The Canadian Women’s Foundation states that an Angus Reid Omnibus Survey reports “67 per cent of all Canadians say they personally know at least one woman who has been sexually or physically assaulted.” This is a personal account of domestic abuse from an anonymous contributor.
“Where are you? I am waiting for you to come home and serve me the dinner, bitch!”—my “loving” husband, Marc* sent me the text at 7:09 p.m. I am on my way home. I reach home at 7:22 p.m. At 8:34 p.m., I find myself lying on the floor in my room, beaten and battered.
This is my story. It’s been two years that I have been married now. Two years of my constant struggle with my own existence.
I got married while I was still in high school. My parents divorced when I was seven. My siblings and I spent two weeks with each one of them alternatively and it went on like this for seven years. When I turned 15, I moved out to stay with a friend. My father supported me financially for a year and then he moved to the States and I never saw him again. My mother never wanted to do anything with her kids. She remarried and spent her days smoking, drinking, and having sex. I met my husband while I was in high school. He was 20 then, and worked as a mechanic at an auto shop nearby. He approached me and after dating for a year and a half, we decided to get married.
Our wedding was a small affair that took place in his uncle’s house. Just a handful of friends and his mother were a part of it. I felt as if I was now going to have a fairytale marriage. Like Cinderella, I would start a new phase of life. But my dreams shattered soon after when Marc beat me for the first time—five days after our wedding. He apologized to me many times and I forgave him. I pretended it never happened. I let it go because I didn’t want to accept it myself.
I joined college part-time soon after. On Saturdays, I went to painting classes. I’ve always loved painting, drawing portraits and landscapes. While I was dating Marc, I painted couples, married couples, houses with children playing in the backyard, and a mother with a baby in her arms. Over time, things went bad when Marc lost his job due to his excessive drinking and irresponsible behaviour. I became the sole breadwinner of my family.
I took a semester off from college to find another job. I started working 60 hours a week. He sat at home, watching TV and drinking beer. One day I came home a bit later than I usually did, and he asked me why I was late. I didn’t reply as he was quite drunk, but he grabbed my hand, pulled me towards him, and punched me in the face. Ever since then, the beatings never stopped.
Sex became rape after we got married—that’s probably how he loved me. I’m used to it now, because I have no one else to turn to who loves me. When I was pregnant for the first time, I was glad that I would finally have someone to love, but before this thought could make me any happier I had my miscarriage. I think the miscarriage was caused by depression and beatings. I get scared now just by the thought of conceiving again.
Marc loves me. He takes away my cellphone as soon as I enter the house. He loves me. He doesn’t let me watch the TV. He loves me. He doesn’t allow me to go and meet any of my friends. He loves me—and he probably hates me.
I go to the painting classes every Friday now. Saturdays I have household chores to do. Marc says that is my duty. I go to the classes and sit down looking at the blank canvas for hours. I look at the canvas but I don’t have any colour of emotion—of joy and happiness. I painted it black once but it still didn’t work. I always perceived the canvas to be my life; I drew paintings of dreams with colours of love. Now there is no love, no dream, and hence, no painting. I still go to these classes. It gives me an excuse to have some time for myself. I seek that time because I want to fall in love with myself again. I want to find the lost girl in me who loved chocolates, reading, and singing. I want to find my undamaged soul, my untouched conscience, and my never-shaking trust in me. I want to discover the lost self-respect. I want to discover me.
I don’t seek equality or respect anymore. I know he just comes back home from work, gets drunk, beats me up, and sleeps. It repeats every single day. I don’t know what’s going to change my situation. Perhaps hope or this piece of writing. I never thought of writing my story before, but I don’t think it will make a difference. Maybe no one will read it. But I will read it. I will read it to make sure that I knew what went wrong with me. Maybe everyone will criticize me for staying with such a person. I tried contacting the police, but I always got negligible responses, and I know that I love Marc. I love him truly though he may never love or care for me again.
Many times I feel that I might have a complete nervous breakdown. Sometimes I cry in my bed the whole night. Sometimes I just stand below the shower for an hour or so, and sometimes I don’t eat for days. I can’t express how I feel but I do feel like I’m being killed every second. I don’t want the world to know my story, but I want to scream and shout that I am not a nobody. There are many girls like me out there who are not loved the way they want. I don’t want anyone else to fall prey to a miserable life like that of mine. I am not a social worker who wants to help everyone, but I want people to know that such a parallel world exists. Your sisters, friends, neighbours, and educators—anyone could be suffering. My blank canvas may never be full of vibrant colours but it will never be dark again.
*Name changed to protect identity
Editor’s note: Domestic violence is a serious issue experienced by far too many people, and it can be scary to speak up and seek help. If you or someone you know needs help, you are not alone. Please see below for a list of resources.
– Personal counselling at Douglas College: the college offers personal counselling to students, and counsellors can either provide you with assistance or direct you to people who can better help you.
Counselling at New Westminster Campus: Room 4600, Monday to Friday 8:30 a.m. to 4:30 p.m. Call 604-527-5486 to book an appointment.
Counselling at Coquitlam Campus: Room A1050, Monday to Friday 8:30 a.m. to 4:30 p.m. Call 604-777-6185 to book an appointment.
– VictimLink BC: VictimLink BC is among the sources listed by Domestic Violence BC. According to Domestic Violence BC, “Victim service workers offer information and referral services to all victims of crime and immediate crisis support to victims of family and sexual violence. VictimLink BC is available in more than 100 languages including North American aboriginal languages.
See website at www.victimlinkbc.ca, call 1-800-563-0808, or email at VictimLinkBC@bc211.ca.
For a list of more specific resources—including community programs, government and police services, resources for children and youth, seniors, and men—go to domesticviolencebc.ca and navigate to “Where to Get Help?”