It was a Saturday. I remember it vividly as Saturday was always my cleaning day to get the whole house blitzed. I was busy scrubbing the whole of the downstairs, whilst my 3 girls and my little sister were playing upstairs. After I had finished, I was going to get the four of them to help me do their rooms, then on to the bathroom and finally my room. All done and time for tea.
I never got around to doing the upstairs. My phone had not stopped ringing all day. I had an injunction on my ex, my youngest girls dad and he wouldn’t leave me alone.
We watched a bit of Saturday Tv and at 8 o’clock I put the girls in their bed.
Its funny the little things you remember. I can’t even remember what we watched that night, but I remember that I got changed into my favourite. Beige Capri pants and a belly top. These pants were so comfy and fitted me perfect. Why does that still in my mind. Nothing special, nothing exciting. The other thing I remember was the smell of bleach, I stunk of it.
A little later one of my best friends Mike came around, with Gary and his girlfriend Diane. I had known Gary about a year, but this was the first time I met Diane. As we sat chatting my phone went off again. It was him telling me I better meet him now, I better come, or he was going to kill himself, hang himself in the park. If I didn’t meet him by 11, he was serious he was had nothing more to live for. I knew he wouldn’t do it I had heard it all before. He was trying anything to get me to feel sorry for him, to get back with him. This time though I was not going to give in. This time I was staying strong for me and my girls. I had had enough of
Still he carried on ringing. I ignored the phone, but he just rang and rang leaving voice messages. When I listened to the messages, I knew I had better ring him back, why I never called the police I don’t know. His messages were vile, he was coming for me and if I didn’t ring him back, he was going to burn the house down with me and the girls in it.
Petrified I rang him. I made the excuse that I couldn’t get a babysitter. He said he was going the park and I would never hear from him again. I was that worried I begged Gary and Mike to go to the park they rang me to say there was no sign of him. Later I found out that he had been ringing me while sat in a girl’s house who he had been sleeping with behind my back until I caught him.
While me and Diane waited for the lads to come back, Diane was telling me all about Birmingham where she lived and that I should move there and start afresh. Somewhere safe away from him. I understood what she meant and for a moment I thought about being free from him but then I thought why should I? Why move away from my family and friends, why uproot the girls to somewhere they had never been. No, I had done nothing wrong I wasn’t about to run away and let him win. Besides now he was with this new girl, little did he know I was finally happy not angry. Happy he was leaving me alone. Glad our relationship was finally over. Little did I know that Gary and Mike had caught him at her house, and he was not happy.
I had had a camera put on the front and my house and I was forever watching out for him, tonight was no different. I kept watching the screen. Diane just kept pointing out that it must be horrible living like this and moving was for the best.
And there he was, he was so quick I could have missed it, but I saw him run in the front garden and I was out of my chair in a shot. I grabbed my phone and dialled 999, before they even put me through to the control room, I heard the kitchen window smash and the image of him, the rage in his face I will never forget, he jumped through the window like a frog. Dropping the phone, I ran for the front door, shaking and screaming as I unlocked the bolts, chains and locks on the door. I didn’t think about my kids or my little sister upstairs, he was there for me, he was there to kill me, and I had to get away.
I ran as fast as I could and hid in a garden further up the street. It was so cold, in the same beige Capri pants and belly top, I shivered and tried to stop my teeth chattering together in case he heard me and found me. It was November and I crouched there freezing for what seemed like I lifetime. I didn’t move even when I heard Diane screaming from inside the house. I heard footsteps and I held my breath, as he walked calmly passed the garden, I was hidden in. Still I didn’t move convinced he was waiting for me to reveal where I was. I still waited when the first police arrived. It wasn’t until a few cars arrived that I felt safe enough to run out the garden to them.
When they took me inside, the horror of what he had done made me scream. Poor Diane looked like her head had been cut in half, there was blood everywhere and a samurai sword lay next to her. He had literally chopped her in the head, she was a mess and just kept saying, “my head, my head”.
I couldn’t look, I felt sick, I felt to blame. The police took me upstairs to the girls and my sister and we shielded them from seeing the carnage downstairs as I led them out to the police car.
It was a miracle that Diane made it, she almost died and obviously she is deeply scared both physically and emotionally.
After that day I completely changed. They moved us anyway, somewhere right out the way so he could never find us, I was in no doubt that the samurai sword would have been for me.
I stopped wearing make-up after that day, I stopped going out, I stopped wearing nice clothes and the clothes I wore that night, my favourite pants, got put in the bin.
I struggled so hard to make changes, I suffered from anxiety, PTSD and terrible night terrors. The run up to the anniversary in November every year was the worst weeks of my life, reliving the night over and over again, unable to sleep or function. I stopped doing my hair and would sit in my bedroom in my pyjamas for days on end, not wanting to do anything. If I had to go anywhere, I would throw on a pair of baggy jeans and a big jumper. I never wanted anyone, especially a man to look at me again. My girls suffered so much watching me like this, I never wanted this for them.
After about 10 years I did start to wear make-up on special occasions but still I would shy away from new situations and prefer to stay in the safety of my own room. It’s only been this past year since I started to make changes and volunteer with other survivors of abuse that I realised that I am worth more and deserve to feel good about myself and comfortable in what I wear. I cannot change anything that has happened in the past, but I am looking forward to my future.
One thing I know though is the thought of wearing Capri pants brings a shiver to my spine.