Domestic Abuse: It’s Not Always As Seen On TV
Domestic abuse doesn’t always fit the media stereotype. Here, Taz Thornton relives some of her own experiences, with the aim of encouraging others to seek help and to show there’s always hope.
I REMEMBER the weight, pushing me down. I remember the pillow on my face — no longer a comfortable support, but suffocating and rough. Above all else, I remember the voice coming from above me, behind me, telling me the more I struggled, the worse my ordeal would become.
I remember the tears and shame I felt afterwards, and I remember my assailant chastising me for the sobs that would keep him awake. Didn’t I know he had to work the next day?
There would be no sweet words that night. No comfort. None of the trappings anyone would have expected from a relationship that, to the outside world, appeared to be loving and supportive.
The next morning, after he’d disappeared, I would strip the bed to get rid of the blood stains — not huge, but enough to remind me of the weak, abused chattel I’d become — and make sure the signs were all cleared away by the time he came home.
And then? Then, I’d clean myself up, perhaps use a cold compress to take down the puffiness from my tear-stained face, apply my make up and go to work.
Work. Where I was in charge of my own team. Where nobody knew how much I believed I was letting myself down, how tiny I felt behind my mask, and what a mixed up, debilitating relationship I went home to every night.
Colleagues would sometimes laugh at me if I left a function early — how amusing my ‘curfew’ was; they didn’t realise how much truth was behind their humour, how much I’d already had to steel myself to even mention a simple office event in the first place, or how much I was risking merely by showing up.
Each payday, I’d turn my money straight over and be given a weekly shopping allowance — a large chunk of which had to be spent on his lottery numbers (not mine — I wasn’t afforded that luxury) — leaving me precious little to actually fulfil the most basic shopping list.