Survivor story: Amy*
"...I now play saxophone in a local band
which has really helped to restore
How the abuse started...
I met my ex when I was 28. He was charming, lively, always the life and soul of the party. The abuse started with the odd comment, but I was assertive and strong. This waned however as time went on. Five months into the relationship he went abroad on a working holiday; the day he was due to return I had a call from him to say that he had had his tickets and money stolen – I went to him, to help and it was the worst four days of my life. He wanted to know who I’d seen whilst he’d been away, called me a whore in the street, told passers by they were welcome to me and smashed me into a shop front. I was really confused and thought I’d done something wrong but couldn’t remember – now of course I know that I wasn’t at fault
I stayed in the relationship for one year. He had a drug and alcohol problem but I owned the house and let him move in thinking I could help him to get better. His character was very Jekyll and Hyde. I was subjected to emotional abuse daily - he became obsessive and it then led to violent physical abuse.
I couldn’t talk to anyone, as he was very paranoid. His alcohol and drug misuse, coupled with his aggressive nature fuelled the paranoia. Things were really bad. I didn’t even realise it was domestic violence until someone called it that at the A & E department.
Time for change...
He would disappear for days on end, but come back and make me feel guilty about what I’d been up to whilst he’d been away. I had been thinking about what was going to happen in the future and a few days into the new millennium, I’d had enough. He’d been away a few days, and I decided that enough was enough, and then one morning as I was getting ready to go to work the doorbell rang. Totally off guard, I opened the door without thinking to check who it was. He had no key and as I opened the door he burst past me; it ended up in a struggle out in the street, where passers by and my neighbours saw what was happening.
Hope for the future...
He now has a criminal record and I’m living in a different area to my ex now. I have no contact with him. My life has changed unbelievably since the relationship ended, and I’ve had a lot of help from my local Women’s Aid outreach service. I now play saxophone in a local band which has really helped to restore my self-confidence. I’m really looking forward to the future and eventually hope to find a new, loving relationship with someone who respects me.
*Name has been changed to protect the individual involved.