Coercive Control

Eight years ago I was going through the process of divorcing my then husband. I divorced him on the grounds of unreasonable behaviour. I had spent many years subjected to his emotional abuse. I was lucky that on the number of occasions that I had to call the police to the house or I went to the station to report a particularly nasty incident. The police were very understanding and didn’t just dismiss my complaints against my husband. Even after our divorce, when he was no longer living at the marital home (by court order) he was still subjecting me to harassment.

I am glad to say that he no longer behaves that way towards me. I don’t have much contact with him, for which I am glad, but when we do speak on the phone it is usually very civil. He is in contact with our sons which is as it should be. They are young adults themselves now, they don’t need me to make arrangements for them.

In recent days there have been reports in the news that The Home Secretary is about to announce new powers against non violent abuse. In theory I can only say that this is a good thing. However I have mixed feelings about all this.

I guess I should be jumping for joy that now (or at least soon) it won’t just be the people who use their fists to control their partner but also those who employ mental abuse, who can be convicted for their actions. Don’t get me wrong I am really pleased that mental abuse is being recognised as damaging to those subjected to it. You no longer have to wait for the abuse to turn physical, you don’t need to have bruises as evidence of suffering.

I know that those in authority want victims of this kind of abuse to come forward. Nobody should suffer the way so many do. I have been hearing and reading that this could lead to abusers receiving up to 14 years in prison. This is what worries me. I wonder to myself, will this encourage victims of abuse to come forward? I am not so sure that it will.

My own feelings about this are that when I was going through the misery caused by my then husband, I wanted him to stop, I wanted to escape from the whole situation. What I didn’t want was for the father of my sons to be put away in prison. I wanted a better life for myself and our children. I wanted peace, safety and my sanity back. That didn’t mean that I wanted my husband behind bars, I just wanted him to leave me alone.

Today I had time to think about all this and I asked myself the question. If at the time of our divorce, the police had had the powers that reports state will be vested on them in the next few months, would I have wanted my husband to be convicted of Coercive Control? I am not sure I can answer that. I was in a very desperate state and needed things to change. If that had been the only way to escape, to give my children a more peaceful life. Maybe. Maybe not. I was already depriving him of our home and our children. Would these new laws have encouraged me to report the abuse, I don’t think so.

We already have laws regarding physical abuse but that doesn’t mean that every victim of physical abuse will report it. Why would this be any different? What we want is protection from our partners, we want to stop looking over our shoulder, waiting for the next punch, insult, controlling device. We don’t always want our abuser locked away. Our children deprived of their other parent.

I do want the victims/survivors of emotional abuse to be given the same protection by the law as those who suffer physical abuse. I just don’t think that the promise of a jail sentence is an incentive to persuade sufferers to report their abuse.

Advertisement

I will survive

Joyce commented on my last post Serenity that it was the most personal post she had seen from me. I was touched by her comment. so maybe I will post one or two more like that as time goes by.

This morning as I lay in bed listening to the radio they were playing a couple of songs that were featured in a listener’s favourite 5 songs. This is a feature that this radio station have been running for many years. A listener tells them their top 5 songs and the station then play 2 of those 5 songs. I have never sent mine in because how do you chose just 5 out of all the many many songs I have adored over the years of my life.

If pushed to name my 5 songs I would start with  this song by 10cc it was one of my favourites when I was at school. Some songs just send a thrill down my spine and this was one of them. 

Next would always be this Moody Blues Classic again it sent shivers down my spine and still does every time I hear it. Both these songs were always played at parties and disco’s during my teens and early 20s.

A third song that struck me in a similar way as a young adult shortly after I had left school and begun working was this 1977 release by Rose Royce.

So now I have 3 out of my 5 songs but what else has struck me in the same way? There were many many songs that had a lot of meaning to me. Many also that I just loved to sing along to. The ones I danced to and ones I later loved to. I have countless songs in my head that I loved as soon as I heard them. Others that grew on me.

But how do I choose just 2 more out of the thousands?

There is one more song that I have long thought of as my personal anthem. I am sure you are all familiar with this classic song by Gloria Gaynor I will Survive. Being a child of the 60s I loved the disco era, Stylistics, Diana Ross, Hot Chocolate, Amy Stewart, Tavares to name but a few. I couldn’t not love this song.

In 2001 I was diagnosed with stage III Cervical Cancer, my then husband told our children that I was going to die. My children at the time were aged 5 through to 13. Obviously this was devastating news for them. However I had other ideas. With four sons to watch growing up I wasn’t about to give in to something like cancer. I had too much to live for. So I will Survive became my anthem. As you can see I did survive and have been in remission since September 2001. I do not however take my continuing life for granted.

In 2005 I reached a stage where my marriage was no longer bearable. Again I will Survive became my anthem as I struggled to get through the awfulness of a messy divorce where we both continued to live in the same house. I turned I will Survive into the tune played by my alarm on my phone so that each morning I would awake to the sound of these powerful words.

A couple of years ago I was thinking about this song and came up with my own version.

You  made me feel so small
You bullied me without me realising it
You told me nobody would want me
How could I manage on my own with four children
It was a long time before I could relax
Afraid you would return
I grew strong
I learned how to carry on
But you won’t disappear
into outer space
You keep calling
Wanting to try again
I changed the locks immediately
Your key wouldn’t help you
I hoped and prayed that
you would stop bothering me
Go on Now leave me alone
Delete my number don’t ever call
Cause your voice is not welcome in my ear
weren’t you the one who tried to hurt me with threats
You thought I would crumble
You thought you could make me lose my mind
Oh no, not I
I have survived
As long as I know how to love
I know I will stay alive
I’ve got all my life to live
I’ve got all my love to give
and I’ll survive
I will survive
It took all the strength I had
not to fall apart
kept trying hard to mend
the pieces of my damaged confidence
and I spent oh so many nights
glad you were gone
I used to cringe
Now I hold my head up high
and you see me
somebody new
I’m not that chained up little person
still afraid of you
and so you felt like calling up
and just expect me to be free
Now I’m saving all my loving
for someone who will cherish me
  

So I guess this would be my fourth song but number 5 is still elusive as there are just too many to choose from.

What would be your top 5 songs and why?