But I love him
I refused to report my violent partner to police, and when I finally found the courage…
I locked myself in the bathroom, terrified
Looking at my outfit in the mirror, I glimpsed Harry’s lip curling in the reflection.
‘You can’t wear that, you look a state,’ he huffed. My heart sank. I wasn’t big, but my boyfriend Harry would often make nasty remarks about my weight.
We’d been together since October 2016 – and, at first, he’d been a sweetheart.
He didn’t have much money in his wallet, but that hadn’t stopped him spoiling me.
Spontaneous camping trips, bike rides in the country, long walks in the park.
But less than a year later, everything had changed.
Fun days out were a distant memory, and our afternoons were now spent indoors arguing instead. Harry was insecure, jealous. So I clung to the good days, catching glimpses of the old Harry. The cheeky lad who’d been besotted with me at school.
They were few and far between…
‘He’s no good for you,’ Mum warned.
‘But I love him,’ I sighed.
The depth of my love was enough for me, but not for Harry.
He raged about me going out or messaging friends.
Wanted me all to himself.
In August 2017, I was working in the local pub when Harry came in.
‘You OK, babe?’ I asked, catching the familiar anger behind his eyes.
‘What do you think?’ he snapped.
I moved away to serve a lad at the bar, and suddenly Harry rushed towards me.
He launched himself at me, trying to grab me and pin me against the wall.
Bouncers were soon on Harry, pulling him away.
‘I’ll do what I want. She’s mine!’ he yelled out.
The bouncers threw him out of the pub.
Embarrassed and in shock, I tried to carry on as normal.
But after work, I called the police, reported the attack.
My parents banned me from seeing Harry.
‘But I love him!’ I said again.
And it was true. So I told myself that what had happened at the pub was a one-off.
I began seeing Harry behind my parents’ back, even dropped the assault charge against him.
‘I’m so sorry,’ he told me over and over. But who was I kidding? A couple of months later, Harry saw that a random bloke had ‘liked’ one of my Instagram stories.
‘Who the hell is this?’ he demanded.
Then Harry snapped, smashing the walls and doors.
I locked myself in the bathroom, terrified of what he might do.
When I finally emerged, Harry tried to slap me in the face, but missed.
I stared at him in disbelief that he was trying to hurt me again.
And I called the police for a second time.
Harry was arrested on suspicion of assault, and instantly my stomach turned to jelly.
I didn’t want him to get into trouble. I just wanted the old Harry back.
He told me again and again that he was sorry.
‘He’s not a bad person,’ I pleaded with Mum, but she wouldn’t listen to me. She said I couldn’t live with her while I was with Harry, hoping it would help to end things between us.
But in January 2018, I moved out and set up home with Harry. And three months ticked by in perfect harmony.
It was easy to put everything that had happened to the back of my mind. My friends had longer
checking on me regularly.
I woke up one morning to a text from one of them.
If anything happens again, call me.
When Harry saw it, he flipped, snapping my phone in half in front of my eyes.
I shouted as he ripped the radiator off the wall.
‘What are you doing?’ I yelled.
‘Why did they text that?’ Harry roared.
Before I could speak, he wrapped his hands around my neck.
Fighting for air, I pummelled my fists against his chest.
How can he do this to someone he claims to love?
When he finally let go, I raced to the door.
But I only got as far as the living room before Harry punched me in the face, grabbed me by the hair and threw me to the floor.
As he rammed my head against the front door, black spots danced in front of my eyes.
I lost consciousness for a moment.
Staggering to my feet, Harry’s hands were around my throat again.
Drained of energy, I went limp, ready to give up…
Then, with a sudden surge of strength, I rammed my knee between Harry’s legs. ‘Aghh!’ he screeched. It didn’t stop him, though, as he threw me to the floor, stamping on my leg.
The pain was so intense I let out a blood-curling scream. It seemed to break his rage. ‘Don’t come near me again!’ I bellowed, racing to the door.
Seeing my GP the next day, he found 19 injuries all over my body, including serious ligament damage to my leg.
How could Harry do this to me?
This time, when I called the police, there was no way I was dropping the charges – no matter how hard it was. Now I wanted justice. In August 2018, Harry Akester, 19, appeared in court accused of two counts of assault and criminal damage. At the time, I was told there was a possibility he would receive a lifetime restraining order.
Instead, after pleading guilty, he was handed a three-year restraining order and was made to complete 20 days of rehabilitation. He left the court a free man. In just two years, he can contact me again.
He deserved much more.
Since we’ve been apart, I’ve landed myself jobs in modelling and car sales.
I’ve got my own place and have reconnected with Mum.
I’m stronger than I’ve ever been, and I know I won’t go back to Harry ever again – or any man like him.
It’s been a painful lesson to learn, but it’s not love if they’re hurting you.
I deserve so much better than that. Every woman does.
I won’t go back to him ever again – or any man like him
The brutal attack left me with 19 injuries…
Surely the ‘old Harry’ would come back to me..?
…including bruising all over my body He stamped on my leg