When I relive my past by telling my story to others, it doesn’t really shock me anymore. It’s not surprising when you take into consideration that I relive the trauma everyday in the form of PTSD flashbacks and nightmares. After a while, although it still bothers me, I have become numb to it. Although this isn’t the case for others when they hear my story, its understandably shocking, terrifying and brings many to tears. I’m writing this blog post today after I saw a heart-breaking story of a woman who jumped out of a first story window to escape her abuser. I read this story and it resonated with me. I could have been that woman; I was sat on the windowsill of my four-story apartment ready to fall to my death. Suicide was a sweet escape from the torture and violence I was experiencing day and night. People reading this woman’s story were shocked, and rightly so, but for me it wasn’t shocking. Of course what she went through was appalling, but hearing stories like this doesn’t surprise me. Having been through it I wish this were a rarity and that stories like this were a one-off occasion, but it just isn’t the case, and it fucking disgusts me. Before we go on I want to note that this may be a difficult for some to read. It’s a detailed account of some of the trauma I lived through and the known details from the police investigation into the woman’s abuse too. It may be triggering for some. It’s also vital to note that not all men are abusers and not all women are victims.
The link to the story is below, please do read it. This statement was published after her abuser, Curtis Thomas Peachment was convicted of False Imprisonment and Harassment. Man, 28, convicted of false imprisonment and harassment | Northamptonshire Police (northants.police.uk) This woman endured a horrendous ordeal after Curtis didn’t like what she was wearing. Let’s just address this for a moment. Her controlling abuser beat her which led to her jumping out of a first story window because he didn’t like her choice of clothing Let me be clear, this is not okay. Any man, or woman, can wear whatever they choose to. I don’t care if you think it’s inappropriate or you don’t like it. I don’t care if it upsets you or you think it’s not suitable for the occasion. The issue isn’t with the clothing. The issue is with that twisted mind set. The audacity to think you have that control over someone is bad enough, but to think it’s okay to hurt them because of your warped views is atrocious. This subject is so close to my heart because it’s something I had to live through for four years. My ex ‘M’ was the same. Although to begin with he was very subtle about it. It started with little comments such as ‘Oh, you’re wearing that?’ or ‘Are you sure you want to wear that?’ I never saw it as controlling, just his concern for me. With time it progressed into more obvious controlling behaviour. But by this time, I knew it wasn’t a good idea to question his authority or answer back. He would use excuses such as ‘Men will try it on with you if you wear that.’ or ‘You’re asking to be touched up wearing that.’ When I would rightly disagree and say that clothing isn’t the reason why women get attacked he would hit me.
As the months progressed his excuses evolved into commands. ‘You are not wearing that; you’ll wear this instead.’ I learned how he wanted me to look, what was okay and what wasn’t so I would dress exactly how he told me to, every day. On the rare occasion we would go out to a party or an event I wouldn’t ask if I could wear what I wanted. He would pick an outfit out for me and I wouldn’t question his choices. Usually I was well covered up, not a lot of tight clothing or skin showing. He told me men would try it on with me because of how pretty I was. He made it seem like he was doing me a favour and at first I believed it. He would also degrade me. Telling me I was ugly, fat, and that my scars were disgusting to look at. I was convinced by his lies that nobody else could ever love me, that he was the best thing to happen to me and I was lucky to be with him. It took time for me to realise what he was doing. It’s all part of Control and Coercion. At first they may come across as being caring or protective, even overly protective and you may let these things slide. But once you notice and understand what they’re doing you see how they use these excuses to control you. Personally, once I knew what he was doing, it put me in greater danger. Ignorance is bliss. By not realising what he was doing I had a blanket of security, by not questioning his authority I was safe from broken noses and black eyes. But once I was aware his behaviour was controlling and wasn’t to protect me I began to question it. Which would always end badly for me. Being quiet and doing as I was told was the safest and easiest option no matter how much I hated it. I knew what he was doing was wrong but keeping myself safe was more important than confronting him. Curtis Thomas continued his unnecessary outrage at his girlfriend by berating her for her choice of clothing. She chose to leave, walking away from someone like that is the sensible thing to do but he didn’t let her. He stopped her. He kept her in his house against her will. He attacked her repeatedly, so badly that she felt the need to lock herself in the bathroom. When she did this he got even angrier and tried to break in. When I read this part of the story it did trigger me a little bit. I lost count how many times I went to the bathroom to try and hide and protect myself. It was the only room with a lock on the door, so it felt like the safest room in the apartment. But it never was. He would always get in or he would scare me so much that I would unwillingly let him in. I knew his threats were real and not just scare tactics to entice me to open the door. I knew he would do everything he threatened and more. When he stabbed me I was in the bathroom, backed into the room with no escape. The room I once felt safe in suddenly felt like the most dangerous. Had I have ran to a bigger room, maybe I could have avoided being stabbed. Obviously ‘M’ not stabbing me in the first place would have been the best outcome in that situation. If I couldn’t get to the bathroom to lock myself away from danger, I’d usually be cowering in the corner of a room. Protecting myself the best I could. I would always sit on the floor with my back to the wall or facing the door to see if he were there. It’s something I still do now. If I’m in a stressful situation or I find myself scared, having my back to a wall gives me a sense of safety. So does being able to see the door when I’m trying to get to sleep. I think these little things will always stay with me. It was a huge part of my survival so it’s understandable why they are so helpful to me, even now. Curtis Thomas scared his girlfriend so much that she felt the safest thing for her to do was to jump out of a first story window. Let that sink in. She felt safer jumping out of a window than being in a house with him. When she was on the ground, although she did scream at him not to touch her, he picked her up regardless and took her back in the house. An ambulance was called shortly after. Imagine how terrifying that was for her. She was fearing for her life, and then after she tried to escape, she got taken back into his house where she was locked in against her will and was being attacked just moments before. Imagine what was going through her mind, she probably thought he was going to kill her. Goodness knows what he could do. The woman suffered fractured vertebrae, a cut to the back of her head, bruising to her eye and a swollen lip. These are horrific injuries but I’m glad they weren’t more serious; this woman could have been killed by Curtis.
When I read this part of the story about the woman jumping out of the window, it evoked many emotions. I could have been this woman. My apartment with ‘M’ was on the fourth floor. After being locked in a room and chained to a radiator for days, my only option once I was finally free was to jump out of the window. Not with the intention of escaping, but of killing myself. I was at peace with the idea, I was relieved when I was sat on the ledge with tears rolling down my cheeks. Just as Curtis did with this woman, ‘M’ took me back inside. He pulled me in from the ledge. I was furious. I had so much hatred for him, this man had taken everything from me. All he had to do was let me fall. I remember questioning why he couldn’t let me fall, he had caused so much physical and mental harm, what difference would it make to his life if I killed myself?
Looking back now I’m grateful he stopped me. If I had died I would never be able to tell my story. I wouldn’t have been able to inspire others to bravely come forward and share theirs. I wouldn’t be able to campaign for change and push for serious action to be taken against abusers. When I think of this blog and everyone it helps, I think of all the pain and suffering he caused me, and I realise it was all worth it. Weirdly enough I wouldn’t change my past if I could. It made me a strong woman with little tolerance for bullshit, so for that I guess I owe him thanks. I can confidently say that although my physical injuries were bad and at many times life threatening, the mental harm he caused me was the worst. I can’t speak for this woman or any other survivors of domestic violence, but broken bones heal and bruises fade, cuts turn into scars and scars turn into stories. But the psychological damage which is left by this kind of trauma is so severe, it stays with you for life. It’s haunting and if not managed it controls your life, just like your abuser once did. Curtis Thomas Peachment will be sentenced on June 14th, 2021 after pleading guilty to harassment and being found guilty of false imprisonment by a jury. I have so much respect for this woman, being brave enough to come forward and go through the emotional pain of the police investigation and court process. Please, if you’re in a similar situation or have been previously, reach out for help. You do matter, and you will be believed. I can be contacted at firstname.lastname@example.org or on any of my social media platforms for anyone who needs to reach out.