This one night I was waitressing at a pub near his, and he saw me talking to a male customer. He became very angry. He ordered me to stay put, and said that he would return to bring me home. When he left, my boss told me to hurry home as Andy had a reputation for being violent. I did so, walking as fast as I could towards the train station. Suddenly, I heard him yell out my name, and he charged towards me. When he closed in on me, he grabbed my arms, shook me, and threw me up against the wall. Over and over again. By now a crowd had formed.
I fell to the floor, crying, begging someone to call the police, but no one did anything. All of them just stood there and watched. It was only when Andy stopped screaming and calmed down a little that the crowd began to disperse. Just like that, as if my getting beaten up was a performance. A young girl, beaten up by a big man, and no one stepped in to intervene.
Even after this horrifying incident, you stayed with Andy. Onlookers may say to a battered woman: “Why don’t you leave him?” Why don’t women leave their abusers? It seems the only logical thing to do.
An abused woman may find it hard to get out of a situation that she knows is not good for her, because the thought of changing is sometimes scarier. She may think, “If I leave my husband, I’d have to live my life as a single mother, and live with the stigma of being a divorcee. My children will ask me why I didn’t fight harder to keep the family together; they may even hate me for breaking up the family.” And so she puts up with the beatings — what’s a beating that comes once a week compared to uprooting her life? I was like that as well. I thought, “If I leave Andy, what are the chances I can find a better guy?” I felt that he was the best I could get — I already had an abortion, I had been promiscuous, so I didn’t deserve a good man.
How should we help such women?
I once met a female inmate who after completing her sentence was back in prison after an hour. One hour. The thought of having to survive in the outside world for even an hour was just too scary for her. I know of repeat offenders who have been in and out of prison nineteen, twenty times.
How we can help an abused woman is to show her that she has a chance to live better. She is currently living her life at a certain level; we must identify her real aspirations and project to her a future beyond where she is. It is about changing her mindset, and sparking that inner motivation so she has the courage to say, “Maybe I can.”
After the episode with Andy, Boon reappeared in your life, and you had an ongoing affair with him. You again got pregnant, and this time you weren’t exactly sure who was the father. Abortion again was your go-to solution. Was having the second abortion any easier?
I told Boon first and lied that I knew for certain the baby was Andy’s. Then I told Andy. Again, as the male in this situation, each of them could not offer and assure me there was another option. My thought process went like this: “I had already done the unimaginable once, what could be worse? I was only in my first trimester, and so I had the option to have dilation and curettage. Physically, it would not be painful at all as I would be under general anaesthesia: I wouldn’t even feel a thing.”
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