“If your gut is telling you something isn't right, then it probably isn't. I'm scared to think what might have happened if I hadn't contacted police when I did.”
These are the words of a domestic violence survivor who is sharing her story hoping to help those who are experiencing abuse.
As lockdown restrictions are easing, we want you to know that we are here - we will come when you ask for help and can take steps to make sure you’re safe.
If you are a victim of domestic abuse, who may have been suffering in silence during lockdown, we would urge you to report it to us.
Sophie, not her real name, says when she first met her former partner, he showed kindness towards but said this was the start of his controlling behaviour.
She says his controlling behaviour included making her sit close to him while out in public to make sure there was ‘physical contact at all times.’ This behaviour escalated during a trip away.
“Every venue we attended he became more agitated if I spoke to anybody but him.
“Physically moving me from one chair to another, closer to him, and in the final pub, because I was not 'doing as I was meant to' he assaulted me, pulling my hair three separate times and threatening me. Having to stay at the same B&B was terrifying, before going to sleep he delivered a tirade of accusations, threats and abuse.”
Sophie says upon returning home she made it clear she no longer wanted anything to do with him but the week later the harassment began. Sophie says the man’s behaviour included making contact through several fake social media accounts, messaging her friends and turning up at pubs she was in.
“It started with texting at first and demanding my attention, then he turned up at my house with flowers expecting that this made everything OK. I told him clearly again that he needed to leave, and I wanted nothing to do with him. I closed and locked the door but he came back three times, shouting through the letterbox, banging the door, terrifying me.
“At this point my family and friends insisted I contacted the police. I felt so much better after speaking to an officer, I'd felt quite foolish before ringing, thinking it was my own fault, or that I shouldn't feel so frightened or be wasting people's time.
“I would honestly encourage anyone experiencing any level of discomfort due to the actions of another person to speak to a police officer. Even if you feel a little silly or are unsure. Let them be the judge of whether you are right to be concerned. If your gut is telling you something isn't right, then it probably isn't. I'm scared to think what might have happened if I hadn't contacted them when I did.”
If you are a victim, or are worried about someone you know, we would urge you to report it to us on 101 or 999 in an emergency.
You can call the Live Fear Free helpline 24/7 for advice and support:
Phone: 0808 80 10 800
Text: 078600 77 333
Our Survivor Engagement Co-ordinator, Liz Lowther, engages with victims of domestic violence and sexual violence to help improve the service we offer to victims in our communities. We listen to your feedback which helps us to improve our response to ensure we keep people safe from harm.
If you would like to contribute feedback about your experience, please get in contact with Liz Lowther by calling 0300 1232133 or via email [email protected]