A victim of domestic violence told today of her ordeal as a new bid was launched to tackle attacks in the home.
During that time, reflecting on it now, there was a lot of mental abuse going on, but you don’t realise what’s going on until you reflect on it afterwards.
He isolated me from my friends and family and made it uncomfortable for people to come round. He was fine with them, then he was horrible to me when they had gone.
It starts small, then it gets more and more. The worst part of it has been over the last year we were together. That’s when I became unemployed.
He was telling lies about the reasons for me leaving my job.
He told me things like he had only ever loved his ex-girlfriend and never loved me. He called me fat and ugly – he belittled me.
My family weren’t welcome round my house because of him.
One big thing he would do was talk to other people about how I abused him. As far as his family and friends were concerned, he was the victim.
The people who know me and love me know that’s not true.
It was only after we had broken up that the physical abuse started.
We had sat down and drunk some wine. I was explaining it was over. We had an argument about why I was leaving. He hit me in the face.
After he had hit me he called the police. He said that he rang them to protect himself from me. They took him into custody.
It was the first incident. I didn’t want all the hassle so I didn’t press charges.
‘I thought it was just a one-off incident.
Living at home was bad. He threatened to kill himself if I left and harm the kids, but it was too far gone – it was happening. The threat made it even harder. You have that in the back of your mind all the time. There is a very low chance of that happening but it would be my fault if it did happen.
I said we needed mediation. Throughout this time he was drinking all the time. He still wasn’t working.
The next time it happened I had spoken to a relative to try and arrange the mediation. The following day he had stewed on it all night.
He came over and was aggressive and was shouting at me for talking to his relatives. I was sitting down, he hit me on the back of the head. I had a cup of tea in my hand and he threw that on me as well.
He got the bags out and told me to leave. He was swearing as well. I knew the only way it was going to get any better was if I left the situation, so at that point I went to my mum’s. But I went back.
Then I went out with a friend. When we got home at about 5pm it was all quiet. He had gone to sleep in a bedroom. He woke up and came out. He said we had woken him up. He was shouting abuse and making threats. I went upstairs to alleviate the situation but he continued to shout at one of the children. I went back down and stood between him and my child. He throttled me, he then pushed me to the floor. I was asking the kids to call the police – he was saying no.
The kids tried to get the phone and he grabbed the phone off them. They then managed to get the phone back and they went upstairs to call the police.
He got me to the kitchen floor and wouldn’t let me up. Then he wouldn’t let me out of the kitchen. He pushed me into a chair and had his hands across my mouth and my face. He was shouting to me: ‘You silly little girl, you will listen to me this once, you silly little girl.’
He eventually let me go. The police came and he was arrested and taken away.
They couldn’t interview him that night because he was too drunk. He was charged with assault by beating and bailed.
Two days before the trial he changed his plea to guilty. He was given a 16-week suspended sentence and a restraining order.
Now I live in my own house, I can walk through my front door and just smile, and know there is no hassle there. I just feel free. I can do what I want to do, when I want to do it, without having to worry.
n Sarah is not her real name