Survivor story: Jo*
"I have become so much closer to my son in the last few months and feel that finally we have the new beginning we’ve needed for so long."
The beginning of the relationship...
I was 20 when I first met my abusive partner. There was bullying and violence from the beginning of the relationship, but it was only after I left that I actually realised how bad it was. He stopped me from going out, turned my friends against me, threw things at me and on several occasions, threatened me with a knife.
On one occasion my partner actually stabbed me in the leg and I had to go to hospital to have stitches. At the hospital, when asked what happened, I said that a stranger stabbed me.
We had a son together, which was one of the reasons why I stayed, and although he didn’t hit him, my son knew from a very young age that his father was violent towards me. I stayed with my partner for seven years, and eventually found myself turning to drink to block out the sense of isolation and anger that I felt. I went to stay with my grandmother, and she contacted Women’s Aid, who found me a place in a Women’s Aid refuge. First of all, I was scared to go, but realised if I didn’t get out one day he would kill me.
Life at the refuge...
Life at the refuge with my son was so much better than I first thought it would – not only did they help me to feel safe for the first time in so many years, but they also put me in touch with an alcohol counsellor who helped me to control my drinking.
I stayed in the refuge for seven months and now live with my son, who is now eight in a flat in a different town, and we’ve started again. It hasn’t been easy, but moving away has probably saved my life. I have become so much closer to my son in the last few months and feel that finally we have the new beginning we’ve needed for so long.
*Name has been changed to protect the individual involved.