*Molly’s husband smacked her around whenever he felt she was being ‘a lazy and stupid bum’, while their 6-year-old daughter watched quietly in the hallway. She prayed for her husband to stop one day. He never did. This is her heartbreaking story...
*Molly and *John lived in a condominium in Katong, and were a well-to-do family of three. I visited *Molly in her new home yesterday, and she shared her story with me. *Sarah was dressed in a pale blue frock, engrossed in her colouring. She’s a smart and outgoing child, but there was a certain sadness in her eyes. As I walked in, I saw pretty photographs hanging on the walls, and everything seemed picture perfect to me. Little would I have known that they once lived in an equally beautiful home where little *Sarah witnessed her mum being assaulted by her dad. We sat together, *Molly and I, as she narrated her story to me. With each word she spoke, with each tear that fell, I too died a little on the inside.
When I got married, it was like I was living a fairytale. The whirlwind romance just like in the novels, the storybook proposal, the extensive wedding planning, the actual marriage, buying our first condo, and then welcoming our precious baby girl, *Sarah. Little did I know that my happiness was going to be short-lived. The jovial, sweet, kind-hearted man soon turned into a real-life monster. I am sharing my story here because this is an outlet for me to speak the truth, and free myself. I know many women will judge me and say that I wasn’t strong to leave quick enough. But when you have a child, leaving becomes an unfortunate last option. This was happening for years, but I have finally taken a step to setting myself free.
From fairytale to horror story
The first 2 years before I had *Sarah, things were fine between us. Yes, there were the occasional minor arguments, but nothing serious. He would come home late after work, so there was not much interaction to begin with. Once I took on the role of a stay-at-home-mum, he started coming home earlier, and I was happy about this new change in our home. We had more time together, and with our newborn.
Things started to change once *Sarah started going to kindergarten (at age 3). He used to come home feeling angsty. He would throw things around randomly, ask for food rudely, and demanded to be told where I had spent the money he had left for home expenses at the start of the week. We had been fortunate to be living well, so spending was never an issue. And now it was. It bugged me, so I asked. That’s when it all started. He slapped me hard across my face, telling me to shut up and not talk back to him. I was shocked as this was the very first time he had ever laid a finger on me. I cried myself to sleep that night, with *Sarah in my arms.
The next day I asked him what was wrong, as he wasn’t acting like himself. I thought he may have had a rough day at work and I may have provoked him. To my horror, he slapped me again, just as hard. I didn’t let it be, I continued demanding for an answer. “What was wrong, tell me and we can fix it together.” He would just storm off, or shut the door on us. *Sarah was too little then to understand what was going on. She kept on playing through the whole commotion. This made me feel less guilty, but I knew that when she got older, and could make sense of what was happening, I would not be able to ignore it anymore. Of course, I never expected him to continue.
The years went by and *John and I would have some happy days, then he would transition into that beast again. I tried countless times to ask him to seek help, and even reached out to his colleagues, but nobody said anything about him showing signs of anything negative. I never told them what was really going on. Only my mum knew. She kept telling me to walk out on him, or to call the police.
But this is what I thought: “He doesn’t beat me enough for it to really be considered domestic violence”. Yes, I realise how stupid I sound now. But this kept me going. I would immerse my time in teaching *Sarah, taking her for classes, cleaning the house, trying out new recipes, visiting friends and family. I started to treat him like a guest of the house, who would just come home to sleep. But not before finding fault with me, and hitting me a little.
Click on the next page to read more about *Molly’s live-in nightmare.