My husband used to be very controlling and manipulative. He would over dose and say he was going to kill himself. He would accuse me of affairs, he accused me of sleeping with one of my female friends and a lifelong family friend. He would lock me up in the house and take away my phone.
So when I left and came to Oasis it was very daunting. I came with just one bag and luckily I had all my paper work with me. I came on the Friday so it was funny really I went to go for a walk to have a look around and I couldn’t work out how the security door worked, so I went and asked the other women staying there how to get out, they all rushed to show me and were all very helpful, they all gave me advice about the area and where was and wasn’t safe at night.
Oasis helped me to set up my job seekers allowance, but the money doesn’t come through for four weeks so without Oasis and the donations of food and clothes I couldn’t of done it. They also put me in contact with a solicitor to help me get a divorce and injunction against my husband.
I had tried to leave before, I spent two days at a friend’s house and I went back to him that is the difference with Oasis, it is the support you get and the people you meet who really help to keep you here and let you know what you are doing is right.
Everyone, my husband and my children were sending me horrible messages when I first left. He even attempted to put a tracking device on my phone to find me – luckily the team at Oasis spotted it and prevented it from working so I didn’t have to leave. I didn’t respond to any of the messages. But they were upsetting. Right at the start I thought that’s all I’m worth and maybe I should go back because I did deserve any better. I thought I was being selfish and should put everyone else first because I didn’t deserve to be happy. Everyone at Oasis helped me stay strong though. The staff and the other women in the refuge they help make you believe in yourself, so I didn’t go back.
I know I wouldn’t be where I am now without Oasis, they just know the right people to get in touch with. I know the support is still there if I need help, I know I can call up and someone will be happy to help me and give me advice on what to do.
I used to get bored when I was in the refuge so I used to help out with odd jobs and so on. Helping out with admin and some fundraising things. I was asked at event once what I did at Oasis and I just said ‘I live here, I’m a victim of domestic abuse’. I didn’t have to but I didn’t see why I shouldn’t. Without Oasis I wouldn’t be in the place I am now. I am so grateful and everyone [at Oasis] has made such a difference to me.
I want to help Oasis, and if sharing my story helps people understand the great work they do is then good.
*Names changed to protect identities*