KAITLIN'S STORY: I spent nine years in domestic abuse hell
I met my abuser when I was only 14 years old. He said he loved me that first day.
We had so much in common.
He kept saying all these nice compliments to me and saying how he had never found anyone like me before.
He even gave me my very first kiss and hug.
I thought he was the best thing as he would always say he would love me and say constantly nice compliments and always ask where I was, what I was doing.
WHY I STAYED - STORIES OF DOMESTIC VIOLENCE SURVIVAL
- My abuser took almost everything I loved - including my unborn baby's life.
- World first campaign aims to rid state of abuse
- How I met my abuser online
- Staying alive was my idea of normal
After a few months he became more controlling - he started calling me constantly at work and became very possessive of my time.
We were together for four years when I found out I was pregnant.
Our mums thought it was a good idea if we got together for coffee to talk about the pros and cons as we both were still so young to become parents.
The abuser's mother said 'you know when you get angry you can't go and throw the baby and get jealous' and he said 'no I won't Mum'.
I thought 'wow - would my partner and soon to be child's father do that?'
I really started to see his true colours during the pregnancy, but I thought I could change him and he would be fine.
It mainly started off with physical abuse - pushing and shoving me into walls and the fridge, pushing his hands on my pressure points all over my body, kneeing me hard in the sides of my legs to give me a dead leg.
One day, he picked me up and threw me across his mum's lawn and onto her driveway. Then all the emotional, controlling, financial, isolating and sexual abuse started.
He would say that I had an ugly body, that I wouldn't be able to find another guy.
He would call me 'baboon boobs' when I breastfed the baby.
He constantly degraded me in front of family and friends.
He said to our son from an early age that 'your mum's a slut', 'she sleeps around' and that I 'don't love him'.
I was unable to see friends and family.
In 2009, I gave birth to our first son - his father threw him across the room when he was six months old.
My abuser always wanted sex on demand - he would try to do inappropriate sexual behaviour in front of the kids.
My abuser allowed me no financial independence.
He had control over all my passwords and pin number.
H controlled my Facebook, Hotmail, Netbank and phone contacts.
He wouldn't allow me to wear any make-up or nice clothes - he wouldn't even let me wear certain undies - and he would accuse me of trying to impress other guys.
Although, I became numb to the constant emotional abuse I would find myself wondering 'why was this happening?'
He chipped away at my self-esteem, confidence and self-image until, by the end of our relationship, I was as an empty shell.
I attempted to leave the abuse a number of times over the nine years we were together.
However, each time he would lure me back in with flowers, saying 'sorry' and crying.
He'd always say 'I promise 'I'll change'.
At first I did still love him and believed what he said. However, over the years I stopped loving him because of the emotional, physical, sexual and financial abuse.
I stayed with him because of my three beautiful children.
I found the strength to leave this 'devil' through the encouragement I received while completing a TAFE course in aged care.
It was here that I met and made some wonderful friends who helped me in the planning of my escape.
Meeting new people gave me the confidence to realise there was a new and wonderful life out there for me and my children.
After the planning was done I told 'the devil' that I no longer loved him and wanted to leave. Unfortunately, I had to stay for another two weeks before I could leave him as my parents were away at the time.
This was when the abuse became totally uncontrollable - he would tell our son that his mum was a 'slut' and 'the reason why she is leaving is because she doesn't love you or your sisters'.
One day he again forced sexual relations on me. - I was crying and shaking, fearing he would never stop.
I said to him 'how can you do this to someone you are meant to love?'
I told him this is 'rape' and he replied 'no it isn't when you're in a relationship'.
I have come so far since breaking free.
I lived with my parents for six months before finding my own place to rent with my children.
I'm constantly making new friends and am back doing things that I love.
I used to think that domestic violence mainly happened to older women, but mine started when I was 14 and ended when I was 23.
Thanks for letting me share my story with you and just remember if you are in the same situation as me, please hold on. The pain ends and there will be light at the end of the tunnel.
Just stay positive and don't give up. These assholes won't get to us because we are warriors.
To read more stories from the Why I Stayed project visit www.facebook.com/TheREDHEARTCampaign