I met my ex-partner through a friend. We dated for 2 years and everything was fine. We finally decided to move in together and I shortly fell pregnant. When I was 3 months pregnant the physical abuse started. I can remember a time when he attacked me concentrating on hitting my head. I was covered in bruises. Time seemed to stop still and an hour would fell like days. I tried to stay strong and carry on with looking after his children from other relationships while trying to protect my unborn child, I tried to leave a few times but he would say that he had changed and persuade me to come back home, which I did because I loved him. When I look back now I see that from the start of the relationship there were warning signs, like him isolating me from my friends and family, and controlling money. By the end of the relationship he was in complete control of everything and everyone. He used his other children to carry on the abuse, and I remember that his older children used to put things in my food. This was normal and I lived in constant fear not only for myself but for my son who was only a few months old.
I finally left for good after my ex had thrown me out of the house with my son, I went to my local children’s centre to speak to the only person that I thought I could trust as I felt so alone. She was not there and no-one else could help me. I had spent so long keeping everything inside and I found it hard to talk to people that I didn’t know. When the message reached my Health Visitor she rang the Police. I was seeking shelter at a friends but it was close by. My son was only a couple of months old and I had no money and no food for him - I just needed some help. The Police got some bits from the house and I went to my parents’ house to hide. It was here that I spoke to the Women’s Aid helpline who put me in touch with Oasis. I was so scared about leaving the only people that I could trust to go somewhere I didn’t know, but I bit the bullet and went for it.
I had a great keyworker who put me at ease. I’m not going to lie - it was hard living at the refuge, but it gave me time to focus and decide on my next plan. Both me and my son are now settled, I have a job and my son is in school and loving it. When I look back and think about if I hadn’t have left I think that one of the attacks would have finally killed me. Oasis gave me the opportunity to be safe and free.
While living here I have continued with my training and taken part in art exhibitions which I love.
My future is only to be superb, it’s my oyster!
*Names changed to protect identities*