Friday, 14 June 2019

Write … Edit … Publish … Bloghop: Caged Bird …


That wasn’t … was it … surely he couldn’t know I was home … my stomach sunk … nope – I wasn’t going to answer the bell … but if he knew I was home – how could I avoid having to face him.


WEP Challenge for June 2019

I’d been to hell and back to get that restraining order … I’d been intimidated long enough, my child suffered as I did  - we lived in constant fear … but I thought those days were over, seemingly it wasn't to be until the authorities helped us to get new lives … what now …


There he stood … smirking – knowing I’d be in a heap inside … my stomach churning … then he demanded to see his (our) child – who I’d made sure was in the back-room and couldn’t hear … but I had no choice – he said he knew his child was here … how?


Restrained

This happened time and again during the restraining order … and each time he seemed to know exactly what we’d been doing, what we watched on the tv, how we entertained ourselves …





Terror was coming over me – I really couldn’t handle this form of abuse any more … I just wanted to end everything – but what would happen to my child …


I was really struggling to stay in control of our day to day existence – I felt overwhelmed … waves of negativity flooded over and through me …


My estranged husband had always been coercive – he had isolated me from my family and my friends … at least now I could contact them – but … this abusive man still knew what was going on …




My heart was pumping … I needed to resolve this … someone suggested I meet with a domestic abuse charity …


Various smart appliances

… then I learnt all the horrors that he’d been perpetuating, and through a charity I was able to see how he’d been able to control us, even after the restraining order …





That was a few years ago – though the damage won’t leave me, I am coming to terms with life where my child and I can live in relative peace …

Domestic Violence kept me caged as a bird …

I read an article on the aspects of knowing your tech – hence ‘this story’ … as spying can occur through so many smart devices now-a-days … apps via phones can be linked to door bells, smart products (thermostats, home security cameras, tvs, domestic appliances, toys, that Echo thingie)  etc etc) … these open us all up to unprecedented levels of control and surveillance … be aware … be very aware, be aware for others too …

Hilary Melton-Butcher 
Positive Letters Inspirational Stories

69 comments:

Hels said...

Oh no :( ....the fear and the damage go on and on forever, long after the scary behaviour has ended. The best that a parent can hope for is that the child was protected.

My spouse never harmed my family. But a relative asked my mother's doctor to euthanase my beautiful elderly mother. Although mum had the protection of her doctor, rabbi, aged care home and hospital, the police didn't have enough evidence to take the relative away. My beloved mother was basically fit in mind and body, yet she died a fortnight later. I will never recover.

Mike@Bit About Britain said...

That is absolutely horrific, Hilary. No one should have to live through that kind of thing, no one has the right to terrorise another individual, to take away their life. Brave post - well done, you.

Elephant's Child said...

Oh Hilary.
Yet another tale of caged birds which yanks on my heart strings. Fiction yes, but sadly truth for far too many. Poignantly penned.

Yamini MacLean said...

Hari om
Clear and impactful... and you give justification to my desire to NOT have 'smart' devices!!! Brava. YAM xx

David M. Gascoigne, said...

Hello Hilary: This is a tragic story that I fear has been, and continues to be, repeated more often than we generally realize. It is a tragedy of immense magnitude and reveals the depths to which human cruelty can reach. I had not realized it was fiction until I read one of the comments above, and thought it was a recounting of your own experience earlier in life. You have in any event, graphically illustrated a situation that should be sobering to us all, and perhaps it will lead us to be vigilant for signs that someone might be in trouble, and needs help.

Hilary Melton-Butcher said...

@ Hels - I can think of things in my life ... but thankfully I've coped and got through. Your mother's story sounds so sad and so unfair ... I feel for you - as you say it'll never go away. Just desperate to read ...

I have experienced something similar ... but everyone got the wrong end of the stick ... I've coped I'm pleased to say ... though am not sure others realised.

@ Mike - I know, when I read the article I thought this is ideal for this WEP ... thankfully it's not me. Though in some ways there's a correlation ... but different.

@ EC - yes fiction, but so often the truth for many .. I'm just glad I've never been to those depths of despair. I've had my moments but come through ...

@ Yam - I know ... Smart devices and Facebook particularly are really dangerous ... and can be so twisted by others.

@ David - I'm glad it's not me ... it's the worst kind of reality people live with ... we hear it and see it on tv, radio, social media, the papers etc.

Thankfully this is fiction ... but I've had some experience of it. I'm glad you've reminded us we can be vigilant for others ... and be there for them.

It was the article I read that inspired this WEP post ...

Thanks for visiting and like me - you're all aware of the cruelty or manipulation that occurs on the vulnerable in society, or sometimes marriage - we can all help by being aware ... thank you - Hilary

Susan Flett Swiderski said...

Unfortunately, this story is true for way too many women, and I suspect that being in a cage is exactly low they must feel. I'm glad she finally learned the truth and was able to fly free of him.

Great job!

Have a super weekend. Cheers!

jabblog said...

This is too close to home. It has taken several years for our daughter (Frankie's mother) to regain her confidence. She's much stronger now but still, on a bad day, the wretched sociopath who nearly destroyed her sanity can turn her to jelly with his comments and behaviour.

Chatty Crone said...

I read every word - that was excellent writing on a very important subject.

Inger said...

I had a friend this happened to, she ended up committing suicide with a gun. You wrote this well, it touched me deeply.

Debbie D. said...

Powerful story, Hilary! I am glad to know it's fiction, but sadly, too many people find themselves in similar situations. Yes, it's frightening to think today's technology can intrude and spy on us so easily. We absolutely must educate ourselves about all the possibilities.

Janie Junebug said...

Oh, Hilary, you write this so well that I feel the fear.

Love,
Janie

Anabel Marsh said...

Chilling story.

The Real Cie said...

In the end, a restraining order is a piece of paper and there are a lot of sexist police officers who don't take it seriously. There are still a lot of things that need to change.

Liz A. said...

Scary. It's so easy to spy on people nowadays. We must be vigilant.

Olga Godim said...

It is horrible that so many people responded to this challenge with stories of abused women. This topic is so close to the surface and affects so many, it is truly scary. Our society is supposed to be free and democratic and all those other high-brow adjectives, but the reality is somewhat different, isn't it? Some people are more free than others, just like Orwell wrote in his dystopias so many years ago.

Denise Covey said...

Hi Hilary. I had to wait to calm down before I could comment on this. Such a searing story and absolutely non-fiction to way too many women. The restraining order is useless against these high-tech gadgets and often a police force and judges who favor the abusive man. Not all, but way too many. How many times do we hear that a woman has been killed even though she'd taken out a restraining order? False security.

Nevertheless, you have created a truly scary story. Communicated her fear. Her worry for her child. Yes, as Olga said, 'caged bird' has invited stories of domestic abuse. Sadly. When will these caged birds be free?

Thanks Hilary.

Hilary Melton-Butcher said...

@ Susan - I know ... I keep seeing articles, or snippets on the news and it must be just dreadful ... and being closed in without having the security of being able to get free must be horrific. When people can get help it must ease the nightmare to have someone to turn to, and get some help ...

@ Janice - yes I wondered re Frankie - and now you've confirmed her dreadful experience. I'm glad she's more stable and being with you both must have helped her hugely. How we let our judgement become poor is beyond me - I've been there too. I feel for Frankie - but am just glad I never had a child. I'm sure they will both come through ... thank goodness for your support ...

@ Sandie - thank you ... it seemed to fit the prompt ...

@ Inger - oh how very sad Inger ... she must have really suffered, and it affects so many.

@ Debbie - yes I'm glad it's fiction - but sadly true for many others. I'm not sure how we control our technology - unless we just don't ever use it ... but if we're aware - and more importantly educate our children ... at least we know about the possibilities and what might be going on ...

@ Janie - many thanks ... I was glad I was able to write something simply - to remind us all about the spying element possibilities in our day to day lives ...

@ Anabel - it affects so many ... good to see you ...

@ TRCie - I'm sure I didn't get the mechanics of the story correct, as I've never actually experienced the system route ... but I just wanted to remind us all of the nightmare spying that can go on.

@ Liz - yes ... we must be aware of what our own devices can tell others.

@ Olga - yes I was interested to read that many of the WEP entries have gone this route ... and I nearly went with another story, but thought domestic abuse deserved the attention ...

I would hope that there may be 'some' of these people around ... but most of us are honest down to earth normal everyday members of society ...

There have been a lot of articles and reminders about Orwell's 1984 book recently ... I must give it another read ... or read one of the recent biographies of him.

@ Denise - many thanks ... I know quite a few bloggers volunteer for various charities, e.g. the Samaritans, Lifeline - which provide (immediate) emotional support and who can then be encouraged to seek proper medical support within their community.

In writing the story I had to bring in elements I knew nothing about to round the story-line out ... but to highlight the damage these high-tech gadgets can mentally inflict on the innocent victims, and remind us all how we need to be aware.

Thanks for appreciating the story - and I'm glad it's resonated with everyone ... but it's interesting others have gone this route.

I hope more of the 'caged birds' can be freed, than succumb to more abuse or the long term effects of previous or ongoing abuse ...

It's interesting how many of us have used this prompt to write stories about domestic abuse, or abuse of another person ... so thank you all for your contributions here and with the other entries - I'll be over during the day. All the best - Hilary

Thank you all so much for your comments about a very difficult subject for those affected - we can all be more aware - Hilary

Joanne said...

excellent story. I found my stomach clenching. Glad it's fiction,but sad that it is fact and life for so many women. I've been fortunate and not endured that horror. But I feel for women who do - I do some charity work for a local women's shelter and they need more funding,etc. Shining the light through your blog can only help somehow.

Jacqui said...

That is just awful. And nothing works. I can't imagine a life like that.

bazza said...

You know why the caged bird sings...
CLICK HERE for Bazza’s ultimately unthinkable Blog ‘To Discover Ice’

D.G. Kaye said...

A frightening story indeed that is familiar to too many people. I'm glad this was fiction, but sadly, for many, it's not. I know all about being stalked, so I speak from experience. :)

dolorah said...


Very well done Hilary. There are so many forms of domestic abuse, and so many devices that aid in stalking. There is no such thing as privacy any more, let alone confidentiality. Makes a person want to disconnect from the modern world.

Hilary Melton-Butcher said...

@ Joanne - this small part of this person's story is fiction ... but most of these stories are much worse. I'm glad you help out with a local women's shelter, as many helping or /and) donating always helps. Blogging, I find, reminds me or let's me know about subjects I might not have come across or need reminding about.

@ Jacqui - when I read the article and the Smart phone abuse ... I could put that aspect into all of our lives - just thankful it doesn't happen to most of us ...

@ Bazza - yes ... I do know why the caged bird sings from the stories in the WEP bloghop reminding us of this sort of domestic abuse ...

@ Debbie - stalking is awful ... I've only been followed once in London by a stranger up a street - but had to escape via the back entrance of a hotel ... I can't imagine what you experienced ... glad you got through ...

@ Donna - yes domestic abuse comes in all shapes and sizes, and in so many devices now. Privacy is another matter - let alone confidentiality ... it does often make me want to disconnect - but I do enjoy my blogging!

Thanks so much everyone - it's been an interesting revelation for the stories this month ... domestic abuse, or abuse of any form is just so unfair. I know we all wish peace in our family life, our communities and for all peoples. Hilary

Keith's Ramblings said...

A chilling tale indeed and sadly, all too common in one way or another.

Pat Hatt said...

And sadly many people still don't realize they can be monitored with all this stuff, a stalker's delight. Can make breaking free of abuse even harder.

Jemi Fraser said...

Powerful.
As a teacher, I have worked with far too many children and their parents who have been in abusive situations. It is heartbreaking for all - and the repercussions are long lasting!

Pat Garcia said...

Excellent, Hilary.
I had a class given by an ex agent who made the statement that with today's technology it is very hard to drop out of sight if you don't have a plan. He even said that you should tell no one including your family. He also brought in the role that smartphones play in keeping abusive husbands aware of where their wives are and what they are doing. It is indeed horrible.
Shalom aleichem,
Pat G

Vallypee said...

Powerful stuff, Hilary! I felt my heart beating faster as I read it. It seemed very real!

Christine Rains said...

Nicely written. Strong emotional piece. And yes, it's so easy for people to spy on other people that way. It's frightening.

Chrys Fey said...

My half-brother was abusive. The damage of what he did won't leave me, neither.

Christopher Scott Author said...

A well written emotional piece. Well done, Hilary.

Andrea Ostapovitch said...

I recently read a fiction work about domestic abuse, and am currently reading a memoir about domestic abuse. They are one and the same. Kudos to anyone who writes on the subject, brings it to the light.

Hugs,
Andrea

Susan Kane said...

Abusive and terrifying, so horrible. Someday, he will come up against a woman who can take him out.

Very powerful.

Nilanjana Bose said...

Technology can be a terrifying cage by itself. And when twinned with domestic abuse becomes a killer weapon. As you say, we all have to be careful what footprints we leave and where.

Great take on the prompt, Hilary. Thought provoking and informative as usual. Kudos.

Hilary Melton-Butcher said...

@ Keith - yes ... it's quite daunting in normal life to realise what's going around us - these women suffer all the more ...

@ Pat - I know people are gullible, yet we're all guilty of not completely understanding. People in abusive situations really need help - a lot of it ... their abusers are so vengeful ...

@ Jemi - I can imagine the dynamics you see as a teacher ... must open your eyes to things going on or developing in the children's and parent's lives. I imagine the repercussions just add another difficult challenge, even if the actual abuse has stopped ...

@ Pat - thank you. That class must have been so interesting to attend ... I'd like something like that. I don't like having my smart phone tell me where I am - but did switch the location finder on ... only to be asked if I thought a local museum was good or not - I just don't want that: especially as I didn't ask for it.
Going back to your comment - about keeping everything as secret as possible ... makes sense - sad though. Interesting your speaker mentioned and confirmed the link to smartphones and abuse ...

@ Val - many thanks ... just must be terrible living that way every minute of their lives ... it's always there, even if the abuse (to a point) has been dealt with and stopped ...

@ Christine - good to see you. This frightening thing ... of keeping tabs on someone is too horrible to contemplate, but we must remember it happens to others ...

@ Chrys - oh dear ... your story sounds really difficult, particularly with your health problems - so I do feel for you, and feel the pit in my stomach as I think about it ... thank you for letting us know here. It's good that you're enjoying your life now as an author and good to see and hear you ...

@ Christopher - thanks so much ... the emotional aspects really upset one's way of living ... apart from being unfair and cruel.

@ Andrea - I have to admit it's not something I want to read about ... but this article caught my eye - and I felt the caged bird theme could be tied in to a short 'story' line ... a few of us in this month's WEP have used this trigger for our posts ...

@ Susan - one hopes these people get caught and have a taste of their own medicine ... but once the damage has been done - it's difficult to 'lose' it ...

@ Nila - Thank you I'm glad you found it thought provoking .. that's what I wanted us all to feel and remember. Technology could be described the way you've suggested ... technology could be (is) a 'terrifying cage' itself - and when one adds in domestic abuse ... it could so easily b ea killer weapon. Yes - we need to be aware of footprints left ...

Thanks so much everyone ... we have had some thought provoking comments, as well as some who have been prepared to describe briefly their own experiences. We can all be aware and ready to help others - should the time be right, should they need it, and importantly should they agree to it ... abuse, violence, bullying, inciting are all dreadful human traits. Let's take care of ourselves and families, and help others when we can - thank you - Hilary


Sally said...

Heart wrenching, although fictional, it is true in many cases. Trying to protect your child, along with yourself, is truly brave. The power of technology these days is frightening. Well written.

Julie Flanders said...

Wow the tech spying is so scary and I can't imagine how frightening it would be in this kind of situation. Very powerfully written, Hilary!

Great to "see" you and I hope you are well, my friend!

Beth Camp said...

Even the punctuation choices highlight the fear this narrator experienced! Adding the mystery of how the abuser 'knew' what she was doing at all times is harrowing. And yet the story points to true escape and redemption for our narrator. Yes, we need to 'know' stories like this for protection on many levels. Thank you!

lissa said...

Whenever I read one of these stories, I always hope that the person escapes because it really is hell. But with a child involved, it's more difficult. She would have to do what is best for her child and not just her.


Have a lovely day.

N. R. Williams said...

Hi Hilary
I love that you're writing now. Abuse is such a terrible thing and so many suffer from it, including me. I think you're character is a survivor though. Well written.
Nancy

Hilary Melton-Butcher said...

@ Sally - when I read or see about these types of abuse it really 'hurts me emotionally' ... so I hate to think what a sufferer is going through. Yes - with a child in tow ... just makes it doubly worse.

@ Julie - the tech thing is worrying ... because so many just don't seem to be aware of it ... perhaps they're lucky in being able to get on with their lives without apparently needing to be aware. Others ... abuse is rampant - poor things ...

So good to see you around again ... thanks for popping by!

@ Beth - thank you re the punctuation and the comment ... I'm afraid it's the way I write and now can't write normally! Still I'm pleased it's added to the storyline. Once you've suffered in this way - it's difficult to escape completely. Technology can be not so good, even though it appears to help ...

@ Lissa - I so agree with you ... one hopes they can escape - yet even those imprisoned can be let out ... and that fear returns. You're right ... she certainly needs to do what she can to protect her child, to ensure they both have their safety ...

@ Nancy - thank you ... I'm giving these WEP storylines a go and see what happens. Yes - I can see in people's answers that the abuse has happened to them - I feel for you and them ... just take care and hope all is better now. Sounds like my character is a survivor - strong and positive despite the knocks ...

Thanks so much for visiting everyone and for your comments - it seems like many of us took to putting a woman or a man in a proverbial cage ... it'd be great if humanity would engender care and peace. At least we all become more aware - all the best to you all ... Hilary

L.G. Keltner said...

This sent chills through me! Restraining orders don't always bring peace, not when a person like this man is determined to keep them living in fear. Technology can be wonderful, but it can also be turned against you in horrifying ways. Thank you so much for sharing such a powerful story with us!

Carrie Ann said...

So sad. Technology is definitely a two-edged sword and intrusive!

Tyrean Martinson said...

That's a super scary place to be. It's always good to turn off the smart devices now and then and renew the privacy/security settings.

Kalpana said...

Interesting take on the age old domestic violence story. He knew everything that they were doing because of smart devices. Fascinating. I loved the little image that explained the whole story so well.
Thoroughly enjoyed your story and really appreciate your visiting my blog more than once to try and comment on it.

Hilary Melton-Butcher said...

@ Laura - I have to say I don't know the 'ways' of restraining orders - but it sort of helped the story line - but I know they definitely don't help keep people away. Technology definitely has its good points, sadly too its bad points with some taking advantage where they can. Thanks ...

@ Carrie Ann - you've described technology correctly ... a two-edged sword and intrusive.

@ Tyrean - this experience must have been awful ... even if it's not real - the sort of effect it would have had (as described in a couple of comments above) is too true, as we see in real life ...

Thanks Tyrean - your suggestion we all turn off our smart devices now and again and renew the privacy/security settings makes a lot of sense ...

Thank you ... many of us have used the prompt this way in some form or other ... and I've enjoyed everyone else's storylines ... cheers Hilary

Hilary Melton-Butcher said...

Good to see you Kalpana - I'll be over to comment shortly, as I see it now works ...
The images seemed to fit the prompt and bring the story-line to light a little more. Unfortunately domestic abuse with its technology update hasn't changed - perhaps may be worse ... because it's so intrusive with so many different gadgets all connected ...

Cheers for now - and thanks for commenting - Hilary

Bernadette said...

A scary story. While smart tech is made to help people, there are people using it to abuse and scare others.

moondustwriter said...

Living it still.
Though not everyday.
Great write Hilary
Thanks

Roland Clarke said...

Strong emotional piece. Our wired world is making an old problem worse and more frightening.This felt personal too. Well crafted.

M. Denise C. said...

Excellent story with a valuable lesson, Hilary! Thank you so much. Cheers, Denise

Hilary Melton-Butcher said...

@ Bernadette - I know there's always an up and a down to everything in life ... if only we could use things without intimidating others ... tech is great, but used in the wrong way it is/can be too horrible ...

@ Leslie - I'm sure many do carry on living with it ... as we saw above from some of the commenters - at some stage not everyday ...

@ Roland - thankfully it's not personal ... though some minor aspects of personal could come across. You could be right there about making an old problem worse - and that could be applied to other aspects in life ...

@ Denise - thank you ... we do need to remember to be aware and to be aware for others ...

Thanks everyone - thankfully not personal, though some overtones ... let's help all who feel trapped and ill at ease - Hilary

J Lenni Dorner said...

The Caged Bird prompt has brought out so many stories of abuse. This is a really interesting take on it in that it's also informative. Most people don't know how to survive off the grid, or even think about how to do it.

Really good share, Hilary.

Hilary Melton-Butcher said...

Hi J Lenni - everyone seems hooked to their phones don't they. I just took my cue from the article I read and tried to reinvisage (and reduce) it for the prompt ... and trying to highlight we all need to be aware for others - as so many suffer abuse and we don't know. Thanks for being here - Hilary

Jo said...

Unfortunately it isn't always possible to know when someone is being abused. I reported child abuse twice, I was told mistakenly, not convinced but... The idea of such an abuser being able to electronically spy in you is a horrifying one.

Hilary Melton-Butcher said...

Hi Jo - yes I realise that ... it's difficult being a good citizen - sometimes one isn't believed ... I hope they weren't being abused - still you did your best. Now with smart devices there's so much we don't know about - fortunately most of us don't need to worry ... but for some it's horrifying.
Thanks for your comment - all the best - Hilary

Lynda Dietz said...

Hilary, this makes such an impact. Horrific and yet real for so many.

Operation Awesome said...

Well written and very informative. Great use of the prompt.

Hilary Melton-Butcher said...

@ Lynda - yes, so real for so many ... wish we could do just live our lives peacefully - but we do need to be aware of smart technology ...

@ Thanks Operation Awesome good to see you here ... appreciate the comment.

Cheers to you both - and thanks for your visits - Hilary

troutbirder said...

Isolating... a sneaky horrible was of gaining control..:(

Rebecca M. Douglass said...

Really well-written and chilling story. All the worse that it's all too real.

Hilary Melton-Butcher said...

@ Ray - yes I do feel for anyone put in this position ... so horrible and debilitating - as you say: a sneaky awful way of gaining control ...

@ Rebecca - sadly too real for some women (and occasionally men) out there. Thank you for the comment.

Cheers to you both - it's bad enough dealing with people, but then to cope with technology too ... just makes life so difficult. Good to see you - and thank you for being here - Hilary

Susan B said...

Hi Hilary.
What a wonderful piece. Fiction or experience ? you keep us hooked throughout. I love your use of ... and hesitant words which enhance the onset of panic fear.
The choice of pictures are very insightful and really bring even more tension to the story.
Beware of all these connected new devices. I hope you drap a little cloth, or stick a magnet onto your webcam while you are on your computer. Alarms ok, but home cameras ? maybe not such a good idea ! Beware of 5G, it gives cancer and the antena polls provoke deadly magnetic waves, 1000 times more powerful than your micro-wave oven and make birds drop dead from the sky !
Scientists have been doing research for years and alerting the public for months now !

Thank you for sharing. Have a lovely day. Heat wave all over France, this week up to 40 degrees Celsius. Speak with you soon.

Hilary Melton-Butcher said...

Hi Susan - I gather the heatwave has hit France ... looks like we'll avoid the worst of it (over the Channel) - it is, now though, delightfully clear blue skies with a breezey wind ... at long last the tennis can settle in.

Thank you re my entry - essentially fiction, with some minor aspects being experience ... but with so much going on - that others can get access to, and if the opportunistic nasty desire is there - to control people, who might not be aware of the situation, or how to deal with it.

Thanks for the visit ... I don't have a camera here and do little on social media - but inevitably one is caught up in the various webs ... cheers Hilary

Toi Thomas said...

What a scary and emotional story, so well-written. So close to reality, it's barely fiction.

Hilary Melton-Butcher said...

Thanks Toi - glad the 'concept' of the story came across and it sort of felt near reality - it'd be a lot worse if it was real ...

Just awful what people have to go through to be at peace, and how cruel people can be to others ...

Thanks for visiting and appreciating the idea that's come out of this post - Hilary

cleemckenzie said...

You've given voice to so many women who suffer from abusive relationships. Well done!

Hilary Melton-Butcher said...

Thanks Lee - it seemed to tie in with the development of great ideas that can be used unscrupulously ... I'm glad it resonated ... just wish we could get eliminate the world of controlling elements over our lives. I feel for those with domestic abuse ... good to see you - cheers Hilary