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True Stories

I overcame Domestic Abuse & gained support

I was born in 1960, as a child I was groomed by my father and sexually abused. I was “daddy’s girl”. The abuse lasted for 15 years.
At the age of 10 my dad left my mum and I went to live with him and his new partner. My step-mum didn’t like me but my dad did. Years later I found out that my siblings were also sexually abused.
I thought what my daddy was doing was okay as my daddy said it was. Daddy wouldn’t let me go out much or have any friends. At the age of 12 I was in an all-girls school and made friends, I realised that what was happening to me wasn’t okay.
At the age of 13 I met my boyfriend (my future husband) at a disco. We kept our relationship quiet as I was scared of what daddy would say. By the age of 15 my dad had stopped abusing me and I started to have sex with my boyfriend.
I got pregnant.
believe Aged 16 I was 2 weeks late and had to go to hospital to give birth. My boyfriend hit me the day I was going into hospital to have our first child. I still loved him though, and he loved me.
Within a year we were married. I later had 3 more children and we stayed together for 42 years. During this time I wasn’t allowed friends or to get a job.
Throughout my marriage I suffered what I now know as Domestic Abuse. I was physically abused, sometimes on a daily basis. If things weren’t right around the house he would start an argument.
The arguments were usually because I hadn’t cooked the right dinner or because I hadn’t cleaned the house in the way he wanted it cleaned. One day he stood me in a corner and poured buckets of ice cold water over me.
He gave me money on a daily basis and I had to budget this, he gambled. I decided to get a job in the corner shop selling veg. It only lasted 2 weeks. My husband said I was flirting with the men and sleeping with them.
I wasn’t, but I couldn’t take the stress of the accusations, so I left my job. I didn’t see my family, I couldn’t go home, my dad made me sick at the sight of him so I stayed away from my family. I was lonely and lost. If I did go out with a female friend my husband accused me of talking to other men and sleeping with them, while I was out I felt I couldn’t talk to anyone or even look in the direction of another male, just in case my husband found out.
If I received Christmas or birthday presents my husband would destroy them. Today many people ask “why didn’t you just leave?” the answer is, I don’t know why. What I do now know is that I was being controlled, had my independence taken away and was left isolated.
In 2015 I had breast cancer and had a mastectomy in left breast. It took me a year to recover. At the end of this year my husband said to me “I hope you get cancer again and die”. That day my eyes opened.
I went upstairs and put on my coat and walked out the door. I was scared and had no idea what the future would bring. I found myself at the local council offices where I explained my situation. I had only the clothes I stood up in. Luckily the ladies in the office were really helpful and contacted a local refuge and that night I found safety.
I stayed at the refuge for 3 months. At the refuge I was given lots of support and encouragement to help me move forward. The staff there helped me complete forms and apply for a flat of my own. I then joined the local women’s support agency where women are encouraged to gain confidence, socialise, learn and become independent.
They ran classes and I did a domestic abuse course to help me understand what domestic abuse actually is. It really opened my eyes and I realised that what I had experienced was very wrong and that my husband didn’t really love me.
Other courses I did were maths, drama and choir. The support over the last few years has given me a life back. In 2017 I had another mastectomy on my right breast and eventually had the all clear.
During this time my husband also gained professional support from an alternative domestic abuse agency. He received counselling and realised what he did wrong. He’s genuinely sorry for what he did to me and has now changed his behaviour. The help he received has also addressed some issues that he had. We have remained friends and I am now confident to be able to stand up for myself and also have an opinion. However, I appreciate that he is an exception, not all men are able to seek professional support and make these changes.
If my story helps to raise awareness and help just one person to realise that they can get help and support, then I will be very happy.
I am now happy, independent, can make my own choices am very proud of what I have achieved and where I am now. Life’s too short, it’s to be enjoyed.
Kathy

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