Christmas domestic violence applications include three pregnant women
Woman tells court her husband has been beating her ‘since Christmas night’
Family Court: Judge Sinéad Ní Chúlacháin heard a 30-week-pregnant woman was woken by her husband who then pushed her into the living room and ordered her to undress. Photograph: Stephen Collins
Three pregnant women were among applicants at the Dublin District Family Court yesterday who experienced domestic violence over Christmas.
One woman, who was 30 weeks pregnant, told Judge Sinéad Ní Chúlacháin how her husband of eight years came in from work in the early hours of Christmas Eve, woke her up and told her he wanted to “finish this”.
He pushed her into the living room and told her she was acting as though she was the boss, but he was the boss.
He shouted, threatened to kill her and ordered her to take off her clothes. She asked him “not to do this”, she said. He pushed her onto the sofa and forced himself on her.
During the ordeal, their small son woke up and appeared at the door. Her husband told him to close the door and go back to bed.
Afterwards, he told her to see to their child. She said she left the house with her son, both of them in pyjamas. She also said she saw the “cover of an axe” in their bedroom.
Another woman, six months pregnant and a mother of several children, said her partner had been beating her “since Christmas night”.
She had been in court on four other occasions following domestic violence, including in October when she got an interim barring order, but she did not appear in court for the full hearing.
She said her partner had moved away and she thought he wouldn’t return. But he came back a few weeks later. There were no problems at first, but then he became abusive again. “I’m all battered and bruised,” the woman said.
The judge granted an interim barring order and urged the woman to return to court next week for the full hearing.
A third woman, 15 weeks pregnant, told the judge she was on the phone to a friend at 8.30pm on Saturday evening and her husband had just gone to bed. He came back into the sitting room shouting that she was disturbing him. He pushed her to the floor and pushed her face into the ground, her nose and lip were bleeding. She called a friend to take her away.
She said he phoned a pastor to come and talk to her. “The church people say forgive each other and live together, but I’m too scared to live with him,” she said.
In another case before Judge Ní Chúlacháin, a woman returned to court after being granted an interim barring order against her husband just before Christmas.
He had pushed her down the stairs while drunk, poured oil over her and attempted to set her on fire. When his lighter would not work, he went looking for matches and his wife ran to a Garda station. She told Judge Ní Chúlacháin she spent Christmas Day in a hospital emergency unit with fractured ribs.
“It’s just like a switch goes off and he’s a completely different person,” the woman said.
“I’m terrified of him at this stage.” Giving evidence, her husband said they had both been drinking and were “ranting and raving” at each other. He did not think he threw his wife down the stairs and could not remember pouring oil on her, but could not deny it.
“I cannot understand how I have done what I have done,” he said. He had concerns about his social welfare payments if a full barring order was granted. Though he could live with his mother, he couldn’t use her address for social welfare. He said he was sorry and wanted to go to marriage counselling. He told his wife he loved her.
“My mam could have been burying me last week,” his wife said.
The judge said she was very concerned that the husband could not remember anything about what happened. She suggested he get help for his drinking problem and granted a barring order for one year.