A Louth woman has shared her story of how she escaped domestic abuse - in a bid to show women that help and support is out there for those trapped in a similar situation.
The woman, who was in her early 20s at the time, spent half a year living in a women’s refuge in 2012 after managing to escape a short-lived but abusive relationship.
Although the relationship started well, within just a few months her then-partner had become violent and controlling - and it only got worse in the weeks that followed.
The woman, who does not wish to be named, said: “I was kicked down a flight of stairs pregnant, I was strangled, there were threats to kill me, threats to snatch my child, I was slapped round the face, my family was threatened, and my windows were put through.
“There was also mental abuse; I was lied to, controlled, wasn’t allowed a life or friends, and he controlled my money.”
Her ex-partner was later convicted for assault and criminal damage against her.
The woman said: “It was like there was no escape, because you’re trapped.
“They condition your brain into thinking it is normal to be abused, and a lot of your friends and family turn their backs on you because they think you’re stupid for staying.
“But it’s out of fear, because they make you believe that you won’t survive on your own.
“Mental and physical abuse is detrimental to a person’s mind, and I’ve seen so many women suffer in silence, too scared to leave - but there is help out there.”
She continued: “Women’s Refuge will aid you to do a midnight flit (*) to their properties, and will keep you safe and work with you to rehabilitate your brain and build it back up to understand that it is not okay. They also help with getting convictions, re-homing, and getting you back on your feet.
“It’s such a good organisation, and I don’t think enough people know about it.
“It’s been on my mind a lot lately about how many people are out there too scared to do anything, or unaware that they can even do anything.
“Some women don’t even realise they are being abused. I just want to get the word out there that there is help and an escape.”
“I was lucky because I had a good support network, but a lot of people don’t have that.”
If you are a woman experiencing domestic abuse, contact the National Domestic Violence Helpline (run in partnership between Refuge and Women’s Aid) at www.nationaldomesticviolencehelpline.org.uk or by calling 0808 2000 247.
You can also contact the East Lindsey Domestic Abuse Service on 01507 609830 or find them online at www.facebook.com/EastLindseyDomesticAbuseService.
If you are a man experiencing domestic violence or abuse, visit www.mensadviceline.org.uk for support.
(*) The East Lindsey Domestic Abuse Service would like to make clear that guidance and support would be offered in the first instance, and that if an ‘escape’ is required then, in most cases, a certain degree of advance preparation would be involved (such as alerting the police and other agencies) before this takes place in order to ensure that this can be carried out safely.