‘He punched me in the stomach and headbutted me’ - Stevenage domestic abuse victim speaks out
- Credit: Archant
With police reports of domestic abuse on the increase, and further funding for a specialist unit approved, one brave victim has told the Comet her story in a bid to show other victims they are not alone.
The victim - a woman from Stevenage who did not want to be named - was 16 when she met a man online in 2001.
She said: “All appeared to be rosy at the beginning. He came across as charming and it wasn’t long before I had fallen deeply in love with him.”
But things quickly began to sour and, while on holiday abroad, the couple had a drunken argument. She said they were in their apartment when he threw his shoes at her, pinned her down on the bed by her throat and punched her in the face.
She said: “The next day he apologised and promised it would never happen again. I believed him, but it wasn’t too long before his bad temper reared its ugly face again.
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“At his work’s Christmas party he scoulded me for talking to another man. He held my wrist so tightly it left bruises and marks from his nails. He punched me in the stomach in front of his friends and later headbutted me.
“He continued with the physical abuse - throwing things at me, hitting me and pinning me down by my throat whilst pulling my hair to look him in the eye.
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“He was controlling and manipulative, but at the time I was blinded.
“He chipped away at my confidence and I became a shadow of my former self. I became so frightened to go out with my friends incase it upset him that I stopped going out altogether.
“From speaking to friends who were in happy relationships I knew our relationship was dysfunctional and toxic and I finally vowed to cut myself off from him. “It took me six years to realise I was the victim of domestic abuse and walk away. At the time it was happening I couldn’t see it.
“I just want other victims to know they’re not alone and there is always a way out.
“Domestic abuse isn’t acceptable and nobody should be made to feel like it is.”
The Hertfordshire Police and Crime Commissioner, David Lloyd, has approved a £700,000 investment in the Domestic Abuse Investigation and Safeguarding Unit, bringing the total unit investment to £2.1 million.
The unit was established in January and has dealt with 10,587 crimes so far, with domestic abuse now accounting for more than 13 per cent of all recorded crime - an increase of nearly three per cent on last year’s figures.
Mr Lloyd said: “More victims are coming forward, which hopefully shows the confidence they have in the way we deal with their cases.
“However, there are many more cases which go unreported and increasing the size of our investigation team will help us to do more to tackle those who abuse the people closest to them.”