Marie tells her True Story of abuse as a newly married Bride
I had been dating this beautiful man for about 18 months when he proposed and of course I accepted his proposal. We had planned for one reason or another to have our wedding in Autumn, just 5 months away.
The pressure was on but with my family taking the rains, everything started to fall into place quickly. Tom was French and notified his family of our wedding date immediately, giving them enough time to make arrangements if they wished to attend.
Tom was a gentle giant and loved my 4 yr old son as if he was his own, spending time with him playing football etc.
A couple of weeks before our big day, Tom became verbally aggressive. I hadn’t seen this side of him before, we had a massive argument over nothing really. Eventually we made up and everything went back to normal, I put it all down to the stress and strain of the wedding.
The day before our wedding 16 members of his family turned up at my 3 bedroom house expecting to stay at mine. I told Tom the house is way to small but he insisted they stay and said they will sleep on the floor. He said his family are poor and didn’t have the money to book into a hotel, I didn’t like the idea but felt It was the right thing to accept the situation under the circumstances. That night my son and I slept over my parents house to get ready for the big day and tried to put the arrival of the 16 people crammed into my house out of my mind.
As I was getting ready in my beautifully gem encrusted bridal dress, I remember asking myself, what am I doing? is this right? did it all happen two quickly? My parents had spent thousands on this wedding and told myself this was the right thing to do. Tom loved my son and I and we loved Tom, we would all be happy together and would make this work even though Tom was out of work.
I remember walking into the church with my dad, seeing all the people sat in pews and feeling an enormous waves of doubt with my inner voice telling me, I don’t want to be here. I heard the french family say aristocrat’s directed at my family and quickly shrugged it off, I assumed it was friendly banter.
The deed was done, now married and off to the reception where again I could hear digs coming from the french guests. When I mentioned it to Tom he just shook his head and said nothing and seemed to revel in the atmosphere of it all.
Eventually the celebration had come to an end and Tom and I made our way up to the bridal suite that my parents had booked for us. We were all smiles and happy as we made our way to the room, the door closed and then the atmosphere changed instantly.
He became very angry telling me my family should have paid for his family, my family should have kept the free bar open longer and how dare I questioned his words, I am now his wife and I will do what he says and when he says. Feeling very unnerved at his aggression but I questioned his words, what the hell do you mean Tom? Then suddenly came the first physical blow then the second and third eventually he stopped with me begging him as I lay in a bundle on the floor.
I lay in my wedding dress on the floor with uncontrollable tears of physical and verbal pain, shaking with fear as I lay there too scared to move and questioning what just happened. I stayed on the floor all night to frighted to move, I didn’t sleep much that night. I was just scared of every sound or movement I heard.
The morning came and Tom didn’t mention a word about his actions and I was to scared to bring it up, I just wanted to go home. Catching my refection in the mirror was hard, I could see the pain of last night. I quickly cleaned and applied makeup to cover Toms actions, I didn’t want anyone to know and felt embarrassed at the thought, it was supposed to be the happiest night of my life not the saddest.
As I drove home a wave of dread swept over me, I was returning to my home but it would be filled with his family and who knows what to expect.
As I put my key in the door I could hear voices and a huge bellow of smoke rushed out as my front door opened. They had abused my home completely, the air was thick with smoke, there were bodies everywhere, every plate cup knife and fork had been used and as I looked further, I noticed cigarette burns in a newly laid carpet. I was very upset, I went upstairs to use the bathroom locking the door behind me, I couldn’t stop the tears that followed and as I looked around through tearing blurred eyes I could see the contempt of utter filth before me. It was like my whole home had been brought to the gutter of an old French Bracier. Quickly pulling myself together because someone was banging on the door, I made my way back downstairs.
I gingerly asked Tom how long his family would be staying and he replied, as long as they want! I was too scared to questioned his remark so I just nodded and bit my lip.
Two days later and first thing in the morning, they embarked from my home leaving me with a mammoth task of cleaning. Every room had to be gutted before I could collect my son from my parents home. Yes, my home was that bad.
Still In my night shirt I decided to get stuck into the cleaning straight away. Tom came into the bedroom where I was stripping off the bed and aggressively told me how horrible I have been to his family and how dare I questioned when his family would leave. I didn’t say a word, I quickly remembered his last actions and just ignored him thinking this was the safer option.
I felt this sudden pain against my head and a ringing sound in my ear and then a session of repeated blows. I lost my footing and fell on the bed where Tom quickly followed, again tears ran down my face as he held me down shouting abuse and telling me he would show me who’s in charge.
Tom started pulling at my nightshirt and ripped my pants off. Petrified, I knew what was coming, I begged and pleaded with him to stop but he raped me and then sodomised me.
When he had finished he just got up and went down stairs. I was left a trembling mess both physically and mentally. I couldn’t hear properly from my ear that had taken most of the blows and later realised he had burst my eardrum.
I remember thinking this was the first sexual encounter since we were married.
The days and weeks that followed were terrible and with every outburst of physical and mental abuse, I found myself obeying him completely. I tried all different ways to try and appease the situation, not talking, fetching and carrying when he wanted something, trying to smile at the correct time but nothing would stop the abuse, it had become a daily affair.
One night after so much abuse I didn’t know how to carry on, I was so desperate, I wanted to end my life. I took a knife and sat on the floor in my hallway sobbing ready to cut my wrists. My little boy came halfway down the stairs saying mummy what are you doing? It halted my actions immediately as I gazed up at his little innocent face. How stupid am I being I told myself, I need to be strong for him.
With many bruises, black eyes, repeatedly burst eardrums, a sore shoulder that wouldn’t heal, broken nose and finger and being rapped when it suited him, I eventually broke down over a cup of tea at my mum’s house. She couldn’t believe what she was hearing, she said you always seemed happy together.
I explained that I was too scared and embarrassed to say anything, I put on a show for the world to see how happy we were. It would mean I had failed at my marriage of 4 months but I needed this to change for my sons sake, he had been witness to way too much of the abuse.
My mum said I needed to make an appointment with a lawyer which I did while I was there and I need to get Tom out of my house. Do you think he will leave if you ask him? mum said, I don’t know, I replied. It was a terrifying thought to ask him to leave but I knew I had to try.
That night after leaving my son with my mum, feeling a little stronger with the pep talk she had given me, I decided I would ask Tom to leave. It didn’t take long before Tom was questioning me about where i’ve been and the length of time I had been gone, and then receiving a few more blows. the pain was instant and I could taste my blood. I abruptly blurted out, I want you to go! Telling him if he didn’t leave I would call the police! Tom replied with a few more blows and kicks but eventually Tom walked out that night taking a bag of belongings.
I quickly placed the chain on the front door, checked the garden gate was bolted and all the windows and doors were firmly fastened.
That night I lay in my bed trembling and just listening for any sounds amongst the silence.
A few days had passed, my son and I spent many hours playing laughing and having many cuddles before bedtime. It seemed that things had started to return to some kind of normality and I could try and start to repair myself. I carried my son upstairs to his bedroom and snuggled him down with his teddy for the night and I returned downstairs to watch a movie before bed.
Feeling completely exhausted of all the past trauma, my stress levels had started to come down and this night it hadn’t taken long for me to drift off to sleep. I must have needed the sleep because I hadn’t heard anything. I woke startled, Tom was standing over me with a knife, he had broken in. Terrified I softly spoke to him, he seemed to accept my words as he sat on the bed. I slowly got up and walked towards the door, I wanted to get to my son but he pushed by me and grabbed my son placing him like a rag doll under his arm and holding the knife at my throat. I will never forget the words he said next, “take a look at your boy because this is the last time you will ever see him”!
I don’t recall all what was said that night because I would have said and done anything to protect my son but eventually Tom left my home.
The next morning I went to see my parents, my dad phoned the police, they turned up and arranged surveillance cameras in my home and my dad engaged the services of 2 bodyguards to sleep in my house during the night for a week. Tom didn’t appear.
I had kept my appointment with the lawyer and explained all that had happened, it was a very traumatic meeting and the end result was, he would apply for an injunction with a power of arrest attached. It was fast tracked and I received it through the post a week later.
Another week had past with no Tom insight and my mum asked if I would come and look after my brother at their house while my parents went out for the evening. They arrived home around midnight and my mum said why don’t you spend the night but I insisted on going home. I wrapped my son up and bundled him into the car and drove the 5 minutes to my home. It was a cold night so I left my son in the car and went to open the front door first. As I opened my front door I heard a cough, It was Toms cough, I quickly shut the door again and drove back to my parents house and explained what had just happened.
My dad called the police and in 5 minutes they had arrived at my parents home. An officer questioned me and then proceeded to change his clothing into what looked like riot gear. My mum had to accompany the police over to my house, they opened my front door and went directly upstairs where they found Tom undressed and in my bed. My mum was given a statement that she had to resit to Tom before the police could act on my injunction with a power of arrest. Yes the police made sure he left my home and stated, that all they could do was put him on the queens path/highway but they would keep an eye on where he went.
Two weeks later in the afternoon there was a knock at my front door, now fitted with a solid slid bar, I could only opened the door a four or five inches. It was Tom, he was asking to come in, he explained he was sorry and things would be different. Scared but feeling safe because of the bar on my door I said “no please just go”. He reached through the small gap and grabbed at me, I quickly tried to shut the front door as he was kicking and pushing against it. Tom then punched the tall slender toughened glass pain beside the door. The sound was like a bomb going off bringing many neighbours out to watch the performance. His hand now through the glass trying to unfasten the solid bar on my door but he cuts his wrist badly and eventually leaves. I waited a short while then opened my front door to see everyone looking at me in such discussed. I was petrified and consumed with embarrassment. Only one neighbour asked if I would like the police called and of course I replied yes please.
The police arrived about 20 minutes later and inspected the damage and said they would try and find him. A number of hours past and I received a call from the police telling me they couldn’t find him but don’t worry we will make extra patrols in your area. I was shocked that they couldn’t find him, there was a trail of blood to follow!
Days later, I was informed that my husband was wanted for questioning by Interpol and that he was part of a Nasty Mafia organisation. I was also told that there had been 2 cars situated at both entrances to where I was living, both with French plates and this was part of his departure from the UK. The informant then went on to say, It seems that you have been extremely lucky even through all your terrifying experiences, it could have been much worse.
I never saw Tom again, From a wedding that took place in October to receiving my Nisei in July. A terrifying rollercoaster of abuse and one of the shortest marriages dissolve by law.
It took me many years to stop looking over my shoulder because Tom always said I belonged to him no matter what happens. I experienced many torturous situations and words he had uttered caused nightmares. Day by day and month by month, with help from my family my sparkle for life returned.
I am alive and well although not in a relationship as trust is still a huge issue and probably i’m still concerned about letting someone in completely. I have watched my son grow up, get married and give me 2 beautiful grandchildren.
I have closed the door on my past and I am now happy living my life!
With every day that comes, it’s a new day and a chance of a new beginning.
If you are experiencing abuse no matter how big or small, tell someone! No one should have to live being terrified or demoralised. There are many organisations that can help today, please don’t suffer in silence, make a change and call someone if only to talk.