Our latest case story is *Melanie’s (*not her real name). Melanie was in a relationship with her ex-husband for almost 30 years. Melanie faced verbal and emotional abuse along with controlling behaviour throughout the marriage. Over the years there were a number of increasingly violent physical assaults.
This is Melanie’s story in her own words: –
“We were in a relationship for nearly 30 years. After a number of years, the abuse began. He lost his temper over a trivial matter and punched me on my face. He was a lot taller and bigger than me. As a result, I fell onto something and lost consciousness. He then smashed a number of items. Afterwards he apologised and said he would never be violent to me again. I believed him and thought it was a one-off.
For the next 8 years, he was verbally abusive. He would raise his voice and shout at me. He would treat me in a dismissive and derogatory manner, he would belittle me in front of others to show off. He would have to be in control at all times and that control extended to me as well. I got used to being treated in that way.
But then, he became physically violent to me again. I made a trivial comment and he went berserk. He picked up an item in the kitchen and threw it at me, hitting me on the arm. He ran over and started screaming in my face. I managed to run away and lock myself in the bathroom. I made up a story to tell my work colleagues to explain why I was bruised. I was always walking on eggshells, afraid of upsetting him. I would also have to make excuses to others about his behaviour.
The verbal abuse and controlling behaviour continued. After another 12 years being treated like that, he became violent again. He did not like the fact that I had left him in a bar because he was being insulting about me in front of others. He broke one of my ribs and gave me concussion. His attack put me in hospital. Again, afterwards he appeared sorry for what he had done.
But the horrible names and emotional abuse continued, and it was only a couple of years this time before he was physically violent again. Yet again, he threatened to kill himself afterwards. Looking back now, he was just emotionally blackmailing me into keeping quiet about his abuse. This time was different because I called some friends and for the first time, I told someone about his abuse. I then felt strong enough to tell other friends and a family member. I got support from them and eventually, I left him. We were separated for 3 months during which he got help for his anger problems and promised he would never hit me again, so I went back to him.
However, he still got angry on a regular basis and within months, I realised I could no longer endure his abuse. I told him I wanted a divorce. Within a week, he threatened to kill himself. Then a couple of weeks after that, he locked me in the house and repeatedly began to punch me. I thought he was going to kill me. He then got a knife and as I tried to leave, he stabbed me, causing a deep cut on my body. I was bruised and battered with a broken nose. The police were involved. I hope I never see him again.
I later found out that he had abused his first wife including physically assaulting her when she was pregnant and then in front of their children.”
We met Melanie when she was referred to us by the police. The team helped her by preparing her witness statement, completing the court application form and provided her with information about the process of making her application along with details about the Court process, along with encouragement and moral support.
Melanie was successful in obtaining a 12 month non molestation order protect her from her abuser. An occupation order was also granted preventing him from exercising his legal right to return to the former matrimonial home.
“I would never have been able to get this protection from the court without the help of the NCDV. The moral support I got from them, really spurred me on to go through this process. The Judge was very impressed with the statement they prepared for me and that definitely helped with my application”
We asked Melanie how her life has changed since she gained the Court’s protection: –
“I feel safe in my own home”
“I feel liberated. I am not having to watch what I say or do”.
“I am in control of my life again and it is amazing”
“I just want to say to anyone that reads this and is suffering from abuse, that you can take steps to stop your abuser so that you take back control of your life and live in safety.”