Let’s name him ‘Tom’. I was just 16 when I met him, everything was perfect, he was perfect, my first boyfriend. My family loved him as well as my friends...that was until 21st January, just days after my 17th birthday. I walked downstairs in my dressing gown where my brother and cousin were talking in the kitchen, they noticed bruises. ‘I fell into a door’ ‘I walked into a table’ I told them. They wasn’t buying any of it.

Suddenly their opinion changed on him. He wasn’t bad, he just got angry sometimes I told my mum in tears. But it wasn’t enough. Later that night I decided to go to his apartment (he was a few years older than me) I decided to choose him over my family and friends who were all aware. Skip forward a few hours...my brother found me in the town where he lives. My brother didn’t come alone. Part of the car gang in our town he brought them all with him. 17 cars. I remember one of my friends pleading with me to leave him and come home with them, but I was 17...I knew everything. He wasn’t a bad person he just got angry sometimes...’were only here because we care about you ***** he’s no good for you. I didn’t realize what I had got myself and the people I love into.

At 10:38pm that evening he wanted to meet to talk at a carpark. I went, I was hoping he would tell me he wouldn’t ever do it again, I was hoping this was all a big misunderstanding and that I provoked him. But it wasn’t.... bury in mind I was still with my family at this time. My brother had driven me to the superstore he wanted to meet. He didn’t come alone....

As he ordered I walked off from my family, he seemed agitated.
He was wearing a black duffel coat, he unzipped it and muttered the words ‘you’ve made me do this, this is your fault. This is for you’. As he pulled out a gun from the inside of his pocket. ‘And this is for your family’ as he pulled a crow bar from the left leg of his jeans. Time stood still. The only thing I could think of doing was convincing him I didn’t want my family, only him. That none of this needed to happen because we were so happy. Finally I managed to convince him.

I told him I would go and pack my bags and meet him at an agreed location later that night. But one of my brother’s friends had seen the gun. They had rang he police...what was he going to do now? Thankfully I had enough time to get away and home before the police turned up. His house was raided and the weapons were found. All the evidence went against him. I was moved 3000 miles away from my home town because he had pleaded mentally unstable. I had done nothing wrong? I was the one hiding? I was the one basically in-prisoned, the case went cold.

Odd things happening around my house a few months later. Sightings of him outside my work and in my town even though he had been given a harassment warning. Fast-forward a year, I get a call from the officer in charge of my case, another girl has come forward with a similar story...would I speak in court? Absolutely not. Selfish, I know. But what if I forgot the smallest detail? What if I messed up and it cost that young girl her justice? Now I’m 22, I still go to counselling because of it. I was 16/17 and my life was put on hold for an abusive w****r. I was in such a dark place at the time, but things do get better...if you’re reading this and feel as if they won’t, they will!