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  1. MY STORY Seven years ago I met a man, he was like a showman, could sell anyone anything, including dreams to young girls. He asked me out for drinks and from that moment on things happened quite quickly between us. We were dating for about several months before he asked me to move to he’s home town (two hours away) and rent a house together. It meant I would have to leave my friends and family aswell as give up my house and job but I was so taken in by this man that I wasn’t thinking clearly . Things seemed great between us but looking back on things now I can see that there was some signs or control in the early stages but unfortunately I chose to ignore them. I fell in love with this man very quickly and would have done anything for him. The day finally come that I moved away from my family home town to start a new life with this man, I was nervous but excited at the same time as I see it as a fresh start for us both. My family and friends all thought it was very strange that he wanted to move me away from my loved ones and warned me but of course I never listened. Five weeks after I had moved away things started to change. This man would drink most days, changing drastically with only a few pints inside him , I began to walk on egg shells and dread him drinking. He would become spiteful towards me and very controlling. He used to put me down, calling me names etc. this would happen on a daily basis reducing me to tears . I knew I had made a huge mistake but it was far to late to go back as I had given everything up , plus I had lost friends and family members due to the decision I made so the only option I had was to stay and make it work. This started getting worse, he started to control who I would talk to, what I would wear and put a time limit on me going to the shops . I wasn’t allowed to work or have friends. I had over eight different mobile numbers in the space of a few years due to him smashing phones up and snapping SIM cards. In the end it was easier to do as he said . He started putting he’s hands on me , pinching me under my arm which caused bruising, pulling my hair and also pushing me up against a hot radiator. I was eight weeks pregnant when he come home drunk and pushed me so hard I lost my balance hitting the floor that caused me to bleed and miscarry. Months went by and I was so extremely unhappy and couldn’t see any way out, crying everyday and so scared of even my own shadow. He’s family knew what he was and how he was but they never once helped me or even checked to see if I was ok. It was at this point that I knew I was alone and felt like there was no way out. I learned to live with it and it become normal life to me. No job, no money, no friends, no life and I eventually lost who I was completely , I never even recognised the girl in the mirror starring back at me. I tried to end things and take my own life on more than one occasion just to ease the pain and not feel this suffering anymore but ending up in hospital with this man beside me explaining to doctors and nurses that I was ill and a little crazy , he played the victim , once again and done it well. I was at the lowest point of my life, nowhere to go and felt so alone and so unhappy, I went from a strong happy confident young girl to a unhappy controlled frightened young girl in just a few years . He always said that ‘I need him’ and ‘I won’t work properly without him’ I guess these words affected me a little and I believed them. I thought I wouldn’t be able to cope without him as he controlled everything even the thoughts in my head. After two years together we had a son together . The pregnancy was hard as the violence still happened and even got worse causing me to haemorrhage twice at five months pregnant and nearly loosing my son . He was four weeks early and we had a few problems with him at the start with I know its because of the violence and abuse during the pregnancy , doctors have confirmed this. Months and years went by and I just become very vacant and learnt to live how he wanted me to for an easy life . I put so much weight on as I began to comfort eat and looked twenty years older than I was due to stress and being so unhappy . My son was three years old when the turning point came into my life. This man decided he wanted a break and moved out and into he’s grandmothers house which was only five minutes away from me. Even though we wasn’t together he was still very much in my life, he called me three times a day, constantly messaging me and calling round to the house on a daily basis to let me know it was on he’s terms and he was still very much in control. I once said I wanted to move back home to be with my family but he went crazy at me saying he would take our son from me and I’ll never see him again. He quite often made threats to me , that he would hurt me, kill me etc. three months went by and things were looking a little positive for me for the first time in years, I had made a friend and I had lost three stone in weight . My friend was celebrating her birthday at the weekend with friends and she asked if I would come, I spoke to him about this and he suggested I go and he would baby sit at my house and sleep on the sofa. I was looking forward to going as it was the first time I was going out in a very long time. My friend come with me to choose an outfit , I would normally get trousers to be covered up as he never liked me showing skin. But my friend told me to try dresses on which looked nice and told me to get it which I did . The Saturday night finally arrived and I was extremely excited but nervous as it’s been a while since I had wore a dress and been out. He arrived to baby sit an hour before I was due to leave. He started on me straight, saying I looked like a cheap slut, a slag and was telling me to make sure I didn’t speak to anyone. Straight away I was back on egg shells, scared and frightened and not looking forward to now going out as I knew I was going to get it when I got home. I eventually got to my friends house half hour late and when questioned I just made excuses up and trying to enjoy the night as best I could. I drunk quite a bit of alcohol and had a nice evening with the girls . I called a taxi and got home around 1.30am calling him from the taxi to say I was on my way, he was at the door when I arrived home . Acting weird and being nice to me. He got me a glass of water and helped me to bed. I remember everything of the night including getting home and getting undressed in my room. The next morning I woke up around 8.00 am feeling terrible , my head was hurting and I still felt drunk, dizzy and not right, as I got up to go to the bathroom I noticed a lot of blood on the sheets and duvet. I called him (he was working the market that day) and asked what had happened as Iv woke up in this state and don’t remember anything, he replied ‘we had sex don’t you remember’ ? This was weird as I always remember even when iv been drinking . He kept ringing throughout the day asking if I was ok ect and then he bought me a diamonte bracelet which he gave me after work, I remember thinking to myself this was strange behaviour from him but I carried on as normal still not feeling a hundred percent right. The next day (Monday) I couldn’t walk properly , my front and back private areas were extremely painful . Once I told my friend she had a look and told me to get straight to the doctors, once seeing the doctor he told me that there was a severe amount of damage caused to my Virgina and anus area and that I should go to the police. I was frightened and still so confused by this all that I never did go to the police . I called him and asked him what he had done to me that night and he’s story changed three times. After speaking with my friend and mum it was clear to me that he had drugged and raped me that night and with our son in the same room as us. Unfortunately it took me two months to get the courage to make that call to the police and report everything that he had done to me in the last five years but from that moment my life changed!!! He was arrested and charged on three accounts or rape to myself , he unfortunately didn’t go to prison as there wasn’t enough evidence and I was told that rape is the hardest thing to prove . This felt like another kick to me no that he was in control once again but I never gave up . The police put a non molestation order in place to protect me and my children , this was in place for two years. I recieved a letter from he’s solicitor saying he would take me to court to see our son , it was at that point that things changed for me, I realised that I had to be the strong person I once was and do the right thing for me and my son , I had to stand up to this man and show him that he wasn’t going to control my life anymore and that I was going to protect my son from being anywhere near this monster. The court case went on for over a year, it was draining to say the least and put me through every test in more ways than one but I finally got the person back that I once was . My son gave me the strength to fight this man all the way and do what was right . The judge finally made the decision that there was far to much violence and that this man was denied any visiting rights and even had parental rights taken away from him . This is very rare that this happens. I remember the day I walked away from the court feeling like that was the day I got my life back!!! That was the day my life changed for me and my children. Iv now been away from this man for two years and my
    Life is completely different . I moved back home to be near family , living in my house and paying my bills, wearing, eating and talking to who I choose . I got my laughter and smile back and I’m never loosing it again not for no one . I’m currently working with different agencies and organisations to STOP domestic violence as it affects so many people out there. I also did a skydive jump in march this year and raised £600.00 pounds . I’m setting my own charity up , it’s called ‘add a little pink to a lady’s life’ and I’m hoping to one day write my own book. If I could say something to someone who is going through this, it would be ‘never give up hope, never loose yourself, always tell someone as someone out there will listen, you are not alone. And always remember it’s not your fault, you are a beautiful person and you do not need to accept this behaviour, look deep inside yourself and grab hold of your strength and fight back…….. Believe in yourself’ lots of love xxx

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