Our survivors share some of their inspirational stories.
Tracey, resident, says:
I would like to thank all the staff that have helped make my life better whilst I have been living in the refuge. You have helped me look forward not back; anything I have asked for or needed you have been there for me and my children. Some people would not understand.
I have two girls aged 4 and 7 years old. When I first got to the refuge I was scared and frightened, I was away from my family and friends and I did not know anybody at all.
After a little time I got some friends and the others understood me. I could not think of taking my children back to that life where my boyfriend would walk around the house with knives and hold them to himself in front of the girls. They would be crying saying, "don’t" and I would be telling him to put it down. He was scaring the kids and just making me cry in front of them. He made my family and friends feel that they are not welcome at my house and would make passes at my friends and family. He made me feel like I had nobody but him, my life was his. The refuge has made me see that life is not like that now, I am going to college to do an NVQ and I would like a placement at the Women's Aid Charity Shop. I am also doing a computer course with other residents here.
Thank you to everybody that has helped me look forward and not back.
Vanessa, resident, says:
Should your partner be able to;
Stop you from going to sleep
Wake you up constantly because he can’t sleep
Tell you it’s your fault he’s like this
Accuse you of seeing other men and ringing them
Tell you that you are ugly, fat and boring.
Make you have sex when you don’t want it but you’re too scared if you don’t he’ll hurt you
Hurt you during sex
Threaten your family and friends
Make stories up about you and tell others
Constantly ring your family and friends
Beat you, shout and swear at you
Take your money off you
Control your life - what you can do, where you can go, when you can do it
Make you that scared during an argument - you dare not speak
Wendy, resident, says:
When Denise asked me to write my story I felt very nervous but it has really done me some good getting it down on paper.
I would just like to thank all the people that have worked with me, supported me, listened and been patient and understanding. They helped me understand myself and the way I feel, I didn’t realise how much I’d been abused or how bad it was, the saying ‘love is blind’ comes to mind!
The abuse started three weeks into the relationship, he came home drunk, started saying things to me then unexpectedly he put his hands around my throat. After a few seconds of struggling he let go. After he started kicking me, I was shocked and upset and sat crying he just flaked out and went to bed, I put it down to the alcohol. The next day he said he didn’t remember but that was only the start, it got worse and it wasn’t just when he was drunk.
Recently my injuries were read out to me in a statement, they were shocking; my head had been split open twice, fractured ribs, black eyes and strangulation. Once he kicked me so much I was hospitalised and couldn’t walk without a Zimmer Frame. I was so low, feeling so scared, I could see no way out, where had all my friends gone!
It wasn’t just physical, it was mental too, nothing was ever right, eggs too watery or too hard, (scrambled was better!), food too hot or too cold, hundreds of phone calls, threats and accusations. I cried day and night, even tried taking my life because I knew he was coming home to hurt me. I had no one he smashed my mobile, took my money, smashed the home phone - he threatened me so much; I wouldn’t dare leave the house.
Once I saw my chance and left, it was the hardest thing I have ever done in my life. When I arrived I was welcomed by staff who saw to my every need, food, toiletries, bedding, everything I needed for me and the children. I wasn’t in any state of mind to do anything alone, and I didn’t have to. When I was ready to talk, I could, they gave me the time I needed. They still do, I am getting my confidence back, didn’t think I would ever stay, or get on with anyone, but it makes you realise that you have made the right decision when you sit down and talk to other women and they have been through the same thing. I think, this is the start of a new life, a stronger me, back the way I was before. Coming here has changed my life and my children’s and that was due to the staff saying the right things at the right time and having the knowledge and understanding of Domestic Violence and how it affects us. Three months down the line, I am still here, but the future is bright, I don’t want to take my life, my confidence is better, my children are happy and not scared to make a noise and when I do leave here there is still the support I need - and I know I will need it. Thank you.
Ben, child resident, says:
Hi my name is Ben
I will never understand why we had to stay or why we couldn't get out when things got bad. Mum and Dad used to say everything would be alright - but it kept happening - the same things, over and over and over again.
I get to speak to someone now - we talk about what happens and what I remember - I remember the same sentences
Everything will be alright
Go upstairs and play
Were going to Grandma's
You don't understand
It's nothing to do with you . . . . . . . "It's nothing to do with me?" ! !
I feel worried after tea when Dad comes home - we all wait - we wait to see if it's a good day or a bad day - the good days are great.