In the eyes of the law, my abuse didn’t happen… TW

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How do you deal with a not guilty verdict? You go through the hell of the abuse, the hell of reporting the hell of going to court…..and for what?

I was prepared for a not guilty verdict, I was constantly being told how hard it is to prove historical rape and sexual abuse within a relationship. Still very much believed that rape only happens in a dark alleyway by a stranger and the victim goes straight to the police thus preserving DNA …

Expect questions like:
How come you were able to say no sometimes and not at all times when you didn’t want sex?
Why did you take so long to report?
Why didn’t you do more to stop it?

Cross examination by a defence barrister is not dissimilar to one of those verbal batterings you get from an abusive partner. They confuse you, make you doubt your own testimony, twist the argument so you’re having to defend yourself when you’ve done nothing wrong. I felt like I’d been ripped to pieces after I had given my evidence.

I really do empathise with anyone who decides they’d rather not report their rape. It is such a personal choice. I took the risk to report and I would again. I concluded that I couldn’t live the rest of my life knowing that I hadn’t tried to get justice. I now have to live with failing to get justice.

The police believed me, victim support believed me, my IDVA believed me, witness care and services believed me, the CPS believed me, my counsel believed me ….. The jury did not, although I do get some comfort that it wasn’t a unanimous verdict. I was told that a guilty verdict was ‘the icing on the cake’ , I disagree.

I was repeatedly raped and sexually abused by ex and yet he is walking free. Walking free to do it again. I have to find a way to live with that fact and not let it destroy me. I have to accept he was found not guilty even though the abuse was very real. I’m not sure how to do that.

My suffering, my testimony, my abuse has all been erased by the jury finding him not guilty. I’m left in a terrible limbo land but somehow I need to find that little grain of sparkle in my soul that I can grab hold of and keep going.

#whyIstayed #whyIwent

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Anyone that knows anything about domestic abuse will recognise that the reason someone stays is infinitely complex. I appreciate that this # has done the rounds on Twitter but I had to be careful of what I was tweeting at that time.

For ease of writing, I’ll put my reasons into a list. The order is purely based on what I put first as opposed to based on importance.

#whyIstayed

Nowhere else to go.

The hope it would get better.

Not wanting to be a single parent again.

Fear of what might happen if I left.

How would I cope alone?

The shame of people knowing my marriage had broken down.

Fear in general. Would he kill me?

That maybe it was all in my head.

Being so dependent on this person that leaving was not an option.

Had nothing left and summoning the strength to leave was almost impossible.

The notion that families stick together through thick and thin and we got married in the eyes of god – this was drummed into me.

That it would be me saying I had failed.

#whyIleft

I left several times before I finally left.

I didn’t love him.

A charity helped me. They have me strength and showed me that I wasn’t going mad.

His abuse was getting worse and darker in nature.

I found a little diamond of strength in my soul that said ‘enough now, this ends’.

He was arrested but released without charge – forcing me into a dangerous situation where my only option was to get myself and the kids out.

It was emotionally killing me and I couldn’t take anymore.

I had lost my identity and craved for it back.

I wanted a better life for my children, even if it has meant putting them in temp accommodation and me relying on benefits.

The desire to be in charge of my own life and my own body.

And I have to say, I have never missed him or felt broken hearted. There has been no sense of shame, in fact I felt empowered. It took my over four years to leave so I’m not trying to be smug here. Many women can’t leave and the Government has done a good job of making it virtually impossible for them now. This is why refuges are so important. I had family to help me, not everyone does.

If you are thinking about leaving, keep safe. It is a very dangerous time. Seek out help from specialist agencies but do so in a way that he cannot find out. Use someone else’s phone or computer etc

Life on the other side of abuse isn’t easy, it can be quite lonely and people don’t understand what you have gone through. I was stalked for a while too. It’s worth it though, worth it for the freedom and the release from worry. Utilise any services you can to make yourself safe and rebuild your life.

I’m with you, I’m here for you.
Take care
Love Exxx

I am the Phoenix

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First draft

I am the Phoenix
I am the eternal fire
With my flame red hair
And my caustic tongue
I will rise again
Over and over
And come back every time stronger
Burning a path before me
I’ll leave nothing but ashes
As I’m all out of goodness
So I offer no sanctuary
For I am the goddess
And you, you
You are nothing

My crochet Part 1

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Just thought I’d share some of my crochet with you. I’m no expert or artisan. I do it because I enjoy the creative experience – you may be able to buy ready made stuff cheaper (and better made!) but that’s not the point.

The process of turning a strand of yarn into a blanket, a toy, a bag, is truly magical. I cherish this skill. There are many things in life that I can’t do but this is something that I can hold to my heart and be proud of.

I can tell you now that when people use the #crochettherapy … They really mean it. Doing crochet is an act of mindfulness, a bit like going climbing, you are in the moment and you have to concentrate on what you are doing. Crochet gives me a brief respite from all the shite that bubbles around in my brain.

Love, tea, hugs and many balls of yarn
Exxx IMG_3246.JPG

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I am a stoner

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A kidney stoner ….. Although I may have been stoned once or twice during my life ….

I’m not really sure why I’m blogging about this but thought it might be of use to someone out there.

I’ve spent the last year or more getting urine infections, lower back pain, kidney pain …… Didn’t really think much of or it other than ‘argh…another fucking UTI’. Then a couple of months ago I had the most debilitating pain in my left side that caused me to crumple in a heap in the bathroom. I tweeted about this, naturally.

As quick as the pain came, it went. I though nothing more of it. A couple of weeks later I was sat watching DIY SOS, I had a cup of tea and a cake on the go, son was next to me (headphones on) playing some strategy game…… Life was perfection…. Ok, maybe it wasn’t and the TV that night was awful as it always is. Then BOOM! I think a train may have crashed into left abdomen. Somehow managed to crawl out of the room and collapse in the dining room.

Son oblivious to my screams, I inched off the dining room carpet, as the practical person in me knew it would be a good idea to puke on the kitchen Lino – not the carpet. I phoned 999 and was told to wait an hour for a paramedic to call me back! I phoned my mum …. She turned up and phoned 999… Same answer. Paramedic calls and tells me to wait another hour for a duty doctor. Meanwhile, I’m in so much pain, I’m considering ripping out my innards with my own hands. I cannot tell you how painful it was but to quote a cliche ‘worse than childbirth’ and I should know as the last two births I went through, the midwife took my gas and air …. Screaming in pain to the paramedic didn’t speed up the process so my dad took me to the hospital.

After 8 hours of waiting and tests I was admitted to hospital and discharged the next day being told it was a 5mm kidney stone but it’s probably gone. Needless to say I was pleased I was having a laparoscopy the next day ….. That took me a week to get over and life seemed ok again.

Two days later, kids out for the day, me looking forward to my friend’s hen do …. I get into bed with my breakfast and cuddle my cat and then ‘argh!!!!’. Here we go again. Crawl down the stairs and start punching the floor to help with the pain …. Just so you know, it doesn’t help with the pain but is an interesting distraction. Phone urgent GP care …. Nothing . Phone 111…. In between screams and vomiting I managed to tell them who I was etc to be met by ‘I don’t think you need an ambulance…… Then please shoot me…. Ok ……. I’m sending some paramedics’ ……

Paramedics arrive and seem rather non plussed by agony. At one point one of the paramedics insisted on asking me a string of questions whilst I was puking up my breakfast. Good citizen that I am, I answered all his questions in between heaves.

After much deliberation of what to do with me (walk in Center?!?!?!) a doctor told them to take me to A&E …. Praises be! Yay! Access to wonderful painkillers and IV fluids – bliss. Sort of.

Anyways, CT scan showed my kidney stone had moved but was stuck. Nil by mouth then ….. Monday they let me eat …. Tuesday ‘you’re going home’ er no actually nil by mouth again for surgery later ….. Collapse in bathroom after my nurse went AWOL …. Ok no surgery today you could have eaten (argh) ….. Surgery Wednesday so nil by mouth again ‘yay’ ……

So I had surgery, for the second time in two weeks!, and the bloody stone didn’t want to come out so they fitted a stent. Beyond uncomfortable so I had a night of oral morph and codeine which is probably a story for another day ….. It was rough.

So there we go…. The joys of a kidney stone. I’ve been told I need to drink more … Having lived most of life in a dehydrated haze ….. 3l apparently … Never going to happen!

The moral of the story is… Don’t get a kidney stone, they hurt like hell and cause all sorts of problems. Drink more …… Don’t bother phoning 999 if you have a pain worse than child birth, just get someone to drop you off on the floor of the hospital. Oral morph ain’t that great …. And collapsing in the ward bathroom is a good way if getting the staff to remind them hat you still exist – even if you didn’t actually mean to collapse.

Love, tea (been told to cut down … Never !!!) and hugs
Exxx
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Am I a real woman?

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Motherhood or not. Big curves or not. Work or not …..

I feel I need to write about the constantly changing tick list that women are being judged on. I’m sure that many high profile feminists have written about it countless times and probably more eloquently but this is my blog, so there! 😉

Motherhood

Choose to have a child then you are seen as creating an unwanted drain on the Earth’s resources. You get frowned at in public places, tutted at when your child has a tantrum and told you no longer have your own life – you’re just a mum now. Have more than two children and you are selfish, slutty, uneducated and generally an all round awful woman, sorry, I mean mother as you are no longer a woman. If you stay at home then may the powers that be forever help you because you may as well be dead to society, actually, they’ll value you more if you’re dead!

Choose not to have children then you are an ice queen, selfish and somehow devoid of womanliness. How can you not want children?! You will be constantly asked as to when you will have children and reminded that your clock is ticking.

This is how we treat women on a daily basis over their personal life choices. Have kids, don’t have kids, work, stay at home ….. Do whatever suits your lifestyle. It saddens me to say this but women also need to respect other women’s choices. You don’t want children? Fine, but don’t look down your nose at someone who has 3 …..

Real women

How many times has someone posted a photo of Marilyn Monroe with the statement about her curves and how she is a ‘real woman’ – as opposed to a fake one I guess. Being a size 8/10 and flat chested and no hips ….. I must be a fake woman. I don’t wear makeup or heels either. Can’t we all be real women? I’m not going to venture down the gender identity path here btw! Women come in all shapes and sizes …. Big, little, round, skinny, hairy, smooth.. You get the idea. Stop the body shaming! Concentrate on loving your own body shape, it’s you that lives that body every day, not the haters.

I really struggle with my body shape and I really struggle with being a single parent with three children because I just want to feel acceptable to society. Slowly, slowly I am disowning the negative thoughts and comments and have taken a step to the left of the well trodden path.

I’m going to be ok. I’m going to do this on my own. I’m going to start again.

Love, tea and hugs
Exxx