I knew nothing of domestic violence until I met my future husband at the age of 15. I was locked in his flat and prevented from going to school. I fell pregnant at the age of 16. Things gradually got worse from there.
In the folllowing seven years, I was continually punched, kicked and bruised; even when pregnant. Threats to kill me, my daughter or members of my family were a daily occurrence. I was 23 and had lost my family, lost my laughter, lost the sparkle in my eyes. I felt like a little invisible shadow. People knew, but I couldn’t tell anone, as I was so scared that my child would be taken away. I thought it I kept my mouth shut, then at least I had my daughter.
The trigger point came when he started to mentally abuse my daughter. She was petrified of him and repeatedly asked to be taken away to a happy home. One day he was injecting one of his mates whilst I was locked in an outhouse cupboard. I managed to push my way out and just ran. All I had was my child benefit book. With my younger sister’s help, we collected my daughter from school. We went straight to our local Women’s Aid office and I was referred into a refuge in Monmouthshire, which is run by Cyfannol Women’s Aid.
My life started the day I left him. I went to performing arts college, learnt to drive, did a degree and slowly forged a career in working with children. Since then, I’ve managed to really ground and distance myself from the girl who turned up at the refuge in all her utterly broken state. I now work with children who have experienced trauma, who are often emotionally numb, and it’s my passion to help bring them to life again.