My Escape From Domestic Violence – By A Survivor

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My ex husband was very controlling, he would shout, call me names, hit me and also rape me. I was always told what I could or could not wear and never allowed to go out at night. He had full control of all the money and would spend it on drink, and he would get drunk.

He left the family for another woman and came back 5 times. One day I remember, I had put a little lipstick on and he pushed me so hard against the door that I bust my head open. I did not realise it was bleeding till I was half way to school with the kids. I had to wipe it away and thankfully no one noticed. My head really hurt but I did not go and get it checked out and just left it. Looking back now, I was scared and had I known about women's aid and other agencies I would have left then and there. To this day no one knows my story, so now I am sharing it with you to promote awareness of Domestic violence.

It was all thanks to the school nurse, head teacher and social worker who met me at my kids school. In just a matter of weeks myself and my family were to have a new life. A child protection plan meeting was held and my kids were all put on protection. They told my ex that he had a week to get out of our home and if he had not left by the time the week was up, that the police would remove him from the premises forcibly.

I was pregnant at the time and that week seemed to me like a very long week. On the night before my ex was due to leave he forced me to have sex with him and he hurt me. I wish now that I had told someone at the time but again, as I said, I had no idea what services were out there for women and men in the situation I was in.

I was appointed a women's aid worker immediately after my ex had left who was fantastic to myself and family through what I can only describe as a hellish time. At Christmas time we tried to enjoy ourselves even though I could not provide much for the kids. On Christmas day I miscarried my baby.

I kept getting nasty text messages from my ex, so I changed my number and did not reply to any of his messages. I gave all the messages to my social worker. At first when I was appointed a social worker I was very worried and felt scared. I always thought what if I do something wrong? Are they going to take my kids off me? But it was the complete opposite. She really helped me and kept reassuring me that I was doing a great job and that none of it was my fault. I would always ask her if I was doing a good enough job and would often wonder what I should be doing or if I was doing alright. I put my trust in my women's aid worker and it was then that she was able to fully help us.

My ex came round to the house one night and very nearly managed to get my youngest daughter out of a window. He had been drinking again and had his drink with him. I was able to get my daughter back off him and safe in the house but during the whole thing my daughters arm had been marked which worried and scared me as she was on child protection. I got all the children upstairs while my ex was banging on the window. I called the police 24 times and finally after an hour and a half they came and were not understanding at all. I had to show them all the paperwork from all the meetings with my social worker. I can remember the police officer saying “I don't understand what the problem is, he only wants to see his children.” They had no idea my house had been flagged or anything. That's why it was important to report it which was a difficult thing to do, but I did it.

My ex kept coming round every 2 nights and on Thursdays when he got paid and got drunk he would start banging and shouting. I would phone the police and they would come and take him away. I would then phone out of hours social care as this all made me very jumpy and anxious. It got so bad that when the postbox clanged or there was a knock on the door I would jump. This all went on for a month and a half.

I was called in to the police station to make a statement and through social services my ex was taken to court. I did not want to attend court, I just could not face him. My women's aid representative went on my behalf. I felt physically ill when I had heard the case was going to court. On the day the trial was to take place it felt like the longest day of my life. At 5:30pm my women's aid worker called me and told me he had been given a year restraining order to keep away from myself and the kids, plus he had to report every week to the police station.

I was relocated to a new home in a new area and told not to have any contact with anyone from my past, not even my best friend. It was a difficult time for all of us as the children had to leave their friends and school too. Over time we made new friends and settled in to our new lives and home.

We are survivors of domestic violence and doing well now. I would like to thank the following services that gave myself and my kids a better, new life.

Social services, Women's aid, Sure-start family centre and the school nurse.

Please remember that you are not alone even if you feel like it. There are services out there that can help.

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Please find links for help and advice below

Womens Aid Website –  https://www.womensaid.org.uk/

Womens Aid Twitter – https://twitter.com/womensaid?ref_src=twsrc%5Egoogle%7Ctwcamp%5Eserp%7Ctwgr%5Eauthor

Womens Aid  Facebook – https://www.facebook.com/womensaid/?hc_location=ufi

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