'Bang, my mum would cop it'

By Robyn Rosen, March 10, 2011

One reader contacted the JC after enduring a lifetime of abuse from his father. After confronting his mother two weeks ago and having his concerns rejected, the 31-year-old from Essex wrote a 10,000-word account of his abusive childhood.

Although we know his identity, we have kept it hidden to protect his mother, who still lives with his father.

One of his earliest memories of abuse was at the age of seven, when he recalls his father exploding in anger after his mother forgot to put sugar in his tea.

"I couldn't stop him tearing at her like a beast," he said. "Dad wouldn't stop shouting over me through gritted teeth: 'Don't you ever get in the middle when I'm dealing with your mother'.

"I was far too weak and he was too dangerous. As she shrieked, the more he savagely punished her.

I couldn’t stop him tearing at her like a beast

"I saw Mum behind him out of the corner of my eye, she was trying to stand up, but she just fell over again because her ribs hurt so much. Mum's lips were swollen and she couldn't stop crying."

He witnessed another brutal attack after his mother tried to defend the family dog.

"Within a flash he took a clump of her hair spinning her around, until she lost her balance under a siren of screams," he said. "In went the steel toe caps causing her to fold over and recoil, then another in the thigh on the same side of the body."

He dreaded returning home from his local Jewish school each day to face his abusive father.

"Every Friday evening Dad would preach the Sabbath, and make me read as he lit the candles, and poured the wine whilst Mum presented the bread," he said.

"With my nervous stutter and my father's little patience, he would go on to crucify me if I struggled or did it incorrectly.

"If the towel wasn't draped properly in the bathroom neatly enough then, bang, mum would cop it. If the toothpaste lid wasn't on, bang, she'd get it. If she missed a bit on the carpet hoovering, hadn't dried the plates properly, or forgot to place a knife on his plate so he could eat, bang, mum would get it.

"Mum thought losing him would be the end of her. Mum confessed that she probably deserved it, and that it wasn't Dad's fault because he worked hard.

"At home Mum and I were almost forbidden from communicating with one another because Dad didn't like me trying to protect her and he was extremely jealous. Quickly Mum and I developed a sort of code.

"This accidental code lasted nearly a decade, made up mostly of signals, sign language and the initials D D, which we used all the time. It was a nickname we gave him, and meant I didn't have to call him Dad, and Mum didn't have to use his real name.

"I'd always be gobsmacked by the nature of other households. Fathers weren't beating mothers in the corner with cutlery, and the children weren't begging Daddy to stop.

"When the other fathers came near, I would become terrified and expect them to hurt me.

"Sometimes Mum would defend Dad's ways or block out things he'd done. Unlike Mum, I didn't think I deserved this, dreaming that one day I could run away.

"By the time she hit 40, her hearing and sight was so bad she had to get these NHS hearing aids and thick-framed glasses. I watched Mum die a bit every day, physically, mentally, and prescribed medication, until there was little left of her emotionally."

He now lives with his partner and has not spoken to his father since his daughter was born 10 years ago.

"He wanted to hold her and started shouting at me about how to do it," he said. "I thought if I give in, I will go down the same road as my mother.

"I fought all my life to save the most precious thing - my Mum. It has left me broken, defeated and living in the past every minute for the rest of my days, fearing one day I'll be like him."

Last updated: 12:48pm, March 10 2011