This article is based on a true story of a victim of domestic abuse. The reason for writing it is to unleash that scary fact: do you really know this person?

It will highlight two completely contrasting behaviours exhibited from one person, the perpetrator and the performer. It will expose what really goes on behind closed doors for 1 in 4 women who are subjected to domestic abuse.

Please read on:

“Sharon saw headlights, speeding up the driveway, stopping and parking directly in front of her car. It was a Friday night and about 10pm, so Sharon was anxious as the house was tucked away up a private driveway. Sharon wasn’t alone in the house. Through an exchange programme, she had taken in two Italian female teachers who had come to learn English and they had just arrived that day so were busy settling into their room.

Sharon had taken in the two students in an attempt to keep a roof over her and her son’s head. Her husband was not only physically abusive but also economically abusive by refusing to contribute to the household hills and mortgage upon their separation.

From the driveway, Sharon heard her husband’s voice shouting her name as he walked up the driveway. Her level of anxiety was increasing. He walked to the front door and started banging on it, demanding that she let him in. Sharon replied, telling him that it was late at night and that she wasn’t going to let him in. This further fuelled his anger so started throwing himself at the door in an attempt to break down it down, yelling at her to let him in as it was his house and he had every right to be there.

Sharon told him, she wasn’t alone and that there were two Italian female exchange students in the house and that he wasn’t welcome, repeating that it was far too late to come round the house and whatever he wanted could be discussed by phone.

His aggression at this point escalated: ‘It’s my house and I’ll do what the f*** I want. Open the door you bitch!’

Upon hearing the shouting, the two teachers came out of their room and stood at the top of the stairs, begging Sharon to tell them what was going on. Sharon tried her best to calm them down and told them it was her husband with whom she was separated but that she had no idea why he had come round the house and so late.

Sharon’s mind and heart were racing at 100 miles an hour – all she wanted was for him to leave and for the knot wrenching feeling in her stomach to go. She knew however, that her husband was more than capable of breaking the door down unless she opened it.

Sharon did open the door and as soon as the lock was released, her husband pushed his way in grabbing her by the throat. Sharon used all her strength to escape his grip, fearful of the level of his aggression, knowing he was going to stop. She knew she had to get to the phone to call the police and seeing an opportunity, made a desperate run to grab the receiver. Her husband saw this and lunged at her, throwing her out the way and grabbing the whole phone, ripping it from its socket and throwing it across the room. He then returned his focus to Sharon, grabbing her and pinning her by her throat to the back of the dining room door.

The two Italian teachers had previously been verbally assaulted and told to ‘f*** off out of his house’. They were completely hysterical and hearing all the distress and commotion, had locked themselves in the bathroom.

Sharon used every last bit of strength and energy that she could find and managed to escape his hold, using the broken phone receiver to hit her husband repeatedly until his grip on her throat lessened.

She made a run for it, desperate to get to her mobile phone and call the police.

Her mobile phone was the last chance to get help.

Upon Sharon’s husband hearing the conversation with the police, he within a split second changed from being aggressive into being completely calm and composed. Sharon stunned, watched as he went into the kitchen, where he proceeded to take out a glass and fill it to the brim with gin. Upon this, he then took himself into the sitting room, where he sat down and turned on the TV.

The police finally arrived. Sharon was sitting in the dining room crying, shaking, a complete mess and was physically hurt. The two teachers stayed locked in the bathroom, they were petrified. Sharon’s husband sat in the sitting room watching TV as though he had been there all night.

So I ask again, do you really know this person?

This is the same person you possibly work with, network with, place orders with, go to football with or indeed are related too.

Think about the spine-chilling contrasting behaviours. An aggressor that regularly behind closed doors hurts his wife with absolutely no remorse as ‘she always made him do it’ but equally switches within the space of a split second to that of being calm and composed. The aggressor cannot portray this vengeful animal to the external world and especially the police. This is time for charm – the ultimate Oscar-winning performance. Sadly this performance by the perpetrator plays a huge part as to why victim’s are not believed.

Perpetrators ensure they shine in public, literally appearing the happiest people on the planet with smiles and laughter. The outside world will never see them morph into the physically violent and aggressive person that manipulates and dominates through fear. They need to have power and control to satisfy their huge and inadequate egos, acting out their performance as many times as is necessary to execute your complete isolation.

It is clear that these aggressors, abusers, perpetrators all believe women are lesser – there is no 50/50 or equality. They have male privilege, believing they are superior to women.

Q: What was the relevance of the abuser pouring a large glass of gin?

A: He drove round Sharon’s house already over the alcohol drink-driving limit and this ensured the police did not breathalyse him.

To conclude: Sharon’s perpetrator was arrested and spent that night in a police cell. He was not charged with domestic abuse. The two Italian teachers moved out the next morning, with the exchange programme finding them another home. Sharon it is clear, was a victim of domestic abuse, how many times only she and her perpetrator truly know. She finally left him and is in the throws of rebuilding her life.

Perpetrators choose to abuse and they choose their behaviour. Anyone in an abusive relationship is not capable of any Oscar-winning performance; they struggle on a daily basis to keep their whole life together, that is no pretence.

Finally, do you really know this person?