This happened a while back. I broke up with my abusive ex about a month prior to this incident. His emotional abuse became unbearable and he had made repeated threats to kill both himself and me. I was trying my best to move out, but didn’t feel safe at all as my ex would walk into the room when I was sleeping and stare at me. He’d sometimes hold an empty wine bottle close to my head. The worst nights I remember are trying to pretend I was asleep while I lay there waiting for him to leave.
I brought someone I was casually seeing over to stay the night after explaining how scared I was. My ex separated me from all my friends and this person was all I had at the time. He lived with his parents and I had no money for a hotel. I still didn’t think I was being abused at that point (he never hit me), so I didn’t even consider women’s shelters. My ex broke into the room (physically slamming down the door) and beat him within an inch of his life. He threw me across the hallway and down a flight of stairs, but we managed to get out of the house and I spent the night huddled at a bus stop in mid January in a dressing gown.
My friend pressed charges and helped find me a place to live. I was stuck in the house with my ex for another two weeks. A few days before I was scheduled to move, the police showed up. My friend lost partial vision in his right eye from the attack. This was a heavy assault allegation, so they took me to the living room while they kept my ex in the entrance hallway. I was clearly visible and audible to him throughout the entire police interview.
He stared at me while I was asked questions like ‘has this man ever physically assaulted you?’. Yes. But I couldn’t say it, I knew he would hear. ‘Has this man ever emotionally abused you or tried to separate you from family or friends?’. Yes. But I could see him looking at me with complete and utter hatred. If he wanted to hurt me later, the police wouldn’t stop him. I remember shaking my head, crying, asking to do this later.
The police officer laughed, and refused. He seemed to think the way my ex was staring at me during the interview was hilarious. The other two male officers were calling my ex ‘mate’ and chatting about where he was from. He said it was a clear case of a jealous ex boyfriend and said I ‘really shouldn’t be bringing people back so soon after we’d broken up’. He ignored the warning signs and they left five minutes later after an interview with me that lasted maybe five minutes tops.
I later found out that my friend had included the physical abuse my ex directed at me that night on his police report. He said he knew I was being abused and he was scared for my life. Was that their check-up? Is that what’s standing between young women and domestic violence? I was so young at the time I had no idea how badly this situation was handled by the police. He was later released with no charges. I’m so scared to think of what happens to those women who don’t have parents who can bail them out, women who don’t have friends willing to put their neck on the line to help. Women who have to ‘just go to the police’.