Domestic abuse survivor in Sheffield issues advice to lockdown victims

A Sheffield woman who survived nine years of domestic abuse has spoken of her ordeal in a bid to encourage those suffering during lockdown to seek help.

By Claire Lewis
Friday, 19th February 2021, 8:07 am

The 48-year-old met her abuser in a pub in 2008 and was engaged within two weeks after falling for his charms and being keen for a settled family life for her children.

But as quickly as their relationship developed, so too did the domestic abuse and just two months after the pair met violence flared.

The mum-of-three said she was forced to flee into the street barefoot after her partner placed his hands around her neck during a row.

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The woman was threatened with knives, was glassed in her face and was strangled with the cord of an iron and a phone charger

One year into the relationship she sought help at a women’s refuge, but keen for their relationship to work she went back to her abuser when he wooed her with flowers, promises of romantic holidays and marriage in an attempt to convince her that he had changed.

But rows and violence continued.

Isolated from her family and friends by her partner, she was threatened with knives, was glassed in her face and was strangled with the cord of an iron and a phone charger.

She had a hot iron held close to her face and was covered with shards of glass when her partner smashed a car window as she once made a desperate bid to escape.

Her two eldest children left home, her partner took control of the family finances and began to rape her.

After enduring nine years of abuse, she called South Yorkshire Police in September 2018 and finally left her abuser.

With orders in place banning him from making contact, she has now enjoyed two violence free years.

A police investigation is under way but the woman, who endured nearly a decade of abuse, believes more could have been done earlier.

She said: “The help and support I have had since September 2018 has been great but I did slip through the net for a long time.

“I used to ring the police and they would come out but I used to be persuaded to stay and not to say anything when officers used to come out. This was the control he had over me without me realising at the time.”

With police forces having expressed fears for victims of domestic abuse being forced to spend prolonged periods of time at home with their attackers during lockdown, the survivor said: “If I can reach out to just one person, this has been worth it.

“There is help and support out there. You do not need to suffer alone.

“Please tell someone what you are going through. I suffered for 10 long years but now have a second chance at life.”

Meanwhile, Crimestoppers is also urging people to speak up to help save lives.

In the first three weeks of March 2020, 14 women and two children in the UK were killed as a result of domestic abuse - the highest rate for 11 years.

Almost one year on, and as Covid-19 restrictions remain in place, the charity is appealing for anyone aware of domestic abuse happening to raise the alarm.

Visit South Yorkshire Police’s website for details on how to seek help.