When I first met my husband I had just had a breakdown after losing a baby, almost my life & any chance of ever having any more children again & my then partner walking out & leaving me to deal with it all alone! If I had been in the right mind I probably would have seen the warning signs but I was so low about myself & desperate to feel loved I literally met him & he moved in with me weeks later!

At first he was charming, kind, caring but months in it became obvious that he expected my life to consist of him & only him & what he wanted & needed. He made it impossible for me to go out with friends & to see them & family! He would constantly phone with excuses that I needed to come home for. When I did there would be extreme sulking, crying etc.!

He made me believe that he could not live without me! On the one occasion I did date to defy him & go out when I got home all hell broke loose! I remember him launching at me and attacking me & the next thing I remember was waking up on the floor hurting! He'd beat me black & blue! I managed to get to a friend’s house & the police were called & he went on the run but because of the shock, missing him I eventually answered his calls & let him convince me he was sorry.

Because I'd taken him back & dropped the charges most of my family, friends & police were so disappointed & upset they kind of gave up on me (unknowingly making his hold over me stronger) when the violence became a regular occurrence I would always lie! Mostly out of shame & embarrassment! No one ever thinks they will be 'THAT' woman! But partly I also lied out of pure fear! The police were called many times by me, my neighbors who would hear my screams, his own children etc.!

But he was always released on bail & would find me wherever I went & I was so scared of him hurting someone else to get to me I ended up going back! He broke my wrist, my cheek bone, fractured my pelvis, gave me concussion etc..... the ambulance people were always great but the nurses in A&E were unkind, judgmental & would put me out in the waiting room, bruised, battered, crying for everyone to stare at with the attitude of we'll you'll just go back so you’re wasting our time!

That attitude meant I never stayed for treatment I should have received & made me go home even more scared & vulnerable than I already was! Things only got worse & worse! If I had to pop to the shop he would stand & watch & if I even said 'hi' I'd been flirting with the guy in the shop! It was at the point where I couldn't leave the house! I finally mustered up the courage to ask for a divorce! He ran in the kitchen screaming grabbed a knife & tried to stab me! My dog savaged him & saved my life! I took him to the hospital & told them all that had happened & begged them to section him & call the police! They didn't believe me & let him out the next day!

He destroyed the beautiful dog who had saved me! My saving grace was when my 11 year old daughter realized that he was going to kill if I didn't get away! She went out as though going to school & instead went to the police station & begged them to help me before he killed me! When they sat & looked through all the records they realized they had utterly failed at protecting me & eventually were able to keep him away from me!

I wasted 6 years of my life in fear & turmoil & pain! But now my life is beautiful! I have a fantastic job, great friends, an amazing social life & most importantly a confident, independent daughter! I also finally love myself too & I have a man who would never dream of hurting me or trying to control me! I would never let that happen again anyway! It's not been easy! The past still haunts me at times, I hate to think of myself as a victim & weak but I was!

It isn't as easy as people think to just walk away! There are often other factors involved! But it is possible with the right help & support!

T. Smith