Like all difficult situations, my journey has been a long and tedious one. However, I now feel that progress has been made and that I am a long way from where I started out and certainly in a more positive place.
In brief, after my abusive relationship had ended months had passed and I was still in denial about what I went through. I attended a Hull DAP domestic abuse awareness course encouraged by a friend. Recognising that I wasn’t to blame for what I went through I followed on to their Brave course which is a recovery programme.
Domestic abuse tends to go in a cycle and whichever way it begins, the behaviour spirals again and again. At first it could be months between incidents but for me, as time went on, there were many instances within one day. It is quite normal to try to prevent the cycle from starting again by changing your behaviour as much as possible.
I simply couldn’t believe that some of the things that other women on the course were saying were exactly what I had gone through, just in a different format or setting.
The help I received by attending a course meant that I began to understand that we were all subjected to the same behaviour and that no one knew before that this could even happen to someone ie that a relationship can be so unhealthy and soul destroying. I realised that others simply needed to know more about this unacceptable behaviour; they needed to see the warning signs before the relationship goes further or the behaviour gets even more controlling. On the other hand, I needed others to see the behaviour for what it is. If people are in a relationship and the behaviour within it is not acceptable, it is not their fault and it can’t simply be changed by changing yourself.
I didn’t know it then but this was going to be the beginning of a different journey and one that I felt passionately about.
I knew that I had a story to tell and with my previous unfinished written work I realised my first novel had to be more than a book – it had to be a message – a way for others to be able to pass on the story to help other victims and to get the penny to drop and bring about realisation of what is happening sooner than it might otherwise have done. This means that when the relationship ends victims and survivors realise they are not the only ones out there and it is ok to talk about the abuse. You are not alone.
I turned what I felt was my mess into a message.
If you haven’t heard about my debut novel Isolation Junction…
100 reasons to leave, 1,000 reasons to stay.
When Rose married the love of her life she was expecting the perfect family life she’d always dreamed of, but before her first child was born her husband, Darren, changed.
Almost overnight Rose’s life is turned upside down and the life she’d envisioned seemed like an impossible dream.
As Darren’s abuse deepens, Rose has 100 reasons to leave but 1,000s why she can’t. Will she ever escape the hellish life she and her children are trapped in?
Can Rose stop her life spiralling further out of control?
Can she find the life she desperately wants for her children?
Stuck at Isolation Junction, which way will Rose turn?
Since the publication of Isolation Junction in 2016 I have received hundreds of messages from others who have been through abuse personally. I have helped other women in abusive relationships to find the help they need to get out, simply by connecting them with local services they didn’t know were available; not just in the UK. Let me also say clearly, that domestic abuse crosses all classes and social divides and happens to women and men of all ages.
This lead onto my second publication Clipped Wings which was released last year. A group of survivors have written, or been interviewed, about their own experiences. These accounts – in their own words – show that survivors do have a voice and that it needs to be heard. They show that abuse isn’t unique or strange but that it is, in fact, a surprisingly common problem in today’s society. With their help, we can reach out to educate people about this insidious behaviour.
I’ve also opened a weekly Twitter chat under #AbuseTalk for anyone to discuss domestic abuse each week, the response from this lead to me opening a forum which is on my website and is sponsored by a solicitor and other businesses.
My journey has certainly not been easy and I still face challenges every day, whether they be trying to build awareness and not being heard because it is all word of mouth or the person who abused me – I understand that when deciding to take this route I left open a door to my abuser but I couldn’t let this stop me helping others- it doesn’t mean it makes it easy for me at times. Thankfully I have learnt how to balance life and with the help and support of others I am able to focus on the rewarding side to being an advocate. I am passionate about standing up for the changes that need to be made and the awareness their needs to be, if more people knew what an unhealthy relationship looked like then this could change the horrific statistic that domestic abuse will affect 1 in 4 women and 1 in 6 men in their lifetime.
The help I have given others has been my most rewarding achievement. I couldn’t have imagined my life and where it is now years ago and I am thankful I have taken the steps I have taken with the support of my husband, family and friends.
Support is available and the best thing I did was receive the support I needed. If you need help and support then please welcome it, its changed my life.
Local support contacts:
Hull Domestic Abuse Partnership (Hull DAP)
If you are calling from the local area the telephone number does not appear on your bill. If you use a mobile phone the number does show up on your statement and in your dialled numbers list unless you delete it. If we ring you, our number does not show up on your phone.
Hull Women’s Aid
Hull Women’s Aid (HWA) is the sole provider of safe and secure refuge accommodation on the north bank of the Humber for women and children fleeing domestic abuse.
Preston Road Women’s Centre
WINNER, the Preston Road Women’s Centre provides information, support and advice to women in Hull. It is a multi-purpose organisation run by women for women offering a wide range of services under one roof.
Women can drop into WINNER anytime between 10am to 4pm Monday to Friday to access any of our services or to meet other women in a safe environment.
In an emergency call 999