Domestic abuse comes in all shapes and sizes. It’s malice and manipulation makes it near impossible for many victims to walk away unscathed.
That is the hope of Krissy Kross, who broke her silence and shared her domestic abuse story online:
The brave survivor shared screengrabs from a string of texts she received from her abusive ex-husband.
Kross explained the incessant harassment she received from her partner, who ‘was a kind, loving man’ until she lost weight and got a job.
From that time onwards, Krissy’s husband accused her of cheating with a colleague, Tony, and punished her by sexually and violently abusing her.
These texts are a verbal manifestation of his abuse, that will be painfully familiar to many.
An estimated 1.8 million Brits aged 16 to 59 have suffered at the hands of an abusive partner, both physically and emotionally, according to the Home Office.
He hit me and sexually assaulted me. He waited outside my work for whole shifts, not telling me if he was carrying the Beretta M9 he had purchased recently.
Krissy lived in fear felt by all domestic abuse victims, caught between her husband’s warped sense of ‘love’ and his violent nature.
I wanted to go out with two (female) coworkers for my 23rd birthday. I told him weeks in advance and when the time came he punched me in the face and slammed my head into the floor, only leaving me alone because he had duty that evening.
Through a disgusting cocktail of violence, abuse, manipulation, tests and false affection, Krissy’s husband pushed her to the edge and left her feeling suffocated.
After suffering years of abuse, Krissy ‘tried to go to the police in the middle of the night, but he tailgated me the whole way’ in a display of intimidation that has no place in a happy home.
Recognising the relationship was neither loving nor healthy, she persevered and ‘finally got the guts to leave when he hurt my dog and kitten’.
Her bravery is particularly commendable when you consider that 76 per cent of domestic homicides occur shortly after a woman has left the perpetrator.
Krissy was able to escape a fate that befalls too many victims, with the help of her family, friends and through legal procedures designed to protect those who have had the courage to leave.
It has been three years since Krissy saw her ex-husband for the last time, in a courtroom where he pleaded guilty to ‘a handful of misdemeanours and two felonies’.
Krissy concluded her story, saying:
This isn’t really a sob story; I’m really proud of what I’ve done on my own. I just wanted to share for possibly some closure since I never really got that.
Strangers on the internet are better than keeping it inside for so long. I save these text messages to remind myself how far I’ve come, not to cry over.
Krissy is not alone. One woman in four will experience some form of domestic abuse in her life, according to Refuge, the national domestic violence charity, and two women are killed by a partner in England and Wales every week.
Equally, according to a 2010 study by Parity, more than 40 per cent of victims of domestic violence are male.
Overall, domestic abuse-related crimes recorded by the police last year accounted for approximately one in ten of all crimes in this country.
Sandra Horley CBE, chief executive of Refuge, told UNILAD:
Every couple has arguments and disagreements – we all say and do things we later regret. But domestic violence is systematic, purposeful and patterned behaviour designed to control another person.
If a woman is forced to change her behaviour because she is frightened of her partner’s reaction, then she is being abused. Domestic violence can be physical, emotional, psychological, economic or sexual.
Abuse tends to become more frequent and more severe over time; even if you are not being hit, you may still be being abused.
If your partner is excessively jealous or possessive, or if they control where you go, who you speak to, how you dress or wear your hair, your money, these are all signs of domestic violence.
Abuse can also involve humiliating and threatening behaviours – like driving fast because your partner knows it scares you – or purposefully isolating you from family and friends.
Abuse could make you doubt your independence, or manifest when your partner consistently checks your private messages and dominates the domestic scenario with their manipulative mood changes.
At times, it’s easy to make excuses for a loved one when their violent and psychological manipulation is directed at you, and shrouded in emotion and isolation. It is harder to accept the truth of the matter: Domestic abuse is criminal.
— Refuge (@RefugeCharity) July 24, 2017
It is against the law. You are nobody’s punching bag – emotional or physical. You don’t have to live with it, and there are plenty of people out there who can help. The first step is to recognise you are being abused.
For support and information, you can call the Freephone 24-hour National Domestic Violence Helpline, run in partnership between Refuge and Women’s Aid on 0808 2000 247.
You can also call the Men’s Advice Line (managed by Respect) on 0808 801 0327.
A former emo kid who talks too much about 8Chan meme culture, the Kardashian Klan, and how her smartphone is probably killing her. Francesca is a Cardiff University Journalism Masters grad who has done words for BBC, ELLE, The Debrief, DAZED, an art magazine you’ve never heard of and a feminist zine which never went to print.