One of our colleagues shares her story in the hope it will help others…
We are proud to have pledged our support for the Chartered Institute of Housing’s Make a Stand campaign. Since we started supporting the campaign, a number of colleagues have come forward to share their experience of domestic abuse.
“I was, and am, close to my family but due to various issues, he caused a massive rift between us and I was stuck in the middle of it all. I had no one to talk to or turn to. I would cry myself to sleep, because I just wanted everyone to be happy.
After years of us being together, I fell pregnant. It was one of my happiest moments as I was expecting the baby I wanted. But I felt so lonely.
Over time he seemed to change, although looking back he just got worse with his behaviour. He was extremely financially controlling over many things and a lot I didn't find out until afterwards. Nothing was ever his fault and he would never take responsibility for his actions. There was always someone else to blame.
He’d get very angry and constantly lied. I couldn’t trust him. If I were to confront him about anything he would get angry, so I backed down. Or he would go into a mood so I wouldn't question him.
After I'd had my baby, if I went to visit my family he'd get cross and jealous and when I got home it would turn into an argument.
I heard him on the phone to a colleague from work one time and he was so rude to him. I thought to myself ‘I don't want my baby growing up in this environment’, but what could I do? I felt trapped.
Things were not good between us and one evening he said to me I think we should separate. It was like a weight had been lifted off my shoulders. I cannot describe how I felt.
Now I had to be strong and see this through. I insisted me and my baby move out but this was another battle as he wanted us to stay in the family home. But I stuck to my guns.
Somewhere I had found a tiny bit of strength, I had to do this. I moved out, hardly taking anything with me. I didn't want to 'upset' him so I would take the things I needed during the day and make journeys back and forth with my belongings to what would be our new home.
After moving out, it was very hard. I still hadn't explained to anyone how I was feeling and how I felt about him. I didn't like him, I was scared of him. I felt embarrassed and ashamed. I hadn't set out to be a single parent.
What came over the years following our split was no easier. I witnessed aggressive and violent behaviour from him, threats and the continued intimidation which caused undue anxiety.
Police were involved on many occasions.
I was referred to Women's Aid by my solicitor after we had split. They were incredibly helpful and put me on the freedom programme.
I found it so useful as I didn't know anything about domestic abuse and only thought it happened in terms of violence.
This, I found, was not the case. It made me realise it wasn't my fault. A lot of things were always turned round to make out I was in the wrong, the intimidation and putting me down in front of people - in his eyes it was just a joke.
He was my perpetrator. A controlling bully and emotional abuser."
I learnt you can only seek help when you are ready, but there is always someone there to listen.
Below is a list of national support services. However, if you or someone you know is in immediate danger, please call 999.
- National Domestic Violence Helpline: Run by Women’s Aid and Refuge. Call 0808 2000 247
- Women's Aid: For a full A-Z list of local support groups, visit womensaid.org.uk
- Refuge: For support and advice, literature and articles, visit refuse.org.uk
- Men’s advice: Confidential support for male victims of domestic abuse. Call 0808 801 0327
- Mankind Initiative: Confidential support for male victims of domestic abuse. Call 01823 334 244
- Neighbourhood Watch: To find our local branch, visit www.ourwatch.org.uk
- Galop: Support for LGBTQ+ people experiencing domestic abuse. Call 0800 599 9247
- The Forced Marriage Unit: Forced marriage and / or honour crimes. Call 020 7008 0151
- Respect: Concerned about your own abusive behaviour? Call 0808 802 4040