The air in the room was palpable as I rounded the corner to take a seat; my body rigid as a rock as I placed one foot ahead of the other until I finally found an empty seat. I could feel his eyes on me, boring into my skin the entire time. I avoided his gaze as much as I could, as I struggled to control my breathing. I was donned in a halter neck, long-sleeved black dress, and my face was caked heavily with makeup. My whole ensemble was chosen with the sole aim of trying to cover up the marks and scars spread across my body.

Marc used to be a sweet and loving man. At some point in time, I truly believed that he loved me. He was kind to me, not hesitating to shower me with gifts of all sorts. He took me to wonderful places and literally worshipped me like a queen. I was the happiest woman in the world.  

In all of this, I did see the red flags. There were the litte signs that should have made me run for my life: from the not-so-gentle tap on my cheek when I shouted at him during a fight, to the seemingly punishing spanks when we makeup after a fight. However, fool in love that I was, I ignored them all. It was not until we were pronounced husband and wife that the beast in him was fully unleashed. But at that point, there was no going back.

My ‘perfect man’ molested and abused me; physically and verbally, over the littlest mistakes. He picked on everything I did until I believed I could do nothing right. He bullied me until I forgot how to even smile. Marc slowly but surely  made me into a social pariah. I became a shadow of my former self; self-esteem, confidence, and pride – all gone. As expected, my forgiving body adapted and I soon became numb to it all — the beatings, the insults, the pain, the assault. I was living like a zombie — dead but not quite. I began to expect the torture each day and like my menstrual period every month, it surely came.

Why did I stay? I stayed because I was too scared to leave. No one would even believe me. To the outside world, Marc was a noble man who loved me to pieces and any complaint I had would have had me labelled as ungrateful. I was also afraid to go back home as a divorcee after all the glamour I had portrayed. I did not want to be judged and condemned by the society. Above all else, I still loved him. Somewhere deep down in my betraying heart, I hoped for a change. I hoped that one day, it would all end and we would go back to the loving couple that we once were. I hoped that one day, just one day, it would all stop.

That day never came. Instead, the days only got worse, and the nights, unbearable. This continued until one night, when in a fit of rage, he began to strangle me. He strangled me so hard that I knew I would die if I didn’t stop him. His eyes held a fierce determination to end my life. I knew I didn’t want to die. Even if I had to, I didn’t want it to be by his hands; his hatred and murderous glare, the last things I saw before I succumbed to death. So I mustered up courage I didn’t even know I had, and hit him as hard as I could with the nearest object my hand could find. Then I ran. Fearful as I was, I ran still. I ran like my life depended on it, because it did. And as I ran, I decided I would rather keep running all my life than go back to Marc. I decided I was never going back 

It has now been two months since our separation, and our divorce is underway. I have tried as much as possible to avoid contact with him. I knew it was inevitable today though. It was the funeral of an old friend of ours. I came knowing that he would be here.

Scared? Yes, I still am. He still has an effect on me. I hope I can forget everything, but maybe I never will. All I know is that I’m healing. It will be a really long process and I would hurt through it. Regardless, I made it out alive that day, and I’ll find life again, sooner or later.

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