The physical abuse wasn’t just a one off. The other times are too painful and much too raw for me to share. And yet, I can almost forgive the physical aspect. It’s the mental and emotional abuse I can’t get my head round. The pleasure someone gets from playing despicable mind games. We’ve been divorced coming up to two years and he still harasses me. The ‘final discard’ wasn’t enough. He has enlisted the active help of his mother, who is being used as a ‘flying monkey’. The term comes from the flying monkeys in the Wizard of Oz whereby the wicked witch sends them to carry out her attacks. Most of the time, the perpetrator has convinced these monkeys that he is the victim; subsequently the flying monkeys treat the real victim as the abuser. The perpetrator here is not attacking me in public – which makes him look good – rather he is privately telling carefully chosen people that I am in no rational emotional state. These flying monkeys then proceed to stalk the victim. And in my case the ex mother-in-law is doing just that and reporting back to him. She is doing the his evil work, making it seem like he isn’t really involved. Sadly, the ex mother-in-law has no idea that she is being used.
And so, I am still receiving emails, I am hunted down even while resident at a women’s refuge. Both parties speak to neighbours leaving contact details. The harassment extends to once upon a time mutual friends. It’s a continuous cat and mouse game. Door stepping, stalking, speaking to neighbours, contacting mutual friends, email after email, condemning me through instilling the fear of God. Blame shifting. Humiliating. Words that could cut through glass. Communication received from him is like an avalanche of so many confusing and debilitating thoughts that leaves me feeling like there is no place to start as far as recovery.
And with each contact, I fight a cerebral anxiety attack. An intellectual attack that makes my entire body come alive with palpable fear. The rapid heart beat, the intrusive and spinning fears; it’s like the abuse is happening all over again. I relive the pain of the past every time I am contacted by the perpetrator. I am now in active discussion with my legal representatives and aiming to pursue a non-molestation order. I refuse to be the mouse. I refuse to continue to live in fear and looking over my shoulder. I want this nightmare to end.
I hate saying the word abuse or even feel that I was a victim because it describes me as being weak. Yet at the same time I feel compelled to shout it out. Internalizing that I am a target/victim of abuse is my turning point I am not weak but instead strong to acknowledge the truth and move forward with it. Through education, counselling, and the support of other victims and survivors has allowed me to reinforce what has happened and allowed me to see that I am not the cause of this horrific abuse. To achieve closure is my ultimate aim and to do so is to reject him completely so that the truth repairs everything that has broken me.
This is a personal journey and a process that I have decided to commit to. Because what is at stake is my life, my well-being, my happiness, and a healthy future…where I can and will return to the world again.
NZF utilises your Zakat to fund three supported housing projects for Muslim women who have nowhere to go, often due to suffering domestic abuse. These housing projects provide a supported environment which is essential in developing the residents’ confidence, self-esteem and ultimately their ability to live independently upon leaving the project.
The case study is a first hand account written by a Zakat recipient. The opinions expressed and those providing comments are theirs alone, and do not reflect the opinions of the National Zakat Foundation.