This is not something I openly speak about, actually the words rarely pass my lips. This is my story. I still struggle to speak about this and come to terms with this so please bear with me. You always read stories in the magazines or the paper or see them on TV and think that won’t ever happen to me. Well you’re wrong no one is in invincible and it could happen to you so by telling my story and telling the signs I hope it helps many people stay safe.

I was 17 when I first started speaking to my ex-boyfriend. He messaged me on Facebook and from there we went. We spoke for a matter of weeks and he seemed really lovely. Around 5 months previous to meeting him I had been raped and I never told a soul until him. I was very cautious with him and didn’t meet until I felt ready. Eventually I felt like I trusted him enough to meet we had been speaking for so long I had actually opened up about my past to him. He didn’t judge me he was nice. Or so I thought. So we met up and everything was going well.

After a few weeks we became boyfriend and girlfriend. He was perfect everything I dreamed of. Good looking, kind, sweet, protective and understanding. As time went on he always wanted to see me everyday spending every waking minute with me. I thought it was sweet at first. It was my first proper grown up relationship so I didn’t know how it all worked. As I was with him all the time I rarely saw my friends when I would make plans he would always say he wanted to see me and make me feel guilty if I didn’t cancel. I cancelled so much my friends stopped making plans and I barely got to see them or speak to them.

Unknown to me that was his plan to cut me off from them all and he succeeded and after a few months of being together I had lost all my friends. At the time I didn’t actually notice this as a warning sign for being controlling silly me right? I went out with my mum one day while he was at work and we had only done some shopping. I hadn’t told him I was going out it was last minute I didn’t know I needed to. He found out later that day and was really annoyed that I hadn’t told him and again I didn’t take this as a warning sign.

That’s when it all started the control had begun. He had cut me off from my friends and the only people I saw were the family I lived with and his. He then started telling me what to wear and I went along with it, it was my first proper relationship he was my boyfriend he was allowed to have a say in my choices wasn’t he? He began verbally abusing me telling me I was ugly or calling me different names if I wore something he didn’t like. I just went along with this and thought I love him I’ll make him happy if he’s happy that’s all that matters.

He started to get a little physical pushing and shoving, pulling me by the hair throwing things at me and throwing me into doors and wardrobes etc. He was always sorry afterwards and he didn’t mean it he loved me so that was ok I could handle it right? Then he stepped it up a level and he began grabbing my face arms and legs so hard my skin would break and bleed.

He always said sorry so you forgive them. Don’t you love them and you can’t imagine not being with them. You keep quiet. One night we were in my room we had just finished watching a film I was lying on my back and the next thing I remember is he’s on top of me pulling my trousers down I tell him to stop he didn’t I was trying to hold them up and by this time I was crying they were down round my ankles he was forcing my legs open I was trying to push him off then something just changed and he got off and sat on the bed speaking normal as if that didn’t happen. This happened nearly every night for the next three months. I fell pregnant and I didn’t know. Sadly I miscarried at 7 weeks. That was when I knew I was pregnant when I went to the hospital alone with excruciating pain in my stomach. He had thrown me into the wardrobe the night before and I had been in pain and started bleeding. I was scared so I went to get checked out. That night when he came around I tried to tell him but I was so scared of what he would do.

I lay there on my bed in silence and that’s when he jumped on top of me again and he ripped my trousers down. I thought no he can’t I’m losing my baby right this minute I was screaming at him I told him I was on my period he said it’s ok just get a shower I was horrified I fought my hardest to get him off he didn’t let go he kept going and going. Eventually he stopped. He left my house. I sat there crying covered in the blood down below I couldn’t even speak. I knew it wasn’t right but what could I do, who could I tell. I was only 18 at this point. I’d lost my baby and I was going to lose the guy I loved. Some of you will ask how you could still love someone after that but you don’t choose who you love your heart does. But that love soon faded.

The physical and verbal abuse still continued. By this time he was backhanding me across the face yelling he didn’t do it hard enough so he did it again and again. He was punching and kicking me in the arms face legs head stomach. He split my head open broke my ribs pulled my finger nails off one by one he pulled clumps of my hair out he stabbed me with a screwdriver he beat me with hammers he strangled me until I blacked out he would punch me so hard in the face my face would bust open and it went numb. He locked me in his car and kidnap me and took me to dark places and beat the living daylights out of me.

I developed an eating disorder and lost a lot of weight. He would hit me if I said I wasn’t hungry but that wasn’t my fault it was my body. He forced food down my throat until I was being sick. I couldn’t cope anymore I didn’t love him anymore and I told him. He was angry said I’d never be allowed to leave him. He threatened to have my friends and family attacked. I found a lump on my breast. I was sent for tests. During the waiting time I was so ill with my eating disorder he would make fun of me saying it was definitely cancer look at me I’m so weak I’m a chemo victim. He was vile. He told me I’d look ugly with no hair. I was so scared I had cancer but at the same time a little bit of relief flashed through my mind. This was my escape I’d die and get away from him.

I was so selfish and horrible to think that because I know people who have suffered it themselves. Thankfully I got the all clear. But I wasn’t cleared from the human deadly disease that was my boyfriend. The abuse continued day and night and he played mind games. He made me think I imagined everything he made me think I was crazy. One of my friends passed away he said if I left him he would have her dug up. His mind was warped. He needed mental help. I begged him to get help but he wouldn’t. He kept telling me I was dreaming things and to stop making things up no one will ever believe me.

One day I got the courage to message his mum. She replied saying she’s sorry this is happening she doesn’t want to get involved and if I can’t handle it just to build a bridge and get over it. I was distraught she didn’t believe me he was right no one would. I started over dosing. I over dosed 14 times in 7 months I didn’t succeed I felt like a failure. I drank bleach and that didn’t work either.

What could I do how could I escape?! Nothing was working! I tried to leave him but the threats they all seemed so real at the time unknown to me he wouldn’t have had anyone attacked it was just to keep me there! Eventually I’d had enough I blocked him on all social media and his number he then started driving past my work and phoning my job I nearly lost my job. He knew where it was he took me to work every day and picked me up. God forbid I was ever out of his sight. He hated me having a job. I wasn’t allowed a job for the first two years we were together I was given this job as part of a benefits scheme he was livid. I told my mum that I didn’t want to be with him she told him to stay away. I messaged a friend and told her everything she was so shocked.

She made me go to the police. I thought it would be ok and that would help. But my family didn’t like me going to the police and they disowned me and the police have taken the case to court it’s been going on for 4 years now and although I stand along I stand strong and I can say I survived.

Please speak out and shatter the silence of domestic violence! Your story could help save someone’s life.