‘His behaviour was disgusting’ – Domestic abuse victim who lived with ex-partner in Stevenage speaks out
- Credit: Archant
A domestic abuse victim is using her experience to help others as she starts to rebuild her life after her former partner was convicted of harassment in the latest of a raft of charges.
The woman, who the Comet is not naming, was in a relationship with the offender for six years and lived with him in Stevenage.
Having successfully ended the relationship, she is now striving to rebuild her life and has become a volunteer for a domestic abuse helpline to support others in a similar situation.
The woman, who is in her 30s and now lives in a North Herts village, said: “He was extremely controlling from about six months into the relationship.
“Even now I think: Why did I ever stay? His behaviour wasn’t normal.
“About two years ago I broke down and told my mum I couldn’t stand it any more. She could see what it was doing to me and took me to the doctor, who referred me to a women’s centre.
“He tried to reel me back in and, because you are made to feel you are worth nothing, when they show you attention you lap it up again.
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“Most women will return to the abuser several times before finally leaving for good. You are broken and believe anything they say to you.”
The victim went back to her partner, but was referred for counselling by her doctor.
She said: “I felt stupid. I felt like I was making a deal out of nothing.
“I saw a counsellor twice and she started to explain what was happening to me and that it would get worse if I didn’t leave.
“My partner said I didn’t need counselling and just needed to behave, so I gave in and didn’t continue with it.
“It got worse and worse and I couldn’t cope, but I didn’t want to go to my parents again because I didn’t want to admit defeat.
“I went to counselling through work and had four months of therapy.
“It’s through seeing the counsellor that I was able to understand myself and rebuild my self-esteem.
“I was still with my partner, but I saw him for what he was. His behaviour was disgusting.
“Around Easter last year I made my mind up I was leaving him. After another row at home, I literally walked out in what I was wearing and that was it. That was me gone.
“I moved into my own place and had nothing, but I didn’t care about that. I just felt safe.”
However, he began calling and texting her and turning up where she was staying.
Last month he was given a community order, and must carry out 100 hours unpaid work, after being found guilty of harassment.
It follows a raft of charges for a number of offences against the victim since they split up.
The victim says there were days she couldn’t leave her house because she didn’t feel safe, but she isn’t disappointed he wasn’t given a prison sentence.
She said: “If the judge had given him a custodial sentence, there would be no rehabilitation. I can’t see how a custodial sentence would have helped him. I believe he needs rehabilitation and, if this can change how he behaves, that’s the whole point.
“That’s it now. It’s got to be it otherwise I’m letting him control me still. I can’t live like that.”
She has now started volunteering once a week for a domestic abuse helpline, adding: “Domestic abuse is a massive problem we have in society these days and I want to do something to help other women.
“I also want to raise public awareness, because it’s something people need to know.”