As far back the age of 5-6 years, I can remember, my father was very violent and aggressive towards everyone in my family, I use to watch my mother get throwing across the room, strangled, punched kicked, you name it, he did it. This affected my concentration at school all the way through to college.
Ages 5/6 in school I wasn’t focused on any work, but instead I used to sit wonder ‘he’s beating her up, will she have bruises… will I find her when I get home, and has he killed her?’ Extreme I know, but very realistic of what he could have done.
Growing up I saw my brother get locked in the living room with my dad beating him up with TV cables and a wooden plank, he must have been aged 15 at the time, this violence was a constant on going thing in our family and it was never spoken of outside, I think we were all too scared to speak of it to anyone else.
There was a time when my father held my brother and I by the neck, one on each hand, because we did not know where our school library books were and a small bill came through the door. (Was too young to take care of school books, I thought that was the parents job!)
At the age of 7-8, me and my sister was planning to leave home, I remember we were collecting penny’s and 5p’s… this plan was dangerous because we didn’t know the world or how dangerous it was, it’s not like we were going out to seek help, it was more about getting away from my dad.
Stuck all those years not knowing what to do or where to turn, watching everyone get abused from day-to-day, made me lose interest in doing well with education but instead I was focused on survival
By aged 14, Attempted running away without my parents finding out, my best friend and I bunked school, went to train station and was prepared to go anywhere this train was going to take us… until after 2-3 hours, my friend decided she couldn’t do it and wanted to go home.
My family and I moved to Tower Hamlets borough. This was where I saw other teens being confident and living a normal life. I started bunking high school just so I can have a social life as well as learning about the environment around me, becoming streetwise. I realised Domestic Violence wasn’t uncommon here, this is when I learned a bit more about the services that were available.
By aged 16, my father was angry at me for being late (it was 4 pm) and he grabbed my face and put pillow over it, I struggled for air, I found myself unable to do anything, few more seconds I would have been gone! But luckily my mum and siblings managed to pull him away. I felt trapped and helpless, not knowing what he was going to do next. I wished I had died at that moment.
A year went by of planning how to escape this violence, and by being able to go to college meant on my way I could access a payphone (not may teens had phones at that time), so I called Women’s Aid, and from there I set a date to leave. At the age of 17, I left home and was put in a hostel and that’s when my freedom began.
By 18 the cycle of Domestic Violence started again as I got myself into a very abusive relationship.
My mother suffered from severe depression, which then lead to schizophrenia which meant she was not mentally all there but physically she was. Growing up, I did not get the warmth, hugs or kisses. I feel as though I did not have a mother present and was left with this very abusive man who I could not call a father, because to me, a mother and father are two people that were meant to take care of my overall well-being to guide me through life, not abuse me or let me feel neglected.
Took me years to get over my abusive relationship, as I felt loved for the first time by someone. (Short lived love, long lived violence!) I just stuck by him through the abuse as I had two children with him and felt trapped as he was very aggressive and would not let me go. Year after year police were called, in and out of prison he went, this is when I had a moment to realise I can take care of myself and my children, I didn’t need him. I started college and studied nursing.
My Ex partner kicked off again out of jealously of me having friends, things got bad, called police and finally, restrictions were put on place and thankfully that was the end of it all. I knew what I wanted to do something with my life, which was to be a counsellor or support worker but I wasn’t fully confident and needed to work on myself before I start helping others. So, I took a year out of education and went into work, started working in an office and quickly progressed to management level.
I would never forget what my father and ex put me through, it left deep scars, I feel as though I went to hell and back! I’ve had a lot of counselling over the years and I am on the waiting list for psychotherapy. But all is not bad, in the past year I have been working on myself and learnt how to deal with my feelings, and how to stay positive.
I did manage to get through this by seeing a counsellor, help from my doctor and with support of my siblings. I am now at University studying Counselling BSc and I will pass this and enable myself to help others professionally.