A girl’s pride is in a man’s house.
“My daughter lives with him, even though she’s seen him hit me. It makes me so sad.”
Several months had passed before I decided to report the last time. I had five fractures to my face. The injuries had healed but I’ve got pictures which I took myself on my mobile phone. I sent them to my friend so he wouldn’t find them. The photographs, together with the medical certificate, were enough.
We’ve been living together on and off for more than eleven years. He’s always come and gone, I’ve never really known what his plans were. I’ve got grown up children from a previous relationship but we have an eleven-year-old daughter together. She lives with him now. She’s always missed him and now she says she doesn’t want to lose him, even though she’s seen him hit me. It makes me so sad.
No-one else can believe that he is so violent.
Perhaps you’re wondering why I let him come back after the first convictions. The reason was quite simply that it felt less dangerous to have him nearby than to always be afraid that he would just turn up. He’s appealed against the prison sentence so it will be a while before he’s behind bars, if he does actually go inside. He’s very manipulative. No-one else can believe that he is so violent. I’m afraid of him, of course I am. I always keep my door locked and sometimes when I think my car sounds strange I think he’s been here and done something to it. If I see an estate car, the kind of car he has, I’m always scared. It doesn’t matter if I tell my story to you or not. If he wants to harm me he will, whatever I do. But I don’t feel any guilt any longer. What happened is not my fault.
I’m glad I’ve got my plaintiff’s counsel, Susanne. She has the knowledge I don’t have, and she knows her way around the system. She discovered I wasn’t divorced, although he’d said he’d handed in the papers. When Susanne writes to him he does as she says. But he has no respect for me.
Maternal deaths: 5 deaths per 100,000 births
Number of children/woman: 1.67 (2011)
Abortion legislation: Right to abortion up to the end of the 18th week of pregnancy
Law against rape within marriage: Yes
Violence against women in close relationships: On average 17 women are killed each year by their husband, boyfriend, ex-husband or ex-boyfriend.