Around 16 years ago, Jenny and Blake (not their real names) had an “on-off” relationship that lasted for 2 years. Jenny was working at a pub where she first met Blake, over a game of pool. Blake started coming to the pub more frequently and soon after, he asked Jenny out on a date. After being together for about 3 months, Jenny fell pregnant with their daughter “Amber”. Blake “had a very big head, he was very full of himself.” Jenny describes. “I was only 20 when we started going out, I thought he was 28. It was only after being together for about 10 months, when he told me he was 40. He looked very young for his age.” Jenny admitted that she used cocaine at the time, and she knew he was on crack and heroin, but didn’t know the extent of his addiction to it. “His habit got heavier, and heavier, and heavier. From then on, I tried to get out, but I just couldn’t get out.” It was too late.
“He would take me to his mum’s caravan, about half an hour from where I lived, and because I couldn’t drive, he would just take off and leave me sitting there so he could get his drugs. I would have no credit on my phone, I couldn’t ring anyone, I couldn’t get anywhere.”
The violence – Blake would punch Jenny, he tried to set her alight when she was pregnant with Amber, held a knife to her throat, threw a car seat at her, and threw ashtrays at her. He head-butted her once, in an elevator, while she was pregnant. It knocked her out cold. When she came to, all he said to her was “I’m sorry, I didn’t mean to head-butt you THAT HARD.” Those were just some of the things he did to her.
Jenny says “It pisses me off when people say ‘You can get away’. You can’t. Unless you go through it yourself, you CANNOT get away. Because they mentally fuck up your head, you know what I mean? He’d threaten my life in front of his friends. He would threaten to hit my mum, or threaten to go round my sister’s house. So obviously, I’d go back to him, to protect MY family.” She recalls one of her closest male friends at the time had said to her, “I can’t believe how he bullies you.”
“He was the most nastiest person ever. But to everybody else, he was a top guy. He was like Jekyll and Hyde. No one knew what he was really like.”
She moved out several times, but he would always eventually find her. She tried to move to her sister’s house, and he would come knocking on her door in the middle of the night. “It wasn’t fair on my sister. So I had to go back (to him).”
When Jenny went into early labour with Amber, Blake got caught in a stolen car at the same time. So Blake was in prison, while Jenny had their daughter in hospital. When he was released from prison, he said to her that the first thing he wanted to do when he got out, was to see his daughter. But instead, he went off to buy drugs.
And sadly, the same thing happened on Christmas Day. Jenny was left alone with Amber, while Blake went off searching for drugs.
“He used to steal all the money that I earned. He’d go missing for days but if I went out for a night, I wasn’t allowed to do that. The people who actually stuck up for me were the people I worked with at the pub. They’d seen him try to run me over with his car. But I knew if my friends did anything to help me, it would only cause me more trouble. I’d say to them, ‘If you’re gonna do it, you’re gonna have to kill him. There’s no other way it can be done.”
After Amber was born, Jenny fell pregnant pretty much straight away again with their second daughter. Blake had only seen Amber only about 3 times since she was born. And because there was so much violence in their relationship, Jenny would quite often leave Amber with other people. “I didn’t want her to be around him. So Amber and I didn’t really have a ‘mum and daughter connection’. Sometimes I’d have to stay at a friend’s house or sometimes I had to stay at my house to protect what I had, because he would take everything out and sell it.”
“Once I barricaded the front door, and I thought I sealed all the windows, but he still managed to find his way through the back of the house. He got through and I had nowhere to hide. I got absolutely battered. I ran out and he chased me down the road, I jumped over a wall before he rammed his car into the wall.”
Jenny says she doesn’t believe in God, but “He must’ve been looking down at me that day. I’ll never forget the day when I found out he was dead.”
She first got a phone call from a close friend to say that Blake had been arrested for stolen goods. Her friend picked her up from where she was and they drove past where the police supposedly had arrested him. Then she noticed the police tape surrounding the area. That was when she found out that he had died.
“I remember bursting out crying because I was so happy. I remember thinking ‘I’m finally free’. To me, it was the best thing in my life. The next few days were a bit hazy. I found out that the police were chasing after him, and he had some crack, in little bags, that he was hiding in his mouth. He ran, and jumped into a river. He hid in a gap under a boat propeller, he hid underneath that, and it was freezing cold.”
“There were three different stories to his death. One, is he died in the water. Another one was he died on the way to the hospital, and the other was he died at the hospital. Because he was well known by the police, and the police hated him anyway, so nobody really pushed to see the real cause of his death.”
There were at least 500 people at Blake’s funeral and so many flowers there for him. Jenny even remembers the caretaker asking her if Blake was a “gangster.” “The thing was, everybody hated him. He was such a nasty person, but nobody would ever say it to him. Everybody was so scared of him.”
“When people say you can get out… You can’t. Unless you go through it yourself, you physically cannot get away. When they’re doing all that to you and your family, the first thing you do is to protect your own family.
My advice is – As soon as he lays that one finger on you, is to get out. Because they’ll never change. The very first time it happens, even if it’s just a raised hand and doesn’t touch you, you need to leave. You need to get out. Because it’ll never stop.
To this day, if he was still alive, I know for a fact, 100%, I would still be stuck there now, or I’d be dead.”
Jenny is now happily married. Her daughters are grown up and fortunately for them, with their father’s death, they can now live a life without fear.