I have started to type this then delete it over and over again, not sure if it was the right thing to do or not. My life up until 2004 was, how can I put it, difficult, living a life that was a lie. At the time I was married, had a young son, the mortgage and a foster parent. Like I said my life was a lie, I was hiding a secret that was making me miserable. If you hadn’t guessed, I was gay and trapped in a life that was not me. In June 2004 I met a man that would change my life in so many ways and not in a good way.
That year I met this man and we were both married and had children. We met in a local park and chatted for hours and after that first meeting there was a connection between this guy and myself. After 4 weeks of meeting everyday stealing time after work to meet, we left our wives and moved in together. I was happy and felt that for the first time in my life things felt right. However, I couldn’t have been more wrong. This guy was so charming and everyone loved him including my family, in fact they welcomed him with open arms.
We had been living together for around 4 months when he raped me for the first time. The first time it happened while I was asleep, I woke up to him having sex with me and I told him no and pushed him off. The following morning I told him that if he ever did it again I would go to the police, and he made out that he found me irresistible and couldn’t keep his hands off me. Looking back I think I should have left then but he charmed his way out of it and made me believe what he was saying even though everything inside me was telling me to run.
I was strong and fiercely independent back then, but his charm won me over. Over the coming months he changed and started to tell me what I could and couldn’t do, who I could and couldn’t see. Over a 6-8 month period I had gone from being fiercely independent to letting this controlling man control my life. I had lost friends and become isolated and dependent on him.
It was almost a year to the day that he raped me again but this time it was worse. Again I was asleep and woke up to him penetrating me, but when I tried to move and get him off me he put his elbow between my shoulder blades and pushed down with his body weight. The pain in my back was so severe that I just froze, I remember it as if it was yesterday, and pleaded for him to stop, saying no over and over again. I remember his exact words “you are going to let me finish” and those words have haunted me since. Once he had finished I laid in the same position and cried, just too afraid to move. The following morning he acted as if nothing had happened, and when I said to him what he had done was wrong, he told me I had made him do that and that no one would ever believe me if I said anything. He had taken all my self confidence, I felt that I had nowhere to go or no one to talk to. After a while, he noticed that I had become withdrawn and my family were asking questions, so he brought me an expensive gift and told me that he was sorry and that it would never happen again. Like the fool that I had become I stayed even though every part of me was telling me to run, but he had got inside my head.
Over the coming months he was nice and made me feel special and that things had changed. Then I was home late one evening, that was the first time he got physically violent towards me, he grabbed my arm so hard that he left bruises of where his fingers where. At the time I was working as a chef and could pass the bruises off as banging my arms at work etc. The physical assaults were easier to deal with and take as strange as that might sound. The sexual assaults, rapes and the emotional abuse I suffered at the hands of that man have lasted to this very day.
The biggest mistake I made was entering into a civil partnership with this man, he had made me believe that no one else would ever want me, love me or even like me. Over the years the abuse got worse and I became more isolated to the point where I would only go out if he allowed me. The rapes and sexual assaults become a regular part of life along with the physical and emotional abuse.
He left me in July 2017 and my world fell apart and all the things he had told me over the years all seemed true. He had told me for years that I was useless as a person and parent and that I would never cope without him. In the coming weeks life was difficult, I believed him in that no one would want me and not as a partner but as a son, brother and more importantly as a Dad. It was the the second week of August 2017, it was the week my son turned 16 on the Friday, but on the Tuesday of that week I planned on taking my life after work that day. I had everything in my car to end my life, but for the grace of god a work mate noticed I wasn’t my self and she just asked if I was OK, and at that point I broke down, well in fact I crumbled in front of her and told her that I wanted to end my life. So to cut a long part of the story short she took me to the doctors and I met with the crisis team, was given medication and celebrated my son’s 16th birthday.
The problem was I still hadn’t spoken about the abuse that I had suffered at the hands of – and the only way I can describe him is – my now evil ex husband. The medication that I was given made me feel numb all the time so I decided to stop taking them and not tell my doctor, again another bad mistake. The rest of 2017 saw more massive changes in my life; I was promoted at work to a job that I had wanted for so long but never applied for as he wouldn’t liked it. It was in this period of getting a promotion and having my final 1-2-1 with my manager before starting in the new role, that he asked me some questions about my vile ex husband. As I was answering he just said to me, “do you realise that you were abused?” I knew that I had but felt so ashamed. I need to make it clear that I hadn’t admitted or said to anyone at this point that I had been raped and sexually assaulted.
Over the coming months Christmas came and went, I had started my dream job and was enjoying it. It was March 2018 and a friend of the family who had visited my mum while I was there and had always been a practical joker, made a joke and bear hugged me from behind. I freaked out is an understatement, I hid in my mum’s bedroom with fear. I had to open up to mum at this point as I could not hide or laugh off my reaction. I only told my mum that he had done things to me, she had no idea on what had been happening for all those years, I just couldn’t say the words to her. I left my mum and drove for hours crying the whole time. I knew that I needed to speak to someone, I took the step and called the local rape unit, they booked me in and I took my mum with me. This was the first time my mum heard all the details, to this day I still question if it was a good idea for her to be there.
Since making that first informal statement I have had to deal with the emotions that have come with facing up to what happened. I still don’t feel ready to make a formal statement to the police, but actually writing this and posting this is a big step for me. I have decided to write this not for sympathy or anything like that, but because it’s part of my journey to being and staying a survivor. I refuse to let him make me a victim, I have survived him and refuse to let him destroy my life any further. I am at the start of my journey of survival and I just hope that me being able to share some of my experience may help some one else.