One Person’s Survival at the Hands of a Domestic Abuser
Looking at the survivor rather than the perpetrator.
As a writer for true crime, it is nice to write a story that has a positive end. One that results in a person of true courage learning to survive and live with the most horrendous of ordeals. More articles should be written about those that triumph, rather than the perpetrators of crimes.
Tony, was the victim of domestic abuse for more than six years. Domestic abuse is the process of eroding every part of a person. The abuse is intended to disempower, minimise and belittle a person. It can starts suddenly with a mean comment here and there. It can then move onto control, the perpetrator talks over you or starts speaking for you. As the power escalates so does the behaviour of the individual.
The start of the relationship
When Tony’s third marriage ended it was time to start looking for a new relationship. Hoping to find true love on a dating site, the couple arranged their first date. On the first meeting, they hit it off immediately. They had so much in common, they would talk for hours. So infatuated with each other they moved in together within three weeks of the meeting.
The relationship continued the same as it had from the beginning. There was plenty of laughter and good times. The pair made memories. It was inevitable that they would get married. Six months after they met the pair enjoyed their wedding day. Friends and family watched the couple commit to each other. That was when it all started to go wrong.
To death us do part.
Less than a year into their relationship, Tony accidentally spilt oil on the kitchen curtain and the abuse started. It started with verbal abuse and shouting and spiralled from there. Soon the verbal abuse turned to physical, punches on the arm, slaps around the face. At the height of the abuse, Tony was threatened with death. Tony was hit with a claw hammer around the legs and stabbed through the hand.
Then, one day, I was laid on my bed and they straddled me and started punching me in the face and head.
Romantic meals would be cooked to make up for the behaviour, which would then be fed to the dog, leaving Tony to starve. At the height of the abuse, the pair had separate rooms. This didn’t stop Tony from being woken up with a manic face looking down smiling, trying to intimidate.
I honestly thought each night could be my last. Every morning I’d wake up and think, ‘I’m still here’.
Having nowhere to turn and no way out of the abuse, Tony tried to commit suicide. This was the turning point. Having survived the suicide attempt, Tony stumbled upon a help group who suggested that all the events were written down and a diary kept.
With the help of a friend, Tony started documenting the abuse, taking photos and sending them as text messages for Denise to log. Recording the verbal abuse and again sending the evidence on, so it could not be found. Together they compiled a detailed picture of the abuse that Tony had suffered for more than five years. The reason they had to go to this extent before reporting it to the police, was that Tony was convinced that no one would believe what had happened.
The main reason for this was that Tony Hannington was a 56-year-old lorry driver who had been brutally abused by his wife Tracy. He, like so many men, did not think he would be believed if he told the police that he was being abused. Tracy would play into this belief, by saying she would tell the police it was him abusing her and everyone would believe her.
Although one in three men are victims of abuse, many think they will not be believed. Be honest with yourself when you read this story were you thinking Tony was male or female? This common misconception was the basis for the fear that Tony felt.
Justice at last
Tracey was jailed for one year for the abuse she inflicted on Tony, with one year suspended sentence. She could have been released from jail after six months but failed to show any remorse for what she inflicted on him and ended up serving eight months. The sentence was short. She could only be charged with minimal charges as Tony had never attended accident and emergency with any injuries. Choosing to hide his shame and bandage himself up. She was also given a restraining order of a further three years.
Tony talks about his experiences, hoping to encourage more men to come forward with similar stories. He states he was turned away by two centres because they did not cater for men. He eventually found the Poppy Centre in his hometown, which caters for all kinds of abuse. He believes that more needs to be done to support victims of domestic abuse, regardless of gender.
There are many survivors of domestic abuse. In a world of true crime, it was nice to spend some time looking at a true survivor. Tony is learning to deal with the abuse he suffered. Through his strength and courage, hopefully, more men will be encouraged to come forward and seek the help they need.