Nightmares, panic attacks, fear of persecution. These are things that Anke K. from Neuruppin has to live every day. For years she was beaten, threatened and persecuted by her husband. She had to give up her apartment and has lost contact with her children. Even today she meets her husband and wishes nothing more than for him to leave forever.
It was Christmas 2001. "I will never forget this," says Anke K. (name changed by editor). On Christmas Eve, she had just made herself comfortable on the couch with her daughter while watching a Christmas movie, when her husband came home once again drunk as a skunk. He stormed into the room, just went for Anke and hit her right in the face – in front of her eleven-year-old daughter Jessica. "That was the day I moved out of the bedroom," recounts the woman from Neuruppin. But it was to get much worse. All addiction counseling failed, her husband became more and more aggressive and when Anke finally dared to take the step to separate from him and move out, he pursued her and threatened her for years. Today, she is still married to the 59-year-old, involuntarily, because alcohol destroyed him so much that he couldn’t get the necessary paperwork together for a divorce.
When Anke (57) met her husband back in her native Thuringia, she initially wanted nothing to do with him. He attended the officer school there. They met for the first time in a disco. He wrote her love letters and at some point she decided to give him a chance. In 1977 the couple married and soon after he started drinking. It got worse and worse. "I really believed that he would stop again," says Anke. But after Jessica was born in 1990, he drank more and more often and ultimately became violent as well. "In 2008 he was ready to accept help, at least that’s what he told me. Also that he is in a group, but there he also drank."The two sons also experienced their father when he had drunk too much again. "I no longer have any contact with them today. I didn’t want to drag her into it." Jessica went off the rails herself, was a drug addict and became a mother at an early age. Anke’s grandchild lives with a foster family in Kyritz, but every two weeks she visits her grandma. "Little Puppi gives me a lot of strength," says Anke.
In the nightgown she ran out of the house and called help
Anke needs that, too, because she has been through a lot in the past four years. On 5. July 2011 she moved out of the shared apartment at night. "I was almost asleep when he came into my room, pressed his hands firmly against my throat and threatened to kill me," Anke recounts. "Fortunately, I had my cell phone in my hand the whole time and was able to free myself." With nothing but her nightgown on, she ran outside and called her friend for help. She came by car as fast as she could. "She said it couldn’t go on like this. I think if it wasn’t for her, I would still be sitting in the apartment."The police also came that night. Anke had reported her husband for assault for the first time. Many more criminal charges followed. Anke was almost a regular at the police station, and it took a lot of strength for her to tell everything anew each time.
She temporarily stayed with her friend and had to give up her job because her husband was constantly lying in wait for her there. The police forbade him several times to approach the apartment, but he never complied, started to riot and break the windows. He chased Anke again and again and intercepted her in front of her friend’s apartment. The girlfriends swapped bikes, but that didn’t help either. Once, he threatened her with a blank pistol in the nail salon. "He said he would kill me first, then the dog and then himself." He was then remanded in custody for a day. Anke went to court. "He kept walking up and down in front of my door. I couldn’t get out of the house," Anke continues. He had long since been allowed to come within 100 meters of her.
The husband went to jail for half a year
Anke withdrew and ate the frustration inside herself. "I often just sat at home and gained a lot of weight during that time," she says. He called her often, at all hours of the day, and left her a message on the answering machine. Anke alerted the police again and again. At a court hearing, she hid behind the lawyer so she wouldn’t have to see her husband. "As long as she’s here in Neuruppin, she’s in for a surprise," Anke remembers her husband saying. The judge had asked him if he wanted to win his wife back. "Of course I want my wife back," was the response. In retrospect, Anke would have wished for quicker help from the court and the police. "They are rubber laws," she says. For half a year her husband was in prison. Anke does not know exactly why, only that he was released. "He may not have paid the fines or the legal fees."
Anke spent three weeks in a psychosomatic clinic, five weeks on a health cure and three months in a day clinic because she still suffers from panic attacks today. "It just doesn’t get out of my head. The anxiety comes suddenly, I can not influence it." Since September 2011, she has been living in her own apartment – on the fifth floor. "I really wanted to get to the top so he wouldn’t find me," she says. Did but.
The women’s shelter and the White Ring helped
Anke knows that he was watching her. He often stood in front of her mailbox for a long time. The staff at the women’s shelter helped Anke a lot, she says, and so did Rosemarie Bohme of the White Ring in Neuruppin. "We were able to finance a vacation for her to get her out of her environment for the time being," says Rosemarie Bohme. It has also assisted Anke with criminal charges and attorney visits. Anke is currently working in the federal voluntary service at an association and has a quiet and hidden corner there where she can retreat to. When nothing else helps, she gets on her bike and rides for miles to clear her head.
Even today Anke is plagued by nightmares. "The feeling is always there, the fear. Just can’t let it go." She last saw her husband six weeks ago while shopping. Anke was standing at the checkout when she spotted him two customers ahead of her. She hid behind a woman and held her breath. Sometimes they meet in town. "He still calls after me. I’m just mad now and want nothing more than for him to leave forever."