I fell in love with one of my best friends. I had dated many idiots in the past, and thought I would give him a chance. He wasn't my type at all, but he was so sensitive and sweet. We dated 3 months and I fell pregnant, I couldn't have been happier, he was so perfect, I had so many complications in my pregnancy and he was with me every step of the way. I felt so lucky. Our son was born and he was an amazing father, I had the perfect family.

We moved in together when our son was 1 years old, that’s when things started to change. He was used to being a part time dad and part time boyfriend. He found it hard which I understood so I tried to help. He started being so snappy about everything, his wage would disappear and I received a letter about rent payments not being paid. All his money was being spent and I was left scrimping and begging family for money so we didn't lose our home.

He started being snappy, getting angry over the smallest of things and one day he got angry and punched a hole through the bedroom door. My heart was racing but he instantly apologized and started crying. I forgave him. He promised it wouldn’t happen again. But it did, smashed plates, holes in the door, broken furniture. But it was okay as he hadn't hurt me.

He started pushing me, pretending to mess around, but it was a bit too rough. I never said anything as he loved me and he was only playing right? Until one night he took it too far, he had his arm around my throat, I was struggling to breathe, I cried and begged him to let go, he let go and kicked off as I cried like a baby. He made it seem that it was my fault, I felt so guilty, and just wanted to please him, and I wanted him to love me like he did before. That night we had sex, he was rougher than usual and before I knew it he had put it in my bum, I cried with pain and he tried pushing it in further. I pulled away and that night cried myself to sleep. How can someone I love do this to me?

I put up with this for months, I noticed our son not wanting to be near his dad, and he cried if I left them alone together, he started having night terrors. I never told anyone until one night I ended up in hospital, my son was with his nanna, when I went to pick him up my mum told me he had been crying in his sleep about daddy hurting mummy.

I broke down, I kicked him out and allowed contact. He promised he changed, we got back together but lived separately. He wanted to take our son out for the day, I asked him to get him changed, my son started crying and kicking his legs, he caught his dad in the face and that’s when my son got hurt. His father put his hands round my little boy’s throat. That little boy who was 3 years old, the little boy who I was meant to protect.

That day changed my life forever. The police were called and he was charged with assault via beating towards me and my boy, he pleaded guilty and received a caution!! A caution for hurting my baby!!

4 years on my son is 6, he still remembers what happened, he is still having therapy but he is the most amazing happy little boy ever. I will never forget what happened and the guilt I feel for not protecting my son will never go away. But I escaped. If I hadn't me and my son might not be here today.

It' still hard to talk about or think about but my story could be the key to unlocking someone else’s prison.

C. Preston