Dear Ellie Phillips,
Recently I stumbled upon a video about your admission of living through an abusive relationship. First of all I would like to say that I’m truly and deeply sorry that you ever had to experience this and how brave it is that you faced it head on.
I’m more than happy to give credit where credit is due.
However, after watching your short clip in its entirety I have to say I’m incredibly disappointed in you as a journalist.
I’d like to mention now that I respectfully require anonymity due to the aggressive nature of my abuser.
As a woman who experienced a terrifying four year relationship based solely on a power trip, I feel your so called ‘survivor’ status is making a mockery of domestic abuse victims as a whole.
I say ‘victims’ because I believe the term survivor should not be used lightly.
I spent four years of my life trapped in a shell of myself because of my abusive boyfriend. Now I understand that eyebrows are going to be raised once I mention that it was my choice to stay with him.. but let me explain why.
Before I met him I was a bright 14 year old teenage girl with a promising future, loving family and close group of friends.
One of these friends introduced me to -let’s call him- Chris.
Chris was well known at school, he was the class clown and all round ladies man (somehow).
Chris told me he found me interesting and asked me on a date, completely taken aback and caught off guard by the mere idea of it I immediately said yes.
Fast forward six months and everything was just perfect, we were best friends.
Although for some reason I began to notice a little bit of taunting from my classmates. I also realised that my friend count had dropped considerably.
As any other person will know, when you’re experiencing troubles in life you turn to your best friend, so naturally I told Chris about my concerns and he was amazing. He really was, he told me over and over again how he would always be there for me in my time of need, how I was his one and only and that it would always be us against the world.
Now.. as you can imagine, a 14 year old girl being told all of this is like something straight out of a fairytale, so of course I believed every word he said and every lie he told. Why wouldn’t I..?
This is when I decided to cut my losses and try to make some new friends, Chris introduced me to his and I tried to make a go of it.
Jump ahead another 6 or so months and once again things got a little rocky, Chris’ best friend had taken it upon himself to make my day to day life a living nightmare. I couldn’t understand it, I didn’t know why this was happening to me again. I started to doubt my self worth. Whenever i tried to explain this to Chris he would laugh at me for being “dramatic”.
By this point the few relationships i had left with friends and family were beginning to deteriorate, they didn’t agree with my relationship and they certainly didn’t approve of my treatment from his friends.
Then something happened that changed even my own opinion, I confided in Chris about being sexually abused two years prior to our relationship, but I had very little time to celebrate my own personal achievement when the abuse rolled in, everyone knew, I was branded a liar an attention seeker and a “sick individual”.
So here I am, 16 years of age and feeling completely alone, I couldn’t even trust my boyfriend because I was petrified of him.
I decided to turn to a family member for support. He convinced me I had to go and see a doctor, that’s when I was diagnosed with depression.
When Chris knew something was wrong he turned back into the person I thought I was in love with, he asked me to keep him up to date on the verdict (typical fake sentiment).
Although, the response I got was far from what I was expecting, I can even quote it to you word for word because even thought eight years have gone by, those words will forever be etched into my brain.
My loving, caring, supportive boyfriend said to me: “so does this mean I have a girlfriend who pops pills everyday?”, ladies and gents what a guy, am I right?
That was the last straw for my parents, I’d officially lost any right to talk about this guy in their company. I had no future anymore, my education and any job prospects had slipped away. I self harmed daily, I was bullied mercilessly and my parents had to stand by and watch it happen.
But I still stayed.. because I had nothing left, he reminded me of this every single day. He would tell me how my friends wouldn’t stand by me if he wasn’t around, that my problems weren’t problems as far as he was concerned, and I was mimicked whenever I cried over it.
But then I left school, I was 17 and in college, I was making a go of my life, I finally built up the courage to leave him and get my life together, for a very short while.
He went to my college, he somehow managed to use this as a way of getting into my head, my friends were brainwashed, they were too scared to speak to me. I was alone again, the only way out was to be with him so I begged until he took me back. He enjoyed every single minute of the control he had and I lost what little bit of self respect I had left.
One particular evening my emotions were running high and I was a wreck, I cried for hours on end in his room but I had absolutely no consolation. All I got was mocked laughter and taunting from his friends while he played games on his xbox.. I managed to work up the courage to take off his headset and ask him to speak to me, but before I could make sense of what was happening I’d been thrown across the room.
My boyfriend punched me in the chest.
I know you’re thinking I should have ran there and then, but he manipulated me.
He cried, he said he was sorry and it’d never happen again. So I forgave him and to this day my family are unaware that he ever physically abused me and it’s probably for the best.
The day it finally ended was the day he left me for another woman even though I knew he was cheating on me, he still had the satisfaction of getting out first. A lot of things became apparent after we broke up, I heard it through the grapevine and first hand from my friends, so Ellie, here’s a little list for you;
– My boyfriend physically abused me
– My boyfriend verbally abused me
– My boyfriend cheated on me with my ‘friends’
– My boyfriend emotionally abused me
– My boyfriend sexually assaulted me
– My boyfriend told lies about me
To this day, I still suffer from depression and anxiety, infact I’ve recently been diagnosed with Body Dysmorphia Disorder, I have to take tablets and go to therapy for the foreseeable future.
All because I fell In love with a monster.
Ellie, I’d once again like to commend you for speaking out, but I fail to see how you’re helping anyone by specifically stating that you’re strong, successful and Independent because..I’m not.. but at least I’m still alive and that’s all that matters to me.
You specifically stated in your video that if it could happen to you it could happen to anyone but the thing about that is you are just anyone, like me.
It’s about recognising that there is a way out.
It’s telling people that suicide isn’t the answer.
It’s understanding that men can be victims too.
But most importantly it’s about teaching people how to reach out and get help.
Forgive me if I’m wrong but I must have missed that section of your video.
Next time you decide you want to raise awareness about something, please refrain because you’re only making it worse.
A disappointed fellow journalist