Racey* and I met on a Mediterranean cruise in June 2014.
I worked as a singer on the ship and she came up to me after my performance one night to ask if I would sing a tune for her in my next show. There was an initial attraction between us and we casually flirted with each other.
Each day, we would have conversations after my shows or at the poolside with a drink, and on the last night of the 14-day cruise, we kissed and exchanged numbers so that we could keep in contact.
It felt like we were the perfect pair; I never imagined that this woman, who I was falling in love with, would go on to racially abuse me.
Even though I was working on the cruise ship, I’d have some time off every two weeks when the ship would dock in the UK. She would drive for hours to meet me and we’d go on dates.
When we weren’t together, we’d talk everyday through texts and phone calls. I was crazy about her – everything about our relationship seemed perfect and after a few months of this, we made it official. Despite my being Black and her white, I had never felt so loved and comfortable with someone.
It was Racey who first suggested that I move in with her – our long-distance relationship was proving difficult and she felt this was the only way we were going to last. I moved to an unfamiliar place for a partner once before and it didn’t work out, so I was apprehensive.
I also had no idea about the area Racey lived in. Ultimately, I decided to give love a chance and I was excited to start this new chapter of my life.
By Christmas, we were living together.
The first hint of racism actually came from Racey’s ex-husband, Frank*, which was a few weeks after I moved in. We’d had a problem with his and Racey’s son bringing drugs into our house, so I invited him to a co-parent talk. When I tried to offer some advice, he got angry.
‘Why don’t you go back to where you came from you w*g,’ he said ‘and take care of your w*gs there.’
I was stunned to hear that sort of language but that quickly turned to anger, and was made worse by the fact Racey said nothing. I confronted them both, but Frank denied having said it and Racey defended him as the father or their son.
To receive this type of racist abuse from someone I loved was heartbreaking and has left permanent scars
Eventually, I was able to move on and brush it off but my relationship with Racey became strained.
After four years of being together and one year of marriage, racism reared its ugly head again. Yet again, we caught Racey’s son George* with a considerable amount of illegal drugs in his possession in the house.
I took them away and sternly told him that I wouldn’t tolerate having drugs on the property. He shouted at me: ‘I will do what I want n****r, this is my house.’
Things then escalated, with him calling me even more racist names before texting Racey: ‘You can do better than this n****r.’ I felt like George had always resented me for moving into his family home with his mother, so he lashed out in this way.
I felt incredibly low. I had received the odd racist abuse while working on the cruise ship, but nothing as blatant as this.
In the days that followed, Racey became increasingly fuelled and enraged with racial hatred and abuse.
By the summer of this year, she argued with me everyday and subjected me to constant race name calling, including ‘black c**t’ and implying horrendous things about my daughters from a previous relationship.
She took any chance she could to say something racist. I think she may have been influenced by her ex’s views and it was all just bubbling to the surface now. I wasn’t perfect but I never resorted to calling her awful names.
During one argument, I told her I couldn’t be with someone who was going to racially abuse me and that I wanted to end things. She reacted with violence, after which the police intervened.
Things escalated when I started divorce proceedings so she forced me to move out by illegally changing the locks – even though I had been paying towards the house for seven years.
I never expected racism to be part of my life with Racey. I tried to give love a chance – even though I didn’t know the area she lived in or what her house was like – and it blew up in my face.
To receive this type of racist abuse from someone I loved was heartbreaking and has left permanent scars. It was also very damaging to my mental health and I’m still trying to recover from it.
Racey and I are now in the initial stages of a formal split. She has at least now accepted the situation; meanwhile, I haven’t been able to move on because I think I need to reevaluate relationships and myself. I need to properly heal before I try finding love again.
As a man, I felt helpless. There are a lack of resources for men who experience domestic abuse, especially when it is racially motivated. I tried to look up statistics about abuse within interracial relationships and hit a blank.
I would like to see more support for men who experience domestic abuse and hate crimes. I also think we need to train our police officers to assess situations properly.
After Racey illegally changed the locks when I wasn’t at home, the officers who responded to the incident assumed I was the one in the wrong. Even when I told them to have a look at the file, they just ignored me.
Change will come about when perpetrators of domestic abuse are properly punished and justice is served.
I also feel there is a huge stigma attached to being a man who suffered abuse, so I have never spoken to friends about it.
I feel like this stigma is even worse for Black men because you just never hear about it happening in our community. I was scared to talk about what happened to me because I knew people would laugh at me and see me as weak – so I just didn’t open up.
I feel very alone in what I’m going through.
I’d say to anyone in the same situation, please don’t hold on for it to get better, it doesn’t it only gets worse. Find someone who doesn’t discriminate.
*Names have been changed.
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