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Dublin: 15 °C Friday 14 August, 2020

'He never hit me until I was pregnant, then asked, 'What did you do to make me that angry with you?''

an RTÉ online documentary spoke to business women, students and mothers who shared their stories of domestic abuse.

Image: Shutterstock/Gladskikh Tatiana

“HE NEVER ACTUALLY hit me until I was pregnant.”

One in five Irish women experience domestic abuse in their lifetime, and a new RTÉ online documentary recently spoke to business women, students and mothers who shared their personal stories.

One woman, who remains anonymous throughout, described how she was left ‘sobbing in a ball’ when she was five months pregnant after the first time her partner hit her.

She said she later contemplated taking her own life so her children would have compensation money. She went on to leave her husband on discovering he had hit their son.

She said that when she showed him the bruises from the first time he attacked her, he said, “What did you do to make me that angry with you?”

I knew there was no logic, there was no getting through to him. I knew I had no choice but to accept it and I went ‘Okay’. Once I did that, he had full control over me and he knew it.

She described coming home from hospital with their newborn daughter on a cold day. It had been snowing outside, she recalled.

She had asked her husband to make sure the car seat was inside so they wouldn’t have to stand outside. He then started calling her names and giving out. She remembers saying, ’I only asked you to make sure the car seat was in so we wouldn’t have to stand outside the hospital.’

I was just sitting in the front of the car crying and my daughter was in the back, she was hungry and started crying and he said, ‘There you go, you bloody bitch, you’re just as bad as your Mam, another whingebag.’ And that was how we brought our daughter home.

She said that when she stopped working, she would ask him for money and he would scream and throw things. One time he put his arms around her neck and threatened to choke her, saying she was a burden.

“Once that happened, I was completely trapped. The only thing I could think of was if I used my life policy and cleared the mortgage, that the children would be safe. I couldn’t see any other way.

One night I tried to kill myself so that the children would have money and be safe. I couldn’t think of any other way that I could do anything for them.

She said that on another night, she noticed he was in a mood and twitching so she went to bed to try and not get involved. A few days later, she noticed marks on her son’s body and realised he had hit her son when she wasn’t there.

When I saw that I went, that’s it. That’s it, out of the house now.

‘Nearly half domestic violence calls not recorded on Pulse’

The two-part online documentary UPFRONT: Domestic Abuse delves into the different forms of domestic abuse – from physical, psychological, emotional, sexual, financial to online, and looks at the various support options available.

Since 1996, 39 women aged between 18 and 25 have been murdered in the Republic of Ireland. Of the resolved cases, 52% of the women were murdered by a boyfriend or former partner.

According to gardaí, domestic abuse is “everywhere”, affecting women from all walks of life.

However, the true scale of the problem is yet to be revealed as 45% of domestic violence calls are not recorded on the Pulse System, according to the findings of a Garda Inspectorate Crime Investigation Report from 2014.

This week a new Domestic Violence Coordination Team was launched for Ballymun and Santry.

The online current affairs documentary series UPFRONT: Domestic Abuse is exclusive to RTÉ Player.

Read: Beaten, neglected, left home alone – The report ‘every parent in the country needs to read’>

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