At just 20 years old student Vanessa had already endured the horror of an abusive 2 year relationship. But after finally leaving her boyfriend, Vanessa says she won’t go the police because she doesn’t want him to have a criminal record.
“I know it sounds stupid but going to the police wasn’t going to change anything and I felt sorry for him, stupidly.”
Vanessa, now 21, was with boyfriend Oliver (not his real name) for just over 2 and a half years. Describing the start of the relationship as “very happy” she says the pair of them got along really well. Yet, it was just 6 months into the relationship that Oliver started to show signs of controlling and jealous behaviour.
“He started to check my texts and Facebook messages. If I ever spoke to a lad he would get really angry and start pushing and shoving. Even if I mentioned going out with friends he would get annoyed, thats how most of the arguments started.”
But his ‘minor’ controlling ways soon got worse. Vanessa was no longer allowed to talk to male friends, and any that she did had to have his approval.
Recalling an event that had happened around 8 months into the relationship, Vanessa says that an argument broke out because a friend asked her to go out. Oliver had seen the message and started to get angry at the thought of her going out without him. He pushed her off the sofa saying she couldn’t go. When she told him to leave, his anger grew and he shoved her against a wall shouting in her face.
“It seemed out of nowhere, it was the first time he had really got aggressive with me. I remember being so shocked and upset. When he calmed down he cried and wouldn’t stop apologising and thats why I didn’t tell anyone, I didn’t want anybody to hate him.”
Vanessa says after that incident things seemed to go back to normal for a couple of months. But it wasn’t too long before Oliver showed his true colours and was back to his possessive and aggressive self.
The couple were back to bickering and arguing regularly and Vanessa suffered months of abuse in silence.
“So many things happened. He lost his temper and kicked me in a club to the ground, he sprained my wrist after grabbing me so forcefully, he hit me round the face with a shopping bag, he left bruises on my arm in the shape of his hands and he head butted me because he thought I was drinking too much. All of this would be over nothing, just because he would lose his temper.”
But Vanessa chose to stay with him, saying he was always apologetic and nice to her after he hit her.
“We were in the club and I stepped outside to cool down for a bit. I was gone for 5 minutes when Oliver found me and started accusing me of going missing for an hour. He was shouting and was so mad he threw his drink all over me.”
She walked away to dry herself off in the toilets and when she came out she saw Oliver had been waiting for her. He pinned her against the wall demanding her to tell him where she had been. After repeating she was just cooling down, Oliver headbutted her, causing Vanessa’s face to instantly swell.
“I was devastated, in pain and frightened. I felt humiliated that all my friends now knew what he was really like.”
Oliver was quickly chucked out of the club but not before shouting that this time he wasn’t sorry, that it was Vanessa’s own fault and that he didn’t regret it.
Even though she received numerous texts and calls off him, Vanessa finally ended the relationship and asked him to leave her alone for good.
“My friends and family practically begged me to leave him. My parents were furious, they wanted to get him back for what he did to me, but I asked them not to. I didn’t want things to backfire and for my family to get into trouble.”
Still to this day Vanessa says she gets texts and calls from Oliver. He has even turned up at her home, refusing to leave until she talked to him.
“The abuse wasn’t always just physical, a lot of it was mental too. My advice to anyone in the same situation is get out as soon as you can, take notice of the early warning signs. He is never going to change. If it happens once, it will happen again.”
Listen to Vanessa here…