In fact it starts before that with his secrecy, strange behaviour and outbursts. These should have been warning signs – but the well-known, popular television and radio presenter, not knowing what more was in store, did her best to keep the peace.
But this was not the first time Going had been exposed to unpredictable behaviour and violence. Her story tracks back and forth to her childhood and school days when she would wait peeping through the curtain, for her drunk father as he staggered up the pathway, stopping to vomit. Or when she’d try to protect her sibling twins from the noise as his took out his wretchedness on her mother. This will never happen to me, she thought. I will never be beaten up. Never. Ever. History has a cruel way of repeating itself.
The book touches on a number of remembered incidences, hopes and dashed dreams in her life, and also on the many people who played significant roles. Going’s troubled brother who dies tragically in an accident weeks before his time in the army is up. Her then five-year-old son who tries to put cream on her badly bruised eye, her caring domestic Wilhelmina, the loyal friends who stood beside her in court and not least her devoted mother. But if the beating and the violence she describes are shocking, worse is the court ordeal. ‘He’ who remains nameless throughout the book (‘this is my story, not his’), is as menacing, sly, deceptive and vindictive throughout the drawn-out proceedings as he had been in the later stages of their short lived relationship. At one point he even jumps bail and leaves the country. The series of prosecutors, the cross-examinations, the patriarchal defence team, the manipulation are all alarming. The twist of the knife is when incredibly, the magistrate declares that ‘he’ ‘deserves another chance’ and finally, accuses her of exaggeration and ‘speaking to all and sundry in the media’. One can only hope that one day that magistrate reads her book.
In conclusion at a time when the country is imprisoned by a rampant virus and so many women are literally trapped in homes with abusive partners, as hard as it was for Going a woman of status and privilege to be heard and believed, how much harder, if not impossible it is for them. This is a shocking but vital book.