Her Story – Feature 5

This was my daughter’s second marriage. She kept telling me that no one was going to take advantage of her, she planned on not making the same mistakes a second time. Communication was key, being honest about her feelings was also important. Everything was perfect and it was only going to get better…That’s what we all thought.

The courtship was like a whirlwind. But whenever I said something she’d say “ma, when you know you love someone you just know. It sometimes take a day or a year, but I’m sure and I just want to start my life”. Her dad and I were so happy for her.

He was so wonderful to her at first, and it took a long time before we noticed that things were different. She was different…he was different with her. We noticed that certain things stopped…he used to open her doors for her and allow her to go first. We noticed that one day he opened a door, walked in and let go of the door almost hitting her with it and didn’t even apologize. We noticed that he sat in the last available chair and told her she can stand because she’d burn calories standing, even though she was seven and a half months pregnant. We noticed that after our grandchild was born they didn’t come around much, and when we called she was either too busy to talk or would start talking and then have to quickly rush off the phone because he was coming. I noticed that when I bumped into her at the grocery store, she was wearing these rather large dark glasses inside the store…she was very quick to tell me that it was the latest fashion, but I noticed some bruising. I asked how thing were and she said couldn’t be better. She was also wearing a long sleeved sweater in the store and it was the middle of summer. Her explanation was that sometimes the store is very cold.

On the rare occasion when they visited, she no longer hung out with all the other female family members and she also didn’t talk very much. She was always attentive to him, making sure he had another beer before the one he was drinking finished and keeping their daughter quiet and away from him. He, on the other hand had lots of stories to tell, and most times kept talking constantly not allowing anyone else to get a word in. Conversations were usually about him and how amazing he was, and all the wonderful things they’ve been doing as a family why they weren’t able to visit regularly anymore.

On another visit we noticed that she was limping and that there was a very large bruise that she couldn’t cover up properly. This time I wanted to know what happened because the daughter I know was not accident prone and she seemed to be having a lot of accidents. Accidents like – she hit her head on the cupboard door, or accidentally spilling boiling water all over her hand, or accidentally resting her hand on the hot burner…then there was the broken finger, broken nose, broken ribs…all these accidents just seemed like a lot for someone who is very athletic…I wanted to know what was happening and I wasn’t going to be brushed off this time.

I followed her when she went to change our granddaughter’s diaper and closed and locked the bedroom door. She seemed very anxious and kept looking at the door, but wouldn’t answer my questions about what was going on to cause all these accidents. She kept repeating that she had to go…he may need another drink and wonder where she was. I told her we wanted to help if something was wrong, but she had to tell us so we’d know what to do. Eventually she told me there was nothing we could do…it was too late. I told her she could come home…there was plenty of room for her and our grandchild…she kept insisting that I didn’t understand. Eventually she told me that he told her that if she spoke to anyone about what was happening or tried to leave he would kill her and the baby. He would find them where ever they were, and they would not see him coming, but then he’d be there and that was bye-bye time. Then she started crying. She told me of times when he showed her how easily he could kill her, telling her that the only reason she was alive was because he loved her. He would tie her up and hold his gun to her head and ask if she was ready to die…when she said no he’d say “then you better not tell anyone our private business”

I convinced her that we should call the police…they came took her statement…took lots of pictures…she was covered in bruises. They took him away. He wasn’t supposed to come near her, the house, her workplace or the daycare.

It was very hard at first. She was scared all the time and couldn’t sleep. She stayed with us some of the time and we stayed with her some of the time. Things seemed to quiet down slowly and she gradually regained some of who she was before she married him. It is a work in progress as I still see her sometimes check all around before leaving the house or getting out of the car and nervously checking over her shoulder when she’s out…