Shiree Afzal was a mother who cared for her daughters, but was trapped in a fatal relationship with someone she met online. Her boyfriend, Kenneth Macmillan, was loved by friends and family, but behind closed doors he abused and threatened Afzal. Then when Macmillan discovered Afzal was pregnant with their second child, he demanded she have an abortion, according to the Daily Record.
Afzal and Macmillan met in 2009 on an online dating site, according to the report. After six months of messaging each other, the two met in person. It was only a month after the first face-to-face meeting when Afzal discovered she was pregnant with her daughter Abigail. It was at the beginning of the pregnancy that Afzal says “the cracks began to show.”
Macmillan’s verbal attacks quickly escalated. Afzal describes the early stages of his explosive behavior: “I was young, naïve and thought I knew best, but looking back, the signs were there from the start. He’d ignore me until he wanted something, then the insults started and before long he started lashing out. It didn’t matter that I was carrying his baby.”
The physical abuse grew steadily worse when Afzal announced her pregnancy with daughter Imogen, the report states. This time, Macmillan commanded her to have an abortion. When she didn’t comply with his demand, he threatened to kill her, according to the report.
His verbal attacks were deadly, at one point exclaiming, “I will dance on your grave.”
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After four long years of abusing Afzal, both verbally and physically, Macmillan was finally charged with domestic abuse. After hearing the allegations, presiding Sheriff Colin Pettigrew said, “There is only one disposal appropriate and that is a custodial one.”
With Macmillan serving his 20 months in prison, Afzal has moved to Erskine. She said she is sharing her story to encourage woman in similar situations to find help:
“He put me and my girls through absolute hell and they’re still feeling the after-effects…Kenny pushed away my friends and my family, so all I had left was him. He hit me, spat in my face and told me I was worthless, but I had nowhere else to go.
“It only ended when I moved to a new flat. I did the move myself with two babies and he didn’t bother helping me. I just cried for days and days, but, eventually, I realized I didn’t need him. There is never any excuse for what we went through.”
Sadly, men like Macmillan often threaten women to abort. They use abortion to cover their abuses. According to a study in the medical journal PSOL Medicine there is a link between domestic abuse and abortion. The study states, “Overall, the researchers’ findings support the concept that violence can lead to pregnancy and to subsequent termination of pregnancy, and that there may be a repetitive cycle of abuse and pregnancy.”
This story is a startling reminder of the ways abortion conceals domestic violence, and the importance of protecting these women. Afzal urges victimized women to seek help, “Please, find the strength to make the change that could save your life.”