“Dear Confetti’s” has shown us a whole new appreciation for strong women. To everyone who writes in, we are so grateful and love giving you advice and hearing your stories. You are teaching women and girls everywhere, that we are empowered and we do not need to be oppressed by anyone or anything. So thank you.
Here is just one incredible story we have received from @rainbow_chaser90 ❤️
For seven years I stayed with an abusive man, and it’s time we all stopped and looked at what is happening. I met my ex when I was 17 he was 22 I was in a bad place, I was self harming a lot and taking drugs. He wasn’t really very nice from the start. I was too young to even realise that what he was doing was abuse, it started small, “don’t go and see your friends tonight stay in with me” so I would stay and then he would go out and lock me in alone, he would come home drunk and proceed to rape me. I didn’t call it rape. I never thought of it as rape, he was my boyfriend, he wasn’t a stranger down a dark alley, this is what you did in a relationship. The first time he hit me, it was “just a slap” they were his words. “I don’t know what you’re moaning about” he said as he walked out the flat like nothing had happened. They became my words. Each time it got worse, he would come home drunk I would say no to sex because I didn’t trust him to stop if it hurt me, and he would attack me. He’s dragged me by my hair, which gave me a golf ball size lump on my head. He pushed me down the stairs during an argument, which knocked me unconscious and split my head open, now people always say “why don’t you leave?” After the incident with the stairs, he was scared and took me to hospital where they glued my head up, and when we cane home he washed my clothes, washed my hair very carefully and made me dinner, and I wasn’t thinking OMG this man has nearly killed me, I was thinking oh how lovely he’s being! I couldn’t go and tell my family I was so scared, scared I would never find someone else, scared of what he might do, and I thought I loved him! It didn’t last long he carried on, He strangled me at his sisters wedding because I said I didn’t want him to tie me up, he strangled me until I was unconscious, when I woke up I looked in the mirror and my face was covered in blood because he had tried to wake me up by punching me! I saw him on the floor with his head in his hands, he thought he’d killed me. We broke up, and he was the most apologetic loving man, promising he would change, it was because his dad was violent. I forgave him and we were back, a few weeks later he came home drunk and anally raped me, I screamed for help I tried to get away and when he finished he stood up looked down at me and said, “what are you crying for” had I just imagined that happened? Was I making a fuss over nothing? I wasn’t! This kept me awake at night for years, my boyfriend had raped me! That was the first time I really knew that it was rape. And he just minimised it like nothing had happened, never spoke about it. When he was drunk my fear of that happening again got worse and so did the violence. He ran at me and head butted me into the kitchen. He bit my face. He tried to run us off the road once and then got out and proposed. It was such a crazy rollercoaster I didn’t know which way was up, at 19 I fell pregnant! I stopped self harming and I stopped taking drugs. This would make him change I knew it, he was so amazing during the pregnancy. Until he found out we were having a girl, he stormed out of the hospital. After she was born he did nothing, the night time wake up calls were too much for him so I stayed at my mums with my baby, when she was three months the violence started again An it was here that I started to realise that I did not love this person, this was not love! This perfect little bundle of beautiful was love and she was my main priority, we argued and he took her, I was frantic but he as usual acted like nothing had happened and I was fussing over nothing. We got back together, he cheated and took me on holiday to make it up, he broke my eye socket. We had made up and stayed together I had believed his lies again, in 2013 we had a night out came home and gone to bed, he woke up in the morning and wanted to have sex, I said no I was so terrified of what would happen if I did because he was so unpredictable, he ran at me grabbed my hair and threw me in the bed, ripped of my underwear, I was fighting to get away, he started to strangle me and for what felt like a life time I was getting away for a split second and he would drag me back at one point I was on my stomach and he had my neck in his elbow I couldn’t breath I felt like I was drowning, I tried to say to him think of our daughter and all I kept thinking was I’m gonna die, I’m never gonna see my baby again, I managed to slide my arm behind my back and I grabbed his balls. This made him get off, I was panting and just saying to him let’s talk it’s ok, I was trying to calm him down so I could get out of there, he was so angry, he had a pool cue and he picked it up and was pointing it in my face saying “look what you made me do” pointing at his balls saying “look what you done to me” I remember looking at the bed with my blood all over it and thinking look what you done!! He walked to look out the windows and I ran, I ran so fast down those stairs, just praying that the door was unlocked! It was, I ran down the road with just my vest on, no shoes, no trousers and no knickers, just screaming for Someone to open the door and let me in, he drove down to get me picked me and and tried to put me in the car, I fought so hard not to go, and someone opened their door and he just dropped me and drove off. I ran inside and they gave me some clothes. The police came and took me, took my statement, took pictures, I remember the police officer asking if I had love bites on my neck, but it was where he’d been strangling me. He went and got our daughter from his sisters and took her for four days, I was out of my mind with worry. I got a non molestation order and didn’t see him for four months, then he got access to our daughter and started turning up early for contact and “bumping” into me bringing me little presents, asking if we can go out as a family so our daughter could still have a normal life. I fell for it, I was back. And I had court coming up, he was so nice, but I knew I could never really be with him, in the back of my mind I couldn’t get over that he’d nearly killed me!! He said to me one day when we were out, “all you’ve got to do is tell the police you were still drunk and you don’t know what happened” he’d played the “I don’t remember anything” card all the way through and now he expected me to do it too??? I was having nightmares about this. I was laying awake at 3am planning escape routes incase he broke into my house, my washing was blowing in the garden one afternoon and I ran to the front door because I thought it was him and he wanted me to lie and to protect him again? No way! I started the freedom programme which is run by women’s aid, it’s a 12 week course and they teach you early warning signs, how it effects you and the children, all their tactics. It was becoming clearer and clearer what he had been doing all these years! How had I missed it? One of the weeks was like a light bulb moment, we learnt about The Persuader! The picture on the front of this was a man crying holding a bunch of flowers but behind his back he was holding a baseball bat! Ding!! It was him! All the sorrys and promises to change, the anger management courses he said he would do, the convenient memory loss he always had. So I told him I wasn’t going to be seeing him, we would go back to contact, we were in and out of court for contact for two years, he got unsupervised where he picked her up from my mum and had her over the weekend and brought her back to my mums, he would always be waiting on the drive before I got there, I told the police everything about us resuming our relationship for the brief period, that way I though it wouldn’t be used against me in court. I was so wrong! We finally went to crown court in Feb 2015 he had been charged with strangulation, attempted rape, abh and criminal damage, it was a two day trial, now I’m quite fit, I do pole fitness, I’m quite strong, I’m 5’4. His defence asked me to turn to one of the pages, as I did it was a picture of me on the pole, he started to tell the court I was a fit young woman then turned to me and told me that I was too strong for my ex to pin me to the bed and rape me, that the argument had started because he’d heard me telling someone else I love them on the phone so we were fighting over a phone, then they showed pictures of text messages between us from the time where we had started talking again, and he said why would you get back with someone who had tried to rape you? It was a lie wasn’t it? And he got done for only the abh and criminal damage, because they had tied the rape charge to the strangulation and as they couldn’t prove he was trying to rape me, they therefore couldn’t prove the was trying to strangle me to rape me, and was acquitted because there was not enough evidence, even though the pictures of my neck should have been enough! He was sentenced to 2.5 years and served only 4 months. The freedom programme helped massively and has made me realise so much about my relationship with him as well as people I know. Domestic abuse is so complicated, it’s not as easy as just getting up and walking away, he told me many times he would kill me, my family, take my daughter. He had a hold over me. But I’m not scared any more, I had counselling for ptsd and I’m now setting an example for my daughter that if anyone ever treats you badly you leave! I preach this stuff to my friend and people I meet, because I never had anyone to talk to or anyone to tell me what was really going on here, so much more needs to be done to raise awareness, police, courts, and the public need to understand more and not to judge so quickly. If there had been people who understood this more in court when I was there then maybe they would have seen that although he had tried to rape and beat me and I had gone back, he had done it countless times and we had stayed together and gone on to have a child. It didn’t mean it was any less relevant or true. Everyone thinks they know what they would do in this situation but until you’re there you really don’t! I was a very “won’t take no shit from no man” kinda girl and I still got dragged down by it. There are more donkey sanctuaries than women’s refuges in this country, three women a week are killed by an current or ex partner in England an wales, but it’s not just women who experience domestic abuse it’s men too and as a whole more needs to be done. Stand up! Speak out!
Art by @r29unbothered 🎨