« You.are.my.wife ». He shouted it. He was completely out of control. I was wondering whether he could arm me. I did not protect my face. I put my arms around my belly, feeling my child’s life inside me. I closed my eyes. And it was over.
His wife. Like I was a chair or a table. Like I was his property.
I was his prize. I was the one welcoming him with a smile and trying to be nice, always. The one cooking and cleaning and making his life easy. His nightmare some days. His terrible choice, other days.
In between. Only drama.
His breath and his eyes and his steps. I remember fearing the sound of his steps and the key, the door, opened and closed with a bang, the light switched on, even when he knew I was surely asleep at this time. And his body against mine. And his hands on me. And his breath again, full of cigarette and beer. And the same old marital, sexual duty.
At the beginning it was ok. Not wonderful but ok. Loads of promises. Love in the air. It did not last long. Not long enough for me to enjoy it. The first threat was just around the corner. Big mess, harsh words. He left. And he came back. And I apologize, out of nothing, for nothing. And it was nice again. And he proposed, kind of. And I didn’t say “yes” straight away. No way. So manipulation started. He would ignore me then say “he loves me”. He would be happy and then tell me “you are a slut, you’re nothing”. On and on and on. Till I said “yes”. Just to have peace. I believed maybe this would make him happier. And life would at last be a good one together.
It got worse. Nothing was never good enough. I was never good enough.
I was a mess. I was tired. I used to knock my head against the walls, wishing I could hurt myself more. I wanted somebody to see I could not cope anymore. I was becoming a ghost in my own body. I wanted somebody to take care of me. He said he would, if only I was good to him. But I was always making mistakes. I was always begging for forgiveness. So I could sleep again and have a “normal” life.
He never kicked me or slapped me. But his words and his look. His contempt. Him thinking he was better than anybody else. Him and his threats to kill me. Him and his will to control me. Him and his body against mine and his silence. He stole my money and 4 years of my life.
But he didn’t win.
I got away. One night. We didn’t talk at all for ten days. I remember hiding myself in the bathroom, crying under the water so he wouldn’t hear me. I would sleep on the sofa in the living room with my belly becoming bigger and bigger. My pregnancy saved me from a life of pain and violence. I took a one way flight, leaving everything behind.
It did not stop after that. But at least I was home. I was safe. It took me years to find myself again. My baby boy, my family, my friends helped me on the way up.
I believe talking about abuse, violence, is key. We need to share our stories. It can help. It can make a difference. Victims need to know they are not alone, need to understand that silence is a killer. We must raise our voices. We must tell them that a life is possible after hell. And that they are beautiful and deserve all the love in the world.
My name is Marie. I live in paris and write both in French and in English. You can read me (in english) onhttps://mahshiandmarshmallow.wordpress.com or (in French) on https://latmospheriquemariekleber.wordpress.com/
#savingme is the column where abuse victims can publish their experiences just to let go and find comfort and support. Maybe it doesn’t feel like much but just publishing your story for others to read makes you strong. You can send your story about the abuse you went through to firstname.lastname@example.org and you can choose if you want it to be anonymous or not. More details here.