There is something that I have never told anyone on Twitter and have never blogged about on my own blog. I have considered it but I guess I feel it's a bit too heavy for my blog. Most of my real life friends and family know so it's not a secret. But I suppose I'm a bit worried about being judged or thought of differently 'in my own space'. But I think this blog is the perfect place to talk about it because most of my regular readers read this as well and I don't have to be worried about my kids, when they're older, coming across something on my blog that I haven't talked about with them yet.
I was hit by my first husband.
It's something that I never thought would ever happen to me. My Dad is a most gentle person and my Mum is very practical. I would call them both peacemakers and they never fight. I always told other kids that when I was growing up but they wouldn't believe me. "Everyone's parents fight." Nope, not mine. They just don't. So raised voices and violent behaviour is terrifying to me. However I tend to raise my own voice plenty when I'm upset about something. I'm that type that won't say anything, won't say anything, won't say anything...then I snap and let fly.
My first husband was a very likable person, always laughing and joking around, but he grew up with a father that treated his mother terribly. He would belittle her and call her names a lot, in front of me and the whole family. I guess he learned that that was how you treat women. Because he used to laugh at me and make me the but of his jokes often. He would also call me names and get aggressive when we fought. I'd had things thrown at me, a knife held up to me, was pushed against a wall, locked out of the house, water thrown over me and he also kicked a hole in the bedroom wall during one of our fights.
Six months after we were married we moved away from his parents and the small outback country town where we met and moved to Brisbane. A few months after that we were invited to an engagement party back in that town. So we travelled the six hours to get there and stayed with his parents for the weekend.
The backyard party was great until the host's brothers decided to streak through the guests wearing only socks. Well, being the big prude that I am, this didn't amuse me at all and I pretty much turned into a wet blanket after that. We walked back to his parents place after the party arguing about it all the way. When we got home I just wanted to forget about it and go to sleep so I rolled myself up in the doona and said 'enough'. He ripped the doona off me, I remember scratching my own arm in the struggle, then I must have sat up and then felt a force to my face. I was stunned at first then felt a warm sensation trickling down my face. I put my hand to it and it was covered in blood. I screamed, a most unnatural scream it seems because I remember his father saying he didn't know what the noise was, he thought it was a dog howling. He sat on the bed saying over and over, "I'm sorry." His mother came in and calmly and quietly cleaned me up. She was a Torres Straight Islander and was a beautiful soul. As she washed the blood from my face and hair she said something along the lines of, "You have to learn not to make Island men angry when they've been drinking. It's the drink." I can't remember her exact words. But I do remember how I felt when she said she thought I needed stitches. They took me to the after hours emergency clinic in the middle of the night and yes, I did need stitches. I don't remember how many. I still have the scar but fortunately I guess it's pretty well hidden in my left eyebrow. I had a phobia of needles back then so they had to hold me down on the table for the anesthetic, I was terrified.
Most of the things you hear people say were true for me. I partly blamed myself. I didn't believe it would happen again. We made up a fake story about the bungy ropes we were using to tie the bike to the roof of the car slipping and springing back to hit me in the eye, because it was very black for more than a week. It never did happen again, although some of the other things I mentioned earlier did after this event. But six years later when I left him for my current husband I was almost happy to be able to bring this out in the open and use it as one of the reasons why I was leaving.
This all happened 16 years ago now. The wound has healed, the scar remains and I honestly don't think about it very often any more. I don't cringe every time my husband raises his voice anymore. My heart doesn't race in fear of being hit again. I know my current husband (my real one) would never hurt me. He gets angry, and so do I, in arguments but there has never been any time where I have felt threatened by violence.
It's such a difficult topic. I used to be one of those women who said, "If a man ever hits me, I'm out of there." Well, I didn't leave, straight away. And possibly wouldn't have if I hadn't met my husband. I often wonder though if it would have happened again, and what I would have done if it did.
I guess you just never know what you will do until it happens to you.