Going to a refuge has saved my life

conceptual shot representin teh emotions sadness and depression
conceptual shot representin teh emotions sadness and depression
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Trina lifted her little boy from train to platform.

His hand trustingly in hers, they walked out of Sheffield Midland Station into a city where they new no one and had nothing.

It was here they were to start a new life. A taxi was waiting to drive them to Sheffield’s women’s refuge.

All she could think about was that there should have been the three of them, sitting in the cab. She had been forced to leave behind her four year old daughter with her ex Tom, the man who had bullied and controlled her for years.

She hated the hostel. She missed her home and her family and kept asking herself whether Tom had really been so bad. Hadn’t he always told her that he loved her?

Trina had met Tom in Northampton when both were 18. “I thought he was the bee’s knees,” she says. “Things moved really fast; I fell pregnant three weeks after we met. He was delighted; we got a council house and had our daughter. He started smoking a lot of cannabis, which meant most of the time he was stoned. Then he banned my mother from the house and became aggressive.

“At first it was verbal; I was a lazy cow, a fat bitch. The one time we had sex, I fell pregnant again and his temper really started. He would spit in my face and hurl things at me. I left with our daughter but he won me back with promises. He asked me to marry him; I even bought the dress.”

After their son was born, he banned her from seeing her friends. In rages, he would grab her arms and pin her up against a wall.

She left again, but he forced her to leave their daughter with him – then told the little girl mummy had abandoned her.

The final straw came when she went to collect her son from an overnight stay with daddy but Tom dragged her in and kept her prisoner for nine hours.

“He was in a psychotic rage, throwing things and making threats. I got away by promising I was coming back to him.”

Trina called police, who arrested Tom and gave her the number of a domestic violence project. They offered her a place in a refuge in Sheffield.

Two days later she was on the train.

Not long after domestic violence workers helped her get a little house, Tom himself reminded her that she was doing the right thing. He rang to tell her he had tracked me down to Sheffield. “He told me he had looked through the windows of my house; he even described my furniture and ordered me to go back to him,” she says.

Trina now has a new partner. She met John on an internet dating site 18 months ago, four months after coming to Sheffield.

Trusting another man is really hard,” she says. “I know in my heart he would never hit me. But I still worry. If he raises an arm in the air, I flinch.”

But John understood and persevered. They got engaged at Christmas and expect their first child together in eight weeks.

“John has shown me nothing but love, respect and kindness. I desperately miss my daughter, but my son and I have the life we came to Sheffield to find,” she says.

“People like me often go through life the victim. What happened to them controls them forever, even if they managed to leave. But thanks to all the support I’ve had, I feel I’m 100 per cent in control.

Just the other day Tom phoned and threatened to bray her head in because her mobile had been switched off.

“It still takes my breath away,” she says. “But I’ve been taught how to cope.”

I calm myself down and call the police to log the incident.”