When I started to write this blog, it was on Wordpress, I have to say I was a little nervous. The experience though has changed me, I didn’t know if anyone would be interested in what I had to say.
I like to write about events that I find a little funny or quirky, like Valentine’s Day and Shrove Tuesday. The history regarding celebratory days are interesting to me, so I like a giggle now and then, but there is a deeper reason. I was terrified about writing the subjects that really concern me, baring the 'real' me, but you can only hide behind the veil for so long, at some time we have to be honest with ourselves. To take a deep breath, exhale slowly and reveal ourselves...
My name is Claire and I am writing this blog as a journey through writing a novel based on empowerment from abuse,(well, easy so far).
Who am I really? Well, here we go:
I was raped two weeks before my fifteenth birthday in my own home, while my parents were out. He was a close “friend” who I had spent a lot of time over the summer with. He was twenty-two. He told me if I told anyone, he would kill me, over the next five years he attempted to keep his promise, even though I told no-one. He tried to drown me, threatened me with both a gun and a knife. He stalked me for five years. I knew that my father was much respected in the town and didn’t want to bring shame on him and was also worried about what he may do if he found out. I didn’t want my father to end up in jail, which I know would’ve happened if I had spoken out.
I did finally speak out when it was over at the age of twenty-two, and it only ended when the man’s girlfriend thought he was hanging around me because I wanted to date him and promptly beat me one night after work, (I worked part-time behind a bar, this was easy socializing for me as the bar blocked people from me). My boss tried to get her off me, which was then she started to beat him down too, I can only guess this finally scared the guy and he finally left me alone.
I was angry and bitter and realize that I had RTS (Rape Trauma Syndrome) and was basically hitting on guys when I was a teenager as ‘revenge’, when they were interested I would turn them down, cruelly. I would insult them, pour beer over them, told them they weren’t ‘good enough’. My school work had suffered I was told I had a high IQ, but I left school at sixteen, I went to work, when I did get a place at college my mother told me I couldn’t go because she was used to my rent money of ten pounds a week. My mother and I fought a lot, even when she found out that I had been raped, she said it was sad, but I had to ‘pull myself up by my bootstraps’ and ‘get on with life…’ (Don’t you hate clichés? I do). I did date a couple of times through my teenage years but the relationships were with “Out of Towner’s’, ones I didn’t see too often, or could go to if I needed to escape the town.
I met someone though who had known since I was eighteen and he asked me if I wanted to go on a vacation. I felt I could trust him and we went. He talked of marriage, I became pregnant. We went on vacation in the July, we were married in September, (my mother complained about the cost of a registry wedding).I had my beautiful baby girl the following April. Two years later I had a baby boy, who I adored.
The marriage became very difficult, we argued constantly, he liked to control and I was struggling with it. I took the savings and left with my children. I lived on my own for two years. I met someone new who started as a friend and after a while he moved in with me. This didn’t work though as I was working three jobs to support us and he brought in nothing, he worked. He just didn’t want to contribute. Finally I gave him an ultimatum either help out or move out. He shook his head to both.
He constantly put me and my children down. He would tell me I was worthless. I remember telling him “Don’t worry one day I may just get to be as perfect as you!” but it was never ending and he would only stop if I was in tears.
With help from a friend I packed his bags and dropped them at his mother’s when he was away one weekend.
His was mad! He followed me, stalked me, call incessantly, leaving messages, my neighbours’ noticed and asked if they could help, but there was nothing they could do. He threatened me, he pushed his way into my home and held me kidnapped for three days, telling me he would kill me and my children, he tied me to a chair in my kitchen through the day with a knife saying only death would separate us. Finally on the Friday evening I promised to let him back into the house if he went out. It took me three hours to convince him I would, he finally left and I called my father, I couldn’t speak and collapsed while I was on the phone with him. He rushed around to see me like the trouper he was with brandy in hand, sat in a chair waiting for the guy to come back. He had sent me to bed, my father bless him sat in that chair all night in case he came back!
Three days later he did, by this time my local police knew him, I had called them several times when he came threatening me, They told me it was getting bad and wanted to arrest him, but I said what was the point? He’ll be back out the next day, but even angrier! The last straw came when he pushed a note through my door giving me a deadline, type written, stating that if I didn’t take him back by midnight the following night he was going to kill me at midnight. The police told me to leave the county for the weekend and they went and arrested him, also slapping a Restraining Order on him.
I was offered a job several miles away while this was happening, I accepted it, sold my house quietly, leaving the ‘For Sale” notice on it. I confided in my mother who told me that if I moved so far south she would take me to court to gain custody of my children, proclaiming Grandparents rights. I quickly realized not to confide in her again quickly! I packed my belongings quietly, I had told my children we would be leaving soon to live by the sea. The local police told me if I didn’t leave, I would be dead. I left my car outside the house, I rented a car, had my belongings packed onto a removal truck, which was seen by the guy passing, even though he wasn’t supposed to be any closer than a mile away. After I collected the rental car I ran home for overnight bags, set lights on timers, my children climbed into the car and I heard the phone ringing, it was my friend, he had called her to say he saw I was leaving and was going to get a shotgun for us. She screamed for me to get out and that I had fifteen minutes before he would be at my door. I left!
I moved to the south coast, my children were homesick and I was hanging on by a thread. My daughter said she wanted to live with her father, couldn’t blame her, poor thing! Four weeks after moving to the south coast, their father collected them, with an agreement I could see them whenever I wanted, but he always told me no when I tried to arrange it. I found out later my mother had told everyone I was a manic depressive, NOT TRUE!
I worked on the south coast of the UK for several years where I ran my own successful mortgage company before meeting my husband, who had also been in abusive relationship. We understand each perfectly, although I have a couple left over “kinks’ I still startle sometimes, I still have a problem with self-image, I feel uncomfortable around men who are taller than me if they come too close and I am 5’8! Sometimes, just sometimes when I’m in a stressful situation my mind will crash and go blank. But the best thing about me is that I am alive! I heal through humour. I want to say to people they are NOT alone like I was. There is support and help. I had one good friend and my local police that I confided in, but they meant the world to me! They were my safety and sanity.
Okay, so that’s who I am, I also like to ski, sit around my fire pit with my friends and good cognac. I love the beach and I want to travel around the world and do so many things that I can do, because I’m alive! As the song goes… ‘How d’ya like me now?” lol
One of the first things on my list though is to finish my book and advocate for people who are suffering and that is why you will see my posts about Rape Trauma Syndrome, Stalking, and Domestic Violence etc. It is not pretty and it’s not fluffy bunnies and rainbows, but it is real life for some, and if I can help just one person, then it will be worth everything! I am not a survivor and I am not a victim, I’m just Claire.
Thank you for bearing with this long post today! Blogging tips say keep it short and simple… Oh well guess I blew that today! ; )
In the next few days I will be posting about Rape Trauma Syndrome.