Domestic abuse is more prevalent than many know. Relationships that look perfect from the outside can be anything but idyllic on the inside.
Kelsie Skillen from Milton, Glasgow, is a makeup artist and hairdresser. When she was 18, she was dating 19-year-old James McCourt, but she had no idea how quickly the tables could turn.
While it’s unclear if he had shown any instability before one particular night that now lives on in infamy, the trouble started on a ride home after a night out.
McCourt had left his jacket at home, but he blamed Skillen for it. Even if that were the case, it’s nothing to lose your temper over.
Whether it was alcohol talking or just his natural rage, he began to rant. When she refused to get him a cigarette, that was too much for him and he snapped.
“He said it was my fault,” Skillen later recounted, “I had left his jacket, then he just flipped and grabbed me and attacked me.”
The brutal assault lasted for four hours, and Skillen had no guarantee she would make it through the ordeal. McCourt made sure of that.
He cut her off from all means of communication, hiding her phone and other electronic devices and cables, and even going so far as to shut off the apartment’s internet.
At one point Skillen was pinned to the ground, with McCourt kneeling on her chest so she couldn’t move as he hit her over and over again.
That wasn’t all, though. The enraged man bit her, spit on her, poured water on her, threatened her, and swore at her.
In a desperate attempt to appeal to any logic that might still be swirling around in McCourt’s brain, Skillen tried to warn him about the consequences of his actions.
She kept asking his “Is it worth going to jail?” The stone-cold would-be killer replied each time, “I don’t care if I go to jail as long as you’re dead.”
At some point the battered Skillen lost consciousness, and wondered if this was really the end for her. She knew he wouldn’t stop short of killing her.
So when McCourt left for a moment to use the restroom, she scrambled for her nearly dead iPad, found the internet cable, connected her device, and contacted her mother.
Thankfully, mom came to the rescue, and as soon as she showed up, McCourt ran off. He was later said to have PTSD. Allegedly, he regrets his actions, but the 21-month sentence he received doesn’t seem to make up for the hours of abuse he doled out.
While Skillen was relieved to hear he was facing jail time, the memory of this experience will haunt her. But she pulled herself up by her own bootstraps, and was able to get out of a deadly situation.
Because of her quick actions (and a perfectly timed bathroom break), this woman is still standing. She illustrates the importance of acting fast, the necessity of having a support group, and the promise of a life after abuse.
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