“Just stay positive and don’t give up. These assholes won’t get to us – we are warriors”. Domestic violence survivor Kaitlin.
Young mum Kaitlin is the Why I Stayed project’s youngest contributor ♥️
He was my first kiss, my first love…
I met my abuser when I was only 14 years old, 2006, around September, on a social media site called MySpace through one of my good friends back in primary school.
I added him and then we started talking on there and through MSN messenger only for a few days then we decided to meet each other at the movies in Broadbeach on the Gold Coast.
I brought along one of my good childhood friends and he also brought along one of his school friendS. I thought he was the best thing that had happened to me – we got on so well. He said he loved me that day.
We had so much in common. He kept saying all these nice compliments to me and saying how he had never found anyone like me before. He even gave me my very first kiss and hug. So that day when I had left the movies we started going out as he asked me to be his girlfriend that day.
I was so excited. I couldn’t wait to see him again. We would then message each other on MSN and talk for hours. I thought he was the best thing as he would always say he would love me and say constantly nice compliments and always ask were I was what, I was doing. This situation lasted for a number of months. Then his behaviour started to become more controlling – he started calling me constantly at work and became very possessive of my time.
A new life inside of me reveals a frightening truth…
We had been together for four years then I found out I was pregnant. We were both very excited and straight away said we would keep the baby. We told both sides of our family and both our mums thought it was a good idea if we got together for coffee to talk about the pros and cons as we both were still so young. The abuser’s mother said ‘you know when you get angry you can’t go and throw the baby and get jealous’ and he stated ‘no i won’t Mum’. It wasn’t until then that I realised ‘wow – would my partner and soon to be child’s father do that?
He picked me up and threw me across his mum’s lawn…
In 2009, May, our son was born. That’s when I really started to see his true colours, but i thought I could change him and he would be fine – it’s just because he is young and still immature so I ignored it. It mainly started off with physical abuse – pushing and shoving me into walls and the fridge when pregnant, pushing his hands in my pressure point on my body, kneeing me hard in the sides of my legs to give me a dead leg, he picked me up and threw me across his mum’s grass onto the driveway cause he accused me of looking at his brother. Then all the emotional, controlling, financial, isolationg and sexual abuse had begun.
He would say that i had an ugly body, that I wouldn’t be able to find another guy, ‘I’m only with you because of the children’. He would call me ‘baboon boobs’ because I used to breastfeed the kids, he constantly would be degrading me in front of family and friends. He said to our son from an early age that ‘your mum’s a slut’, ‘she sleeps around’ and that I ‘don’t love him’. I was unable to see friends and family. He would send abusive emails to my friends.
The abuser exhibited fits of anger e.g. holding knife up ‘if you don’t love me just kill me’. He threw our son across the room when he was around six months of age, accusing me of liking his stepfather as he gave me a kiss on the cheek when he arrived home. The abuser would always want sex on demand, he would try to do inappropriate sexual behaviour in front of the kids.
I was miscarrying, he was buying audio equipment…
I had a miscarriage and I was hemorrhaging – at that very time we were living only a few minutes from the Gold Coast hospital and the abuser decided to drive to the other end of the Gold Coast to buy some speakers and subs that were on sale at Autobarn. Meanwhile, I was very emotional and in pain he didn’t care about how I felt. He said ‘you better not put blood on my seat’. In fits of anger he locked me in the home and took my keys and phone off me so I could not call anyone for help. He pinned me up against the wall, fists clenched and teeth and stood over me yelling.
He controlled my money, who I spoke to, how I dressed…
My abuser allowed me no financial independence he kept all my key cards even my money he would make me transfer it all up into my other account and withdraw it all and hand it over to him .he had control over all my passwords and pin number controlled all accounts Facebook,Hotmail, Netbank, phone contacts, he wouldn’t allow me to wear any make up or nice clothes as he would accuse me of trying to impress another guy – he wouldn’t even let me wear certain undies.
I thought I could change him, but he changed me…
Initially I thought he would change and that I could help him to change he always promised to change after the abuse and would cry. i felt sorry for him and realised he needed help with his temper and emotions. We attended couple counselling sessions and he also attended anger management counselling, however he did not tell the counsellor the full extent of the abuse.
I ignored a lot to survive and tried not to bring up topics of conversation that might set him off. Eventually after constant emotional abuse I became numb to it, but always wondering ‘why was this happening?’ He chipped away at my self-esteem, confidence and self-image until at the end of our relationship I left as an empty shell.
Why I stayed…
I attempted to leave the abuse a number of times over the nine years we were together. However, each time he would lure me back in with flowers, ‘sorry’, crying. I promise ‘I’ll change’. At first I did still love him and believed what he said. However over the years and due to the emotional, physical, sexual and financial abuse I continued to stay because of my three beautiful children.
I tried to escape – he raped me…
The whole beginning of giving me strength to leave the devil was the encouragement of my TAFE course in aged care. I met and made some wonderful friends in particular one friend who helped me in the planning of my escape as she made me realise do you want this for the rest of yours and your children’s lives.
Doing my course and meeting new people gave me the confidence to realise there was a new wonderful life out there for me and my children to start fresh. After the planning was done I told the devil that I no longer loved him and wanted to leave.
Unfortunately, I had to stay for another two weeks before I could leave him as my parents were away at the time That is when the abuse became totally uncontrollable – he would tell our son that his mum was a ‘slut’, ‘the reason why she is leaving is because she doesn’t love you or your sisters’.
He opened the bathroom door while I was showering and touched me inappropriately while our children were present – his useless father was standing outside the door in the kitchen saying nothing. He forced sexual relations on me – even when he knew what he was doing was hurting me. I was crying and shaking, he would never stop. I would say ‘how can you do this to someone you are meant to love?’ and it is rape. And he replied with ‘no it isn’t when your in a relationship’.
I thought domestic violence was an older woman’s burden…
I used to think that domestic violence mainly happened to older women, but mine started when i was 14 and I left when I was 23. It has nearly come up to two years of leaving the devil/abuser.
I’m free, stronger and starting to love life…
I have come so far since breaking free. I lived with my parents for six months before finding my own place to rent with my children. I’m constantly making new friends which i love and back to doing things that i love and i can enjoy spending time with my beautiful children.
Ever since leaving, I have attended the domestic violence counselling and domestic violence group – which is amazing and has helped me with what to look out for in my next relationship – and attending the sexual violence counselling. I really can’t express how much everyone has done for me it really helps. If you can have the support from friends,family and support networks.
Remember – you to have the strength to be free…
Thanks for letting me share my story with you and just remember – hold on. The pain ends and there will be light at the end of the tunnel. Just stay positive and don’t give up. These assholes won’t get to us – we are warriors. ♥️
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.