“I was 16, he was my first love. During the first year things were going fine, and then something clicked in his mind. The fights became more and more violent. He could become angry in a second for small things. I’d end up curling up in a ball, and he’d just kick me and say: “You’re weak! Stand up!” Sometimes he’d only make the gesture, just to see if I was scared, if I was going to move my head away.
I have a really strong character, I won’t let someone run over me. If someone pushes me on the streets, I’m going to say something. If I have to open my mouth and say the truth, I won’t be scared to do it. Even if a guy speaks to me in a bad way in a night club, I’ll send him off in 2 seconds. And despite all of this, I wasn’t able to stand up for myself in front of him. You can have all the character in the world, but in front of your man you can be so weak.
Violent men always try to screw up your head by making you believe its your fault. And I’d tell to myself: he’s right, I have to change my character. It was also my first relationship so I was thinking he was my soul mate. Despite everything. Because I think everyone deserves another chance. I managed to leave him overnight after 1 year and a half. But I relapsed and slept with him a few times after. If I’d run into him in a night club, bam! I’d abandon all my friends. I didn’t love him anymore, but he had this grip over me. I was 21 when it happened for the last time, and then I blocked him everywhere.
A week ago, an old guy told me: “We can improve, but we never really change”. It really made me think. I would’ve really liked to have someone tell me that at the time. I would’ve avoided these wasted years. But that’s life, we each have our own fight. I was young, I have to move on. Now I’m creating my own nonprofit for battered women. Because if I had known all these associations, I would’ve sought refuge in them. And I think I’ll know how to help them.”
(translated from French)
If you are concerned about your interactions with your partner or your ex-partner, or if you are concerned for someone you know, you can contact :
- The cantonal domestic abuse helpline (24h/24) at 0840 110 110
- The nonprofit AVVEC (Aide aux Victimes de Violence en Couple) on avvec.ch and at 022 797 10 10
If you fear for your safety or the safety of your children, or if you are witnessing violent acts, contact directly the police at 117