Ailish’s story – how your support makes a difference

Over the past year, together we have helped hundreds of thousands of women and children to safety through our vital services and campaigning.

We can only do this because of people like you – a generous, passionate community of Women’s Aid supporters, committed to helping survivors of domestic abuse.

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Our member services run life-saving refuges, and we work tirelessly to ensure their survival. We act as a public voice for these essential services that by their very nature need to remain private, to keep abused women and children safe. It is your support that allows us to do this crucial work.

Ailish’s story below is a reminder of why your support is more urgent than ever. If you can, please join us and donate today to be there for the many more women like Ailish who need us.

“That Christmas, I couldn’t take any more. Things were getting more and more volatile – not only were we walking on eggshells but we were holding our breath so often and for so long that we felt like we were running out of oxygen.

Christmas day was spent with my three children huddled around the kitchen table staring at the tiny portable TV screen and taking turns to hold the broken indoor aerial in a certain position. He, on the other hand, was lying on our huge seven seater settee watching the 47 inch brand new TV. We weren’t allowed to go in there.

As Christmas turned into another new year, things got worse. I could sense his rage bubbling under the surface, ready to explode. I also knew that, in order to shield the children from it, I would be in the firing line. He had almost killed me once, this time I might not be so lucky.

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So I contacted Women’s Aid. They couldn’t find a place for us straightaway as just after Christmas is the busiest time. Tis the season to be jolly…ha! But after a few days, find us a place they did. As soon as he left for work, we ran.

When my children and I arrived at a women’s refuge, scared, skint and emotionally battered, I had no idea what to expect. We were shown to our room, and left to settle in. And you know what? Those nights in the refuge were the happiest we had known in years.

The children played to their hearts’ content, they laughed, they tumbled, and they were children. We bought what WE wanted, and ate when WE wanted. Nobody shouted at us for making too much noise when we ate, or for spilling a drink, or for dropping a knife on the table. We were free. It was bliss.

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I wasn’t strong enough that first time. Amid hundreds of suicide threats from him, promises of change, and counselling, I went back. And that night he did it again… But something inside me had changed, I was no longer going to put myself, and more importantly my children, through it. [With ongoing support] I went to court, got a court order, and had him removed from the house.

I would never have had the strength to do it if it hadn’t been for the time we spent in that refuge. Being there changed our lives. I met the strongest, most inspirational women I have ever met. Women who had been beaten to within an inch of their lives. Women who had lost everything yet had the ability to rise again from the ashes.

It made me realise that, even when life seems impossible, if we dig deeply enough, we can find the strength to come through anything. We can survive. And we have.”

Women like Ailish urgently need your help, and your donation could help a family like hers to safety this Christmas. Please donate today if you can.

For women like Ailish, getting into a refuge can be critical but it isn’t the end of the story – women often need ongoing advice and support. We know there will be many women in a similar situation to Ailish this Christmas. Please donate and you could help ensure a refuge space is available for them.

Ailish’s story is one of strength and survival. There are many more women and children who need our support, particularly over the festive holiday period, which can be a dangerous and isolating time. Your generosity allows us to be there for these women, to offer them support, the chance to survive, and hope for a safer, better future.

Please donate today to help women like Ailish. Thank you for your support.

© 2019 Women's Aid Federation of England – Women’s Aid is a company limited by guarantee registered in England No: 3171880.

Women’s Aid is a registered charity in England No. 1054154

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