• Karis Anderson

DOMESTIC VIOLENCE


This post was originally posted on an old blog I had, but as i got so much amazing feedback and love from you guys I thought it would only be right to keep it up somewhere so here it is. enjoy x

I cant explain how weird this is for me, I've um'd and ah'd about speaking publicly about my experience surviving domestic violence, simply because I wasn't sure I was ready to. It's probably my biggest secret and It's taken me nearly 10 years to be able to talk about it in depth to anyone, without shrugging/ laughing it off as though it was just a minor blip in my life that I quickly put to bed. It wasn't a blip. It was just my lifestyle, and honestly at the time - all I knew.

I've told a few concise versions of different events over the years to friends and family, but those who never witnessed it first hand really had no idea what was going on and I liked it that way. I was so embarrassed, I felt weak, stupid, and like I was playing on being the victim any time it would get brought up. So I would just quickly nip it in the bud anytime anyone tried to talk about it, as though everything's fine and I had everything under control. I was worried people would judge me, or think I was lying or crazy, and above all I was scared.

I'm not posting this to go into crazy depth of every detail of my relationship and the things I've been through. I'll definitely touch upon a few things but I don't think you can ever compare tragic situations on any level, and honestly I don't want to relive everything. Maybe one day. But my main aim is just to raise awareness and let anyone and everyone going through this on any extent, that it really can be ok, if you want it to be. It just all starts with self love, and building the strength you need to have in order to be 100% honest with yourself about the situation you're in, and making the right choices for yourself moving forward. Having hope for yourself! Strength is having the courage to show parts of you that you've never showed anyone, in the hope that it will help somebody else going through what I went through and inspire them to find their strength too.

Like I said it's taken me years to find the courage to speak about this properly, but there was something that finally gave me that push to do it. I came across this Domestic Violence music video by UK artist Rapz, on my friend Karis' instagram. (Yep name twins! <3) She plays the role of a DV victim, and it shows how controlling traits can escalate into tragedy, while Rapz tells the story through his lyrics. They teamed up with SBTV and Comic Relief and I think it was an amazing way of raising awareness and showing people the reality of an abusive relationship.

Check it out here

I cried so hard just thinking about all the women (and men) still in this situation struggling to find the light at the end of the tunnel. Thinking they have no way out. Telling themselves this is it forever. I feel you! Dealing with everything alone feeling embarrassed. Well, if you're reading this and you're in that situation - no matter how far gone. Guess What?

THERE IS A LIGHT AT THE END OF THE TUNNEL

THERE IS A WAY OUT

THIS ISN'T YOUR LIFE FOREVER

YOU'RE NOT ALONE...

<3

I know my blog post isn't exactly going to change the world. But honestly if there's just one reader who can relate to my story, and feel the tiiiiiniest bit of hope with finding a way out, knowing that I did, then I'll be more than happy. Over the moon actually.

If I had a pound for every time someone said to me, "Just leave him babe" -_-

I really wish it was that easy. But it's just not.

There are enough stories publicly that prove it's not possible to just 'leave'. Many landmark stories that have changed many lives - Whitney & Bobby, OJ & Nicole, Rihanna & Chris, Pam & Tommy Lee, the list goes on! Even up to recently, seeing Mel B leave her husband after 10 years! It really is amazing to see when a woman trusts herself and finds the strength within, even when their lives are being scrutinised by the media. The main story that really had an impact on my life because of how relatable I found it, was Tina & Ike's. What's love got to do with it is my all time favourite movie and it just shows you how deeply in denial we can be with ourselves in order to uphold our fantasy of the relationship. But she built the strength she needed, and survived. Tina is my ultimate hero. For me the true meaning of a Bad Ass Bitch <3

I've learnt many things from surviving domestic abuse. But the thing that sticks out for me the most is that no matter how times many friends and family beg you to leave, giving you ultimatums, reminding you that your life is on the line and you are literally going to die if you don't leave. None of it works lol. The closest people to me begged me for years to get away - but no matter how bad it got, I still stayed. It wasn't until i started to look within myself and begin to practice self-love, that I could build up the strength, courage and even understanding on why I had to get myself out of that situation. It has to come from within you.

Even when I say I'm a 'domestic violence survivor' it use to sound weird to me because I just thought to myself, well I wasn't in a car crash, or fire. So why am I a 'survivor'? But what I came to realise is that domestic violence really is a fatal situation.

I remember one time in particular, it was my 18th birthday, I wasn't allowed to do anything with the few friends that I had at the time and he made me go to a strip club with him, (him/J = my ex) and his friends instead. So I got all dressed up, and off we went. It got to the end of the night (which all in all was just a boys night out with me just sitting there) And one of his friends said to me 'u look lovely tonight K' to which I just replied 'ah thanks.' I automatically turned to look at J because I knew it was going to cause some drama but I weren't sure on what extent - but he seemed fine. We then left the club and he whispered to me that I 'should stop acting like a slag because it's embarrassing...' and i would always just try and defuse the situation because I knew what was coming, and i thought it might of made him hit me a little less hard if I wasn't argumentative. He was calling me all the names under the sun and I just tried to keep walking towards the cab station. I turned around and he punched me round the face which made me fall to the floor, I dragged myself to a wall and hobbled back up and continued walking to the cab station. We got into a cab, it was silent. I was crying but trying to hold the tears in because that always angered him more. At the time he was living with me at my mums house, and he told the driver to pull up before we got to the house, about 10 doors before.

As we got out I looked at him and he started taking his belt off so I began walking frantically towards the house - but he dragged me back and pursued to beat me with the belt, whipping it sooooo hard that it made me fall to the floor. I just remember my head slamming into the kerb, and then feeling his food stamp on my face repeatedly. Kicking me in my ribs. I can't explain the pain, it's like it hurt so much that it felt numb if that makes any sense. You don't feel like it's real. Everything is just in slow motion and it's like you know what's coming so you don't fear the pain. I could literally see my house from where we was and I was just trying to scream loud enough so someone would hear me but it was pointless. I found my feet and ran to my house, locking the door behind me. I ran upstairs to my room and prayed to god that my mum didn't come in because then I'd have to explain the state of my face. I got in bed and the phone calls & texts started, he was crying his eyes out apologising for what he had done and asking me to let him in. That's when the fear takes over, I wasn't strong enough to say no to him. So I opened the door for him and we went to bed. We cried ourselves to sleep and that was how I spent my 18th birthday. Fucked right? In the morning I caught a glimpse of a mirror and literally startled myself. You know when people get an allergic reaction to hair dye and their whole face swells up? Well that's what I looked like - I could hardly see out my eyes as they were both blown. My lips were split my nose was bleeding down my face, I was bruised all over. But, at the time. To me this was 'normal' and he 'did it coz he loves me'.... kmt

Here are some stats to put things into perspective before I get my story (I'm sooooo sorry if i'm rambling lol xx)

  • 2 women are killed every week in England and Wales by a current or former partner – 1 woman killed every 3 days

  • 1 in 4 women in England and Wales will experience domestic violence in their lifetimes and 8% will suffer domestic violence in any given year

  • Globally, 1 in 3 women will experience violence at the hands of a male partner

  • Domestic violence has a higher rate of repeat victimisation than any other crime

  • Every minute police in the UK receive a domestic assistance call – yet only 35% of domestic violence incidents are reported to the police

  • The 2001/02 British Crime Survey (BCS) found that there were an estimated 635,000 incidents of domestic violence in England and Wales. 81% of the victims were women and 19% were men. Domestic violence incidents also made up nearly 22% of all violent incidents reported by participants in the BCS

  • On average, a woman is assaulted 35 times before her first call to the police (Jaffe, 1982)

(Source - www.refuge.org.uk)

So let's just take that in... Just in the U.K. alone, 1 woman is KILLED every 3 days as a result of domestic violence. Not hurt, not scarred, KILLED. Not by accident, not in a car crash, not by being in the wrong place at the wrong time, not from an illness. But by someone who they supposedly 'love', trust, and class as their 'partner' or former partner... and on average a woman is assaulted 35 times before her 1st call to the police - do you know why? Because of denial.

Those facts & stats are the reason i'm writing this, hoping it will raise even the slightest bit more awareness. It's a real issue and honestly the last thing I want to do is expose my ex for his mistakes and choices. One of my biggest downfalls in life is the fact that I see the good in everyone and everything! I like to think I can help people. But I've learned that it's important to leave something for yourself, you can't drain all your energy on trying to fix someone else. It has to come from within themselves. Me and my ex have even spoken a few times since we split up, and I still speak to some of his family members too. I'm not perfect and I'm not here to judge his or their perception of the situation, nor am I here to scrutinise his life choices.I'm just here to talk about the facts and real aspects of my relationship, how it effected my life and why its so important to me that I help raise awareness to this issue.

Like I said you really can't compare tragedies on any level but there are some really disgusting cases of domestic violence. I remember things got really bad that I had to go refuge, and they told me a story which really made me think 'it can always be worse, and if they can get out of their situation, so can I'. She told me that a young girl who was dealing with domestic violence, had a broken bottle shoved into her private parts by her ex boy friend. Like what the fuck??? I can't sit and do nothing when girls and women are dealing with shit like this and worse! thinking they have no way out.

For me it was almost an everyday thing. Some days were good days, most days were bad days. Mostly revolving around whether or not he had a good day. Which always came down to money. Some days was a quick punch in the face if he thought I said something under my breath. Some days was hours of beatings which ended in lots of tears and talks of how were going to work through It and get him better. I remember one time he beat me up so bad that my bedroom looked like a murder scene. Blood all over the walls, everything broken. He left me there in the concussion he put me in, and took all my clothes and shoes that he bought me (which was pretty much all my stuff at the time) and left me laying there. I must of been out cold for about 20 minutes before my mum got there. She said When I woke up was just screaming for my sister Carla, I don't enemy remember anything but when I opened my eyes I saw that my room was empty, he had taken everything, clothes etc. So while I was laying there on the floor unconscious, he was tip toeing over me gathering up all my belongings. I think I found that more disturbing that the beatings.

The worst thing is he was cheating on me the whole time, and most of the arguments started as me catching him out. But somehow ended in me being black and blue? One time I remember us arguing about another female, and he would pretend to be calm and say it's fine and come and pick me up. He would take me to this dead end road round the corner from my mums where it was pitch black and next to a field. He would just stop the car, look at me and I knew what was coming. I remember once we was in the car together driving so fast down the dead end road and because I knew what was about to happen I jumped out the car, simply because I would rather endure that pain that his.

The thing that I never understood is how his friends just stood and watched sometimes. I think they were just as scared of him as I was to be honest. I remember us being with his friends and he hit me in the back of their car, they all got out and I begged them not to leave me with him but they just looked at me apologetically saying they can't do anything. It's crazy what choices fear can cause you to make.

I never called the police on him once, the neighbours had but its just like there is a stigma around it because its a pointless procedure. He get's arrested, he then gets let out the next day, then you drop the charges because you're scared. Or if you are brave enough to go through with it, he's out in a couple of years stronger and angrier and just finds you and beats you even worse. Its like a vicious cycle and the system is fucked. Abusers have causes, reason, and issues in my point of view. They need counselling/ anger management, and to understand why they make the choices they do, to work through it and try and alter their perception on situations in order to reduce their anger. Or to go deep and work out the root of their anger and solve it. They need help, and so do the victims. But for some reason the focus is just keeping them institutionalised for a short time like that's going to solve every problem. It just angers me because there is a major reason that there is on 35% of all incidents being reported and a woman dying and few days. It should not get to that extent. Victims need a safe place, and abusers need help.

Going to Refuge and hearing some of the other stories really changed my perception on my situation, and I encourage anyone reading this who is going through any type of DV, whenever you get some time alone. Please please please just give refuge a call. You can speak to them over be phone or go down to one of their well hidden, confidential offices to speak to someone face to face. I was with him for 6 years from the age of 15 dealing with this from pretty much the 1st year in, in and out of a&e, covering up bruises & scars for school and shows, lying to my family, losing friends. But as it was my 1st proper relationship it was literally all I knew so it was so hard for me to understand that it doesn't happen in every relationship, it was just my normality. But Refuge really put it all into perspective.

If you are reading this as someone who has experienced or is experiencing DV, just know that you really are NOT alone, you have everything to fight for, and you are strong enough to change your situation. But just be patient with yourself, its a journey to self-love which isn't going to be easy, but just think about what you've gone through already.. If you can get through that you can get through anything. Sending you lots of positive vibes and energy through this right now!

If you're reading this, without having experienced it yourself but know someone who has, be patient with them! Understand that the choices they make are probably out of fear the majority of the time. Try your best to be a friend either way. Some of my friends have had to literally fight him off of me, or get out of bed at 4am to pick me up from somewhere, and been involved in situations I would of never wanted them in, but I don't know what I would of done if they weren't there at the time.

If you have no affiliation with it at all, but have this got this far, THANK YOU! This is a real situation. Even as I'm writing this, the 10 O'clock news just came on and announced that London has the highest conviction of Domestic Violence in the country, and that's with only 35% of incidents being reported which literally breaks my heart.

And finally if you are the new partner of a domestic violence victim, please be patient. She might be on edge sometimes, she might flinch if you move fast, she might be a little insecure about herself, she might be angry or even lash out because anger is all she knew, she might have her back up about certain situations, she might not understand why you're being so nice to her. If you love her, Help her with her journey back to self love, don't give up on her, it might just take a little longer that's all.

Ok I think I've said enough for one post, I'm sure ill be back addressing the issues with some new stats soon. Please do leave your feedback in the comment box below. If you are experiencing any type of DV and don't feel comfortable talking to Refuge or any other charity, please please tell a friend or family member - I know its hard but its so important at least someone knows for your own safety. Or just drop me a DM on insta!!! I don't care - Whatever you do, please just don't keep it to yourself.

It disgusts me that it is actually a 'norm' for so many girls in my area and use to be for me and alot of my friends. It doesn't have to be your normality or your reality.

Thanks again to everyone for reading, sorry its so long lol.

With love,

Karis x


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