact he was still in the lives of some of my family and friends – I thought it must have been me? We slowly got back together and I moved in with him whilst I was recovering from my car accident.
I could see he was still angry towards life but he didn’t hurt me physically and told me he had changed so I believed him. How could I not. I loved him and wanted him better.
Slowly but surely his monster started re-appear…
Slowly but surely, like a frog placed in a saucepan on a stove and slowly cooked, I was being eased back into what I was promised would not happen again. Once it started again I was already “trapped”. I had not gotten any help (mentally or emotionally by professionals) or had been able to rebuild properly and I was still in the thought of “I can help him, I can heal him”and being told it was my fault everything that was happening to him.
This went on for three more long years. I received my compensation pay out part from my car acciden, over which he had complete control and spent it. The money that I had planned to help set myself up and be able to live with my injury, – a business, special bed, things that would help with my day to day. I again paid for all the bills, rent, food and everything that he wanted or needed. It came to the end of the money and by this point when things were a struggle (financially) he would lash out worse then I have ever encountered.
The day my salvation started…
On the day of my salvation, my start to me being free and being able to break away, the police turned up as he was choking me and hanging me over our mezzanine top lounge room balcony. They kicked my front door and he let me go. I fell too the carpeted floor, my toes were only just touching, trying to grip on for my life. He had torn my shirt again and I was covered in scratches and bruising and had a busted lip as well.
The female police officer allowed me to change my top and I told her I needed to get out and to get away from him. I believe that it was because he had used up very cent that I had from my compensation settlement and the fact that the lease was ending in a less than a month – that I was able to remove him from my life. He was told that if he didn’t leave my house my whole family was going to remove him.
Having the support of my family made me feel stronger. I was so ashamed of I was programmed to feel. I felt like if I had reached out that noone would help me as he kept telling me “why would anyone care?”. Finally, knowing that people did care, allowed me identify his words as lies. Funny enough it was through a person who’s not in my life anymore – but who was a god send for me during this process, someone who was there for me and defended me – that I was able to build my strength in myself again. It was the day that my lease ended that I was able to remove him completely from my life as from then on he didn’t know where I was.
I was empty inside but everyday I healed a little more…
I felt empty for so long but each day I looked inside and healed a small part of myself and started to rebuild using the kindness I gave myself. It’s not been an easy process but it’s a rewarding process. I’m stronger then I ever was. I’ve learned to love myself again and know I am worth more and that no matter what these people say – NO ONE EVER DESERVES ABUSE, VIOLENCE & THAT TREATMENT.
We all deserve love, kindness, nurturing, and above all a safe place to be. If you feel like you don’t have a support network in your family and friends or if you have been isolated like so many of us have forced upon us please don’t be alone. There are lots of places that can help. There is a card that the hospitals give out – it’s called the Women’s Information Card. It has numbers such as the Domestic Violence Service, 1800 811 811; Lifeline Australia, 1300 301 300; also Crisis Care – when children are involved – (07) 3235 9999 or outside of Brisbane 1800 177 135.
Sometimes the darkness is hard to cope with, but I fight on because I am one of the lucky ones…
I am thankful to everyone who helped me and also for the strength I found in myself to not return and to rebuild who I am and to trust again. At times it can be dark again and I reflect on what I went through, but I’m one of the lucky ones. I still have my life and I am thankful for that everyday. ♥️
If you are in domestic violence crisis help is available from the Australia-wide telephone hotline 1800RESPECT. If you want to take part in the “Why I Stayed” project click here ♥️♥️♥️
Photograph by Sherele Moody © 2016.