We moved to another church. The only time that a violent attack that left visible marks occurred here. I ended up with two scratch marks on the left hand side of my face. When Church people asked what had happened, I told them I’d walked into a Rose bush. I’m not sure whether people realised that this was the male version of ‘walking into a door.’ Having Cups, glasses and dinner plates thrown at me also started here. Several were broken. Her ‘favourite trick’ of upturning her dinner plate over my head still with her dinner on it started here. Cups of tea were often poured over me, with my thick trousers saving me from being scolded. Prior to the birth of our second child, we attended a ministers retreat. While we were there, it was Sandra’s birthday so prior to breakfast, I presented her with her present and birthday card (1997) which she promptly tore up. This has become another feature over the years – the tearing-up of birthday and Mother Day’s cards from myself. I was so upset with things, I went and sat in the conference centre lounge. A colleague could see how upset I was and I shared what had happen which was the only time I ever revealed anything that was going on , putting it down to Pre Natal Depression. At Breakfast that day, the Bishop made mention that a Minister was celebrating her birthday and got everyone to sing “Happy Birthday”. He then said “Go on , give her a kiss” which was the last thing I felt like doing!!
I thought no one noticed or would understand what I was going through. My parents knew things were difficult and I recall my Father taking me aside one day to ask about our relationship and he said he was very concerned. I told him that everything was fine, and the mood swings were down to Pre/Post Natal Depression. This was never a diagnosis for Sandra always told everyone she was coping very well with being a new mother and no one else had reason to doubt her words. What I didn’t know until 2009 when I started to reveal all the years of abuse, was that our next-door neighbour who had attended minister college with my parents, telephoned my father one morning after hearing me cry all through the night and said to my father, “you have to do something, your son was crying all night.” The frightening thing is that I can’t remember that night in particular, such nights were a common happening.