Domestic Violence: Kenneth, It Was Pure Manipulation

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domestic violence, marriage, mental health, drugs

My name is Kenneth, a previous victim of domestic violence. I’m a Nigerian living in Germany. I was once a security personal before I began to run my own security business of protecting high profiled individuals and providing security for events.

As a strong, powerful, determined person, who protected many from harm, no one could have thought I would be a victim of domestic violence, but I was. This was because I wasn’t protected from my partner.

I endured the physical and mental challenges of domestic violence, which ultimately led me to leave my partner and fleeing to the UK.

I met my partner, Amelie through a close friend who was her cousin. At that time, I was pretty much where I wanted to be financially and I thought I needed a companion to go through life with. Amelie and I got to know each other and eventually agreed to go out on a date.

In all honesty, I knew that Amelie was a bit on the wild side, but that was one of the things that attracted me. She was beautiful, goofy and a party animal.

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Amelie

I was in love and became a fool for it because I sensed trouble but ignored it. I was overly confident of myself that I could handle her. At least, my job took many skills and one of them was confidence. I was a very confident and outgoing individual.

In the short space of time, Amelie and I began dating, I found out she was married but separated. She blamed her excessive drinking on her ex whom she claimed used and treated her badly. I believed the issue sent her into a destructive spiral which made her abuse drugs sometimes.

Anyways, all the red lights were there, but I also found out that a lot of her issues stemmed from her childhood. I felt sorry for her and it made me want to stand by her, to love her and to try to show her that not all men were scumbags. I guess I saw myself as a knight in shining armour, one who could fix things – which was a very dumb thing to do, but I fell for her and wanted to help her all the same.

We got married just almost a year to when we first met. I didn’t realise it at the time but over the coming months, I was carefully manipulated into a position of isolation.

Manipulated into isolation

Amelie said that she wanted to move away from her family and people she knew in order to start a new life with me. I moved with her, giving up my rented home of eight years and everything in it. As well as moving away from my friends.

Even though it was going to cost me extra effort and money to keep running my business from there, I didn’t mind. But when things got rocky between us, I had no one to turn to, especially as I have no real family where we lived.

Things became a bit more volatile and a pattern had emerged which mostly occurred whenever she was drinking or abusing drugs. She would be happy and playful for a while, then she would become overtly lousy, sometimes spilling details about our private life which was most embarrassing when we with other people. After that, her mood would swing and she would become spiteful and unpleasant (when cautioned), then the hurling of insults and fists would follow.

Domestic violence and the police

One day, she eventually attacked me in full force. She was using her fist, punching me so hard in my face that she broke her hand. The police became involved and I was arrested. Yes, me!

It was force policy in domestic violence situations, to remove one person from the property to prevent further escalation. Because I was not on the rent agreement – as I was not allowed to be, I was told by the police that I had to leave. When I questioned this, I was arrested, dragged from the house and locked up until the following day.
I was later apologized to by the Chief Constable, for my ill-treatment.

There were many other incidents after this. I just kept my head down and made excuses for her. Each time it happened, I thought about her past and told myself that one day, she would realise that I wasn’t the enemy. “She would come around,” I kept telling myself. For better, for worse was what I signed up for.

Pregnancy and calm…?

Two years after, things took a surprising turn, Amelie became pregnant. I was so happy, Amelie was excited as well. It made me want to be by her side even more.

Then it happened – the abuse, the violence stopped. Just like that. And for almost a year, our relationship was perfect. I felt all our days of struggle were over. I thought that the tide had turned. Our beautiful daughter was born, and our joy tripled. But Amelie did something strange.

She refused to put me on the birth certificate. She also didn’t give our daughter our surname, but her maiden name. This sparked a high-level curiosity and paranoia in me and we argued over it a lot. Six months later, the attack returned.

This time though, things were hugely different. My wife became fond of using our daughter as leverage or weapon to attack me. Then one day, we were arguing and she came hurling fists at me even as I was holding and feeding our daughter, who at the time was choking because the food had passed the wrong pipe.

Domestic violence escalated

As I was trying to clear her airway, I was punched hard in the face. I instinctively covered our daughter with my body as the blows rained down. I was screaming at her to stop, which she eventually did but she continued to scream abuse at me.

That day was the beginning of my trauma. The shock of being attacked while holding our baby tipped me over the edge and I had a breakdown. The next day, I collapsed at work and ended up telling my occupational health department everything. That was the turning point for me

Because a child was involved, they were duty-bound to inform social services. Before then, the police had always treated me as the perpetrator and my partner as the victim but when I was called in to be interviewed by social services, it was the first time in about three years that I received positive help.

The lady that interviewed me listened to my story and took immediate action. I was terrified that we would lose our baby but I was equally terrified of what my partner would do when she found out that I had told anyone what was going on.

I wish I had listened

Amelie was called in and she eventually admitted the attack but claimed that she had been provoked by me. The lady at social services then told me that there were ‘two kinds of abuser’. The first: A person who admitted they had an issue and wanted to work to change their behaviour. The second: The person that denied they had an issue and blamed everything on the victim. She informed that my wife was the latter.

I was then told to go home, to pack a bag and to leave for the meantime, but I did not. Somehow, I decided to resolve the issue amicably with my wife who was in tears when I got home. I would later learn from a counsellor that it takes 30 serious assaults before victims of domestic abuse actually try to leave. At that point, I just couldn’t bear to walk away from my daughter and leave my wife vulnerable.

I don’t recall how long it was before I did leave but I eventually moved back to Hamburg where my business was. Things got a lot worse when I moved out. I had to battle Amelie for the rights to co-parent our daughter as she was always using her to get at me.

Then one weekend, Amelie called me and was crying over the phone. She wanted us to talk and sort things out. I wanted that as well, so I told her to come over. I already had our daughter for the weekend.

The big fight

She came and the usual pattern played out. She wouldn’t stop drinking at my place. When I told her she had to leave (because she was getting out of hand as usual) she exploded and attacked me again, hurling things at me. She was screaming, hitting me and then said she was taking our daughter with her.

I tried to block her from gaining access to our daughter by standing in front of the bedroom door and she attacked me again. I then dialled 999 and begged the police to get there ASAP. She grabbed the phone, hung up and hurled it at me.

She eventually got into our daughters’ room and I tried to restrain her using a minimum amount of force. I was terrified on several levels as was our little girl who had woken up and was crying in panic. Terrified she was going to hurt our baby as she was so drunk and irrational.

I knew I would be arrested again despite doing nothing. At that point though, I had no choice but to grab her by the waist to protect myself and to drag her from our daughters’ room. I then carried her into one of the rooms and locked her in. After that, I got the phone again and dialled the police.

At this time, blood had begun trickling down my face from the sharp objects she threw at me and the scratches I got from her. I kept dialling the police to come on time as I could hear her yelling and throwing things about in the room I locked her in.

Arrested and imprisoned even though innocent

When the police arrived, we were both arrested and taken to the station, along with our daughter. Amelie refused to say anything and was released with our daughter. I was told that because I had admitted grabbing her by the waist and pulling her, I was to be charged with assault. I was held overnight, taken to court in handcuffs, in a prison van and jailed for four months and told to stay away from Amelie and my baby when I got out.

During those four months, I was driven to the point of suicide. I was a completely broken man. Violently attacked, mentally abused, verbally abused over a number of years. And again, being labelled the perpetrator, while my abuser walked free to gloat.

After four months of torture, waiting and wondering what was going to happen to me when I get out, I finally came out and knew I had to get far away from Amelie as possible. I left with few possessions. It was a truly heartbreaking day as I didn’t know if I would ever see my daughter again.

I began rebuilding my life from scratch and that was how I found the courage to talk to a counsellor and few friends about my ordeal. I also found the courage to write and grant radio interviews about domestic violence.

Telling my story

As a former protection officer, I never believed that I could become the victim of domestic violence. However, I’ve since learned, through my own experiences, that anyone can become a victim of this terrible crime. My talks on domestic abuse have helped people to recognise that they are actually in an abusive relationship, as many people do not see it as a domestic abuse situation until they are out of the relationship and can look back on it.

I talk about my own experiences and try to encourage people to take the first step to get help. I emphasized the need to not feel ashamed, which is a dominating factor in people (especially men) not reporting their abuse.

As a man, the police and authorities don’t look at you as a victim. The stereotype is that the man is the perpetrator and the woman a victim. Many police and people in authority still hold that view, even when the evidence is staring them in the face, as it was in my case.

Domestic violence against women gets widespread coverage but abuse against men are barely heard. Men also need support just as the women in the same situation.

Despite my heartbreaking experience and even though Amelie and I are no longer together, we’ve learnt to get along fine with much distance for the sake of our daughter whom I get to see during school holidays. Thanks for the platform to share.

My Thoughts…

Going through some of the comments, I see where male victims of domestic violence are labelled as weak. Comments, especially from men, label male victims of domestic violence as weak. The general idea being that domestic violence is always a physical thing. Men being supposedly the stronger sex should be able to protect themselves.

The issue though us that domestic violence isn’t only physical. It is verbal, it is mental and it is manipulation as well. The funniest thing I see when the woman is the domestic violence perpetrator is that they are mostly small-sized women.

In 2018, a British woman was jailed 12 years for domestic violence against her fiancee. In this case, she poured acid on him and was laughing while the guy burnt. The guy was so badly burnt that he eventually was allowed to commit euthanasia. The deep story was she had a history of domestic violence against him and also in a previous relationship. In fact, the guy broke up because of her ways only for her to lure him and pour acid on him.

Weaker sex?

My first encounter with male victim domestic violence was with an uncle of mine. His wife had an acidic tongue. she would regularly abuse him and call him names. Daily, she let him know that he wasn’t good enough for her, stating that she married him out of pity.

She would have affairs outside and not go to pains to cover them. Soon the poor man was driven to drinking and was a shadow of himself. They had regular physical fights in which he would, of course, beat her up. That however never did enough to shut her mouth up. One day, he got home to find that she had packed all his property and left home.

My second encounter was of a family friend. He had this wife that would get into all kinds of quarrels with him. She had a particular fit of jealousy and would do all sorts. She stabbed him severally amongst others. Once she soaked him with kerosene while he slept and set him ablaze. He woke screaming to burns all over his body. Sad to say, he ignored all advice and she eventually killed him.

People never believe that a woman could be the perpetrator of domestic violence. That is why the perpetrators go free. The issue though is that there is a particular type of individual that perpetrates domestic violence. That person could be male or could be female. The key thing is that it shouldn’t t be allowed to continue.

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