Domestic Abuse & Sexual Violence Survivor Stories
A sexual abuse survivor who LWA worked with has bravely shared her story:
At the time of writing this, it’s 2021. I have just finished 5 months of counselling with LWA. The last time my ex sexually abused me was Christmas day 2007. So it took me a while to look outside myself for help.
I met him in 2005, he had the kindest eyes, a smile and a laugh that lit up the room. He was full of charm and humour. It was all a bit of a whirlwind. From what I recall he had moved into my flat within a month or so of our meeting, we were engaged soon after and married the year following.
After the marriage, things started to change. He began to stop helping around the house. He played war games on his computer for hours. The new house we moved into always seemed to be full of loud gun noises.
When he wasn’t on the computer he’d follow me around, groping me.. I’d find porn on our computer and in the DVD player. It was embarrassing as anyone could have found it. To put it politely he was obsessed. The stuff he watched was disgusting. I really can’t explain how sick and scared I used to feel around him every day.
I became depressed and anxious, I developed bulimia, my mental health plummeted and I found getting through the day really difficult. I started drinking heavily in the evenings. I’m not great with alcohol. I have these blackouts where I can’t remember anything.
Instead of helping me, he started to take advantage of me. I’d wake up from the backouts feeling sore in-between my legs. I’d wake up and he’d be having sex with me. He went to the doctor at one point trying to cover up what he was doing with the excuse that it was in his sleep.
Sadly this carried on. The more it happened, the more I drank and the cycle continued. To the point where he didn’t even care. He’d fill up my glass at night I’d pass out, he’d rape me, take photos and do whatever he wanted to do with me. We both knew what was going to happen so I just accepted it and let him carry on. The next day I’d cry, beg him not to do it again, telling him I didn’t feel safe around him. he’d apologise and promise he would change.
I’d pray for every evening to be over quickly so he would go to work and I could bathe, scrub myself clean and spend some time feeling like a normal human being.
One day he went out to Tesco and brought me some cushions because he wanted me to feel safe around him. He was so sad and sincere in his offering. I felt very confused by his actions but I forgave him – again.
When I married him. I promised for life and at the time I very much loved him. All I wanted was for him to stop and love me in the way a husband should but he didn’t stop.
I’d spoken to friends about the abuse but I’m not sure if they believed me. Most people didn’t want to hear it. I felt so alone, unloved and disgusting. I really thought I deserved it. He never said it our right but he often made out it was my fault because I couldn’t satisfy his high sex drive.
One Christmas day eve I was feeling so bruised and sore I decided that it couldn’t go on this way. I stayed sober, drank berry juice instead of wine, we went to bed he started. I gave him a minute then, turned looked him in the eye and asked him if he was enjoying himself. He flew off the bed, crying like a little boy, begging for forgiveness, telling me he had a problem he needed help with.
I told him to leave that night and thankfully I had the strength not to let him back.
It’s taken me years to get over the trauma of that relationship. I blamed myself and held so much shame in my heart for drinking so much. The weight of the guilt is indescribable.
We got divorced on January the 8th 2009. It was the best day of my life. The sense of freedom was amazing. But it wasn’t and still isn’t plain sailing.
I think I blamed myself for most of it until a couple of years ago I met a friend that showed me a cartoon called A Cup of TEA and Consent. Something inside me changed and I started to see that it wasn’t my fault. I didn’t need to be ashamed or feel guilty.
My recovery has been a blend of NHS and holistic therapies. I found that mindfulness and yoga gave been the biggest help, along with counselling.
I have been with my now-husband for many years. He is the absolute light of my life and he would never hurt a hair on my body, not that I would let him. I’m a much stronger person. I am happier, alcohol-free and my eating habits are normal.
I look back now and wish that I had saved some of the proof I had of the abuse. I had photos and text messages with him apologising and begging for forgiveness. Somehow everything has gotten lost in time. I’ve decided for now not to do anything about it for family reasons. Counselling with the LWA charity over the past few months has been life-changing.
I’m not sure I will ever fully get over what he has done, the scars will always be there BUT I am here, happy and my life is pretty fantastic. I am a survivor of domestic abuse and I hope my story helps others.
LWA Volunteer’s Survivor Story
I endured domestic abuse over a 15 year period. The situation finally imploded when we were living in abroad. I have 4 children and I knew I had to get out when he threatened the well-being of the children. He told me: ‘you are on your own, you have no money and, when it comes down to it, no one was going to help you’.
He was wrong.
I needed a court order to leave the country with the children. My brother hired a superb attorney and the process took over 2 years. 2 months after ‘he’ left the family home I was having suicidal thoughts and suffering terrible insomnia. The GP referred me to a counsellor who referred me to the local domestic abuse shelter. This saved my life. 16 years on, I can recall vividly the relief I felt when the DA counsellor said those three magical words ‘I believe you’.
When the case finally arrived in court the judge ruled that it was in the best interests of the children to leave the country with immediate effect, despite their father remaining in the country. I arrived back in the UK in April 2007 with 4 children and £475.00. Time to start again.
Throughout the 2 years waiting to come home, although the counsellors were amazing, I would have loved to talk to someone who had been through what I had, come out the other side, and was living a ‘normal’ life. I needed to know that this was possible. I vowed that I would be that person, supporting women like the one I once was.
Friends and family were very kind and assumed that everything was OK now that I was back in the country. I had not appreciated the long term effect the years of abuse would have on me. I was filled with self-loathing, lack of self-confidence and fear…..plus I had 4 children to care for and a full time job to manage. At times it was near impossible to cope. In 2009 he stopped the child support payments and these never resumed. In 2011 he was deported to the UK having been convicted of a vicious assault on his then girlfriend and their child. Within 24 hours of arriving in the country he was harassing me and my family. He lost interest in bothering us after he realised that interactions with the children took time and, more importantly, money. I suspect he moved on to a new victim.
I secured a good job, I provided for the children – I was determined that I would be the best role model I could be. 2 years ago I finally forgave myself and began to like who I am – I’m actually OK! Since then I’ve met a marvellous man who is kind, thoughtful and loving – who knew life could be this good? The children are happy and settled. As for ‘him’ – I have no idea where he is and haven’t seen or heard from him in years.
I contacted UAVA to offer my services and am now part of the Befriending Team. I ring service users assigned to me once a week for a chat – we talk about anything and, should they wish to, about their personal situation. I was concerned that these conversations might trigger unhappy thoughts and associations – but they don’t. I’m a healed person and I hope that by being able to say ‘I believe you, trust me it’s going to be OK’ I’m helping others through this most difficult of circumstances.
More Survivor Stories
The amazing Sonia ( a domestic abuse survivor), her husband Gary and their friend Tony performed self-penned songs and Sonia told her powerful story of escaping abuse. You can watch it here: https://fb.watch/2dS8zcz4Wf/
Lucy’s story, written in her own words, of her years of abuse: Lucys Story.pdf
John has shared his story of his abusive father, you can read it here: Johns Story.pdf
Joanna Brown has shared her abuse story, you can read it here: Survivors Story.pdf
If you have experienced domestic abuse and would like to share your (anonymous) story, a poem or article that you feel could be an encouragement to others, please contact us on the online contact form.
Domestic abuse stories help other victims realise they are not alone. By being able to read other people’s domestic violence stories it can help the victim realise that not only are they not alone, but what they are experiencing is unacceptable and must change.
Sharing your domestic violence stories can widen your network of support and help someone else who is feeling as alone and afraid as you once were or still are.
One of our lovely service users has made a video to share her story and her experience of domestic abuse:
Many thanks Amani for allowing us to share this.
Mental Abuse Matters – animation explaining Mental Abuse – www.mentalabusematters.com