To recover from domestic violence and abuse, we need to identify how we were abused in the first place. Abusers use a range of tactics to gain control over there victim. My abuser kept me as his victim with threats to kill me in the beginning, then me and my family, followed by me and the children. I believed these threats as his uncle killed his wife and he seemed like he had no control. When I look at my wheel of power I can immediately identify which abuse was the worst for me.
I already had issues with intimacy due to the fact that I was sexually abused by my paedophile father and his friends as a child. For me having to participate sexually when I no longer liked him let alone loved him was clearly rape. I survived sustained humiliating abuse, wobbling any wobbly bits I had, leering over me, enjoying my uncomfortable responses, I begged him to allow me to cover my self at least a bit . He caused me internal pain and as the years went on he gained a sick pleasure extending the length of time and the frequency. I was sexually abuse by him over the 22 years of my marriage as I was never free to say no. Therefore the sexual abuse was the most damaging for me, I have fibromyalgia and PTSD now.
I also believe it was the key to enable all the other abuse to escalate, if you feel no power to say no to being at your most vulnerable, to have someone you despise touch you in the most private of places. When you have to just cope through that, then all the other abuses are easy for him to reach as your boundaries have been eroded. I was already used to witness childhood violence and having also been sexually abused as a child I just went into a survival mode.
The physical abuse was extremely frightening for me to cope with, it was far worse that my childhood violence. I was Muslim before I married him and innocently believed that having a Muslim husband this couldn’t happen. He prayed every prayer so how could he behave in such a way. On multiple occasions he would be abusive swearing and then go and pray and return to the same behaviour . I could understand it.
The mental impact of living in a state of fear and walking on eggshells, took its toll on my body and I started to have panic attacks. I believed he was unstable and would kill me as he regularly ran around the home with knifes. It was sheer terror living with him. Mentally I thought I was strong, I would say he cant break me, but along that journey of 22 years he did break me. I became sick and then seeing me weaker he stepped up his abuse tenfold.
Emotionally I became weaker and distrusting of a life after abuse, how would I ever escape with the children alive. I gave up hope and just survived trying to compensate the children for having chosen such a evil father.
Spiritually I became weaker in my belief as I had reached out to the community and having spoken up about what was happening the situation escalated. They did speak to him, that made him more angry and the abuse worse. I was not offered any practical help and felt shamed in silence.
Now I have broken free from the abuse I am living a happier spiritual life. He was a abuser, he tried to use Islam to abuse me. He was following his families behaviour and still denies that he did anything wrong. I never lost my faith, it was weaker, but never disappeared. We must all learn from our experiences, to learn we must talk about them. We need to break the silence on domestic violence. We need to break the cycle to achieve that we need to stop owning the shame of domestic violence. Silence hides the violence and enables the abuse to continue unchecked.