I refuse to make apologies, I refuse to be reasonable, I refuse to put caveats before anything I might write on this subject. Marriage is murder. The relationship between men and women is so unequal physically, socially, legally, that to endeavour to merge worlds, to enter into such a contract is just begging for trouble. I hear the cheap seats shout out to me that their marriages are very happy, their relationships good, the dreaded “not all men are like that” gets slung my way.
Let me make this clear: I do not hate men. I don’t even dislike them. I adore my son in every way possible. I also believe he has the potential to be a good and decent partner to any future romantic interests he might develop. The risk, the unacceptable gamble every woman takes when she forms an attachment to a man, is that he will kill her, destroy her, stomp on not just her dreams, but her physical being, and she will have no recourse to defend herself. I cant be bothered to defend my words with stats and graphs and proof. We all know this to be true, just like we all know what a woman actually is, and what a man is. We know this like we know snow is cold and fire burns. We know this like the sun rising in the east and setting in the west. We, as human beings, know this as intrinsically as we know ourselves.
I drew the short straw. I formed an attachment to a man, I entered into a marriage with him, I had his babies, and I was abused. Held hostage by my motherly instincts, by my legal ties, by the international law and the laws of the countries I resided in with him. I was not permitted to leave. The ins and outs of international marriage breakdown where children are involved, I really do not want to get into right now. Suffice to say, there was no recourse to the law for me, it protected my husband. There was no safety net of police defending me, they apologized to him for bothering him, and left him be to continue to beat me. I was beaten black and blue, hit with chairs, fists, cups, glasses, windows shattered around me. I was kicked and thrown and strangled and I never received recognition of my suffering. In fact I was demonized for being beaten. What did I do to trigger this, I was asked by people. Why, why did he do this? Ild always stare ’em straight in the eye and reply, and answer, that I simply did not know. I did not care to know. That I never once hit him, or threatened him, or waved weapons at him, like he did to me, I never once retaliated with anything other than words, and as the years of marital forced sex, and violence from him towards me, wound on, I stopped retaliating with those too.
I came to the knowledge quite early on that the best way to survive with the minimum possible damage is to play dead, to go limp, to say no, to request they please stop, as quietly as possible, then to shut the fuck up. Not to challenge, not to struggle, not to fight back, not to escalate. To give up my very personhood, my dignity, my body, my pain, so that I might survive, and I might not be killed.
It always worried me that he would kill me in one of his blank eyed, violent fits of meaningless dumb psychotic rage, and that with me dead, he would find the children and kill them too.
Trapped by the Hague Convention, failed by the police, the law, my family, I had no option, but to try and tough it out, until something, anything opened up a path out of there, alive and together. So that is what I did.
I remember one day he was particularly on edge, his nostrils flaring, eyes wild, like a trapped horse, silent, always dangerously silent. He had a problem where the more silent he was, the more dangerous and violent he had the propensity to be. This particular Saturday he had been particularly silent. I called his father, encouraged him to invite his friends over to the apartment to have some supper with us. I tried to fill the house with other people. He sat there silently raging for some unknown reason, full to the brim with anger bubbling over into action. A cup slammed down, a door shut too hard, treating me as if I was a ghost in my own home, walking right through me. I held my small children close to me, one on each side, gently talking to them trying to smile at them to encourage them to stay quiet and stay away. I brought out paper and pencils, turned on the Disney Channel so they had something to watch, bought them soda and cookies to nibble on. Anything so they would be unlikely to trigger his dangerous temper tantrums.
In the end it was my action that set off his hair trigger. A monkey strode across the screen walking a bulldog, one of the local shows, sick in their exploitation of animals, but nevertheless amusing in a car crash kinda way. He insisted on putting it on, taking Phinneas and Ferb off the tv screen with their inane jovial blandness. I laughed, giggled perhaps. Trying to distract the restless children, I said something quietly to them about the funny monkey on TV, who was by now paying for a train ticket with a few coins and hauling the dog through the ticket gates.
That was enough. He launched at me screaming that I had called him a monkey. His father and two male friends stood there silently gaping, one of them attempted to reason with him that I in fact had done no such thing. It was too late. The pig had smashed the wooden deckchair style chair I was sitting on, underneath me, and started to beat with a piece of the wood. He tore the legs off my jeans, and then what was left of them off my body, hauling at my legs with his big ugly hams of hands. He had hit my head quite hard, my nose was bleeding, and by now, I was only vaguely aware that the three other men were struggling to pull him off me. They succeeded, one of them took him out the house to go for a drink. His father uselessly embarrassed, tried to drape the shreds of my clothes back onto my body. “Get dressed” he said. “Go change”. My children had run to the bedroom like I had always told them to do, and barricaded themselves in the room. I ran to them, grabbed some clothes (I barely had any clothes anyway), and realized how badly swollen and bruised my legs were. I was purple from my toes to my hips, my ribs, my head, everything black, and blue and purple and bruised. My nose was bleeding, my jaw hurt. My head was spinning fuzzily. There was no question about taking me to get medical help, that was not going to happen, like it had never happened in the past. He held my insurance card, if I wanted a hospital I had to ask him for card and the excess fee that they required for treatment. It was only thirty percent, and generally about the equivalent of a hundred bucks, but I never had access to any money, either.
I went and poured myself a drink.
This was my life.
He was a professional man, in every other way, absolutely boringly normal. Went to work in a suit, worked long hours, was well liked, had friends, and earnt a good wage. We were modestly well off. I was never given access to any bank accounts, never provided with a bank card, or a credit card. Never allowed to work. I had to subsist on whatever cash he would leave in the mornings on the breakfast bar. Formula had to be purchased with blow jobs, shoes by sleeping with him. I was a slave. Nothing more, nothing less. I was not free to go. I was not free to leave. I had to clean his house, take care of the children, cook his food, which I would not be allowed to eat, and keep his bed warm. If I failed to do any of these to his utmost satisfaction, I would be beaten. Sometimes, even if I performed my wifely duties perfectly, I would still be beaten.
The abuse started when I was pregnant with our first baby, a planned pregnancy, already married, we were both happy to move forward in life, but he started to take all his frustrations out on me. My life turned into a daily quest for survival.
Marriage is murder. Marry the wrong man, make the wrong alliance, and it can be lethal. No one could ever have guessed the Pig would have turned into this kind of monster. I’m not unintelligent, not an absolute drooling idiot, but I had no idea, until I was under his absolute control, that I was in for decades of hell.
I escaped. Many don’t. I read family annihilation after murder, after murder, year in year out, thanking my lucky stars that I got out. There but for the grace of God, go I. The daily abuse, gaslighting, violence and fear made my escape something I relished and enjoyed, despite the deprivations of the road and the journey.
I’m still running. I don’t think I’ll ever be safe enough to stop. But at least I’m running free.