Survivor story: Jade*
"...I’m attending meetings for my MS and learning to manage it a lot better. I get to see my family most days now and I’m really enjoying spending time with them and spoiling my dog rotten!"
I met my ex when I was 18, he was quite a bit older than me but the age gap didn’t really seem to matter. I had discovered that I had multiple sclerosis (MS) about 1 year before we met but I was still walking unaided when we started seeing eachother.
We became serious very quickly and after 6 months actually I moved in with him.
After a while my MS began to worsen and I began to have to use a walking stick to help me move around, I was no longer working and my MS became so bad that often I had to use a wheelchair. It was around this time he began to be aggressive towards me – he’d shout me for what seemed to be no real reason at all.
Constant wheelchair use.....
Eventually I needed to use my wheelchair constantly – by this point things had really gotten bad between us. I had to rely on him more and I felt like his aggression may be due to the burden of this new responsibility of looking after me. Me being ill meant that he had to always be home before I could go to bed, and take my physical needs into consideration a lot more and I think he resented me for this.
To give him a break and hoping it would make him relax a little, I decided to spend a week in a care home. As he came to take me home he saw one of the male workers there give me a friendly kiss on the cheek to say goodbye. He went ballistic. For the duration of their journey home he was shouting and screaming at me and continually punching my leg and arm.
After this he began to be very menacing towards me and was always threatening that he would kill me. For some reason he became very paranoid that I was talking about him behind his back to other people and this often sent him into a rage which could last for hours. I often used to cry myself to sleep when I was sure he couldn’t hear me.
The abuse was mainly emotional and mental but he did slap my face a few times, threw me out of my wheelchair and also squeezed his hands around my neck to scare me I think.
One day I decided, after another row, that I couldn’t live like it anymore. I was in the kitchen pretending to wash up and I decided I just had to get out. I left with just my dog and a jumper. He followed me out to the street and asked where I was going. I told him I was leaving, he looked a little shocked, muttered something under his breath and returned to the house. That was the last time I saw him.
My brother came to pick me up from a neighbour’s and social services managed to find me a place with disabled access in nearby accommodation.
Best decision I ever made....
It was very hard at first not being in my own home and being single but looking back, leaving him was the best decision I’ve ever made. I am now in a new relationship, I’ve been seeing a lovely man for a couple of years, I’m attending meetings for my MS and learning to manage it a lot better. I get to see my family most days now and I’m really enjoying spending time with them and spoiling my dog rotten!
*Name has been changed to protect the individual involved.
Learn more about domestic violence and disability from The Survivor's Handbook.