My getaway wasn’t easy. I didn’t expect the help I got from Solace.
I had one chance to make that call to Solace. I was terrified my husband would come home and find out we were trying to leave him. But I knew I was making the right decision as soon as I spoke to Carrie, the refuge worker. She was able to get me and my child a room in a Solace refuge the same day.
I had half an hour to grab everything, towels, bedding, toiletries…I was grateful to be able to grab everything I needed. Some women I met in refuge weren’t so lucky.
I arrived at 8pm, Carrie had stayed late to make sure she was there to greet me. I could see she was tired, but she was so kind even at the end of the day. I was all over the place, but Carrie told me I did well and that felt amazing. She even had toys and a welcome pack waiting for my child, which she loved! We felt welcomed and safe instantly.
Over the next few weeks, Carrie sorted everything out for me including getting my daughter into a new school and helping me apply for benefits. When I was with my husband, I had to do everything and still he put me down, making me feel worthless. People always told me I was overreacting because nothing was broken, I wasn’t beaten badly. Carrie taught me that my struggles are valid, they are real and it is not okay to experience that.
I am so glad I left the house that day, so thankful I took that opportunity to get away, for me and my child.
I never thought I’d end up in a refuge. I never thought I’d be a survivor of domestic abuse. It just happened.
My husband was always controlling, right from the very start of our marriage. It sort of felt romantic at first, that he cared about me and didn’t want to lose me and that’s why he got so jealous and wanted to know where I was all the time.
If I tried to do anything myself without his approval, he would get angry and often become violent. But afterwards he would be so upset and promise that it would never happen again. For the next few days after, he would be so loving and would buy me flowers to say sorry. But he made that promise so many times I started to not believe it. The truth is he liked me being dependent on him.
One night he hurt me so badly that I ended up in hospital. I had to get away. The staff put me in touch with Solace and helped me get to a refuge.
It wasn’t until I got to refuge and spoke about my experiences that I realised how toxic the relationship was and how much he had affected my self-esteem and mental health.
I felt so ashamed and blamed myself for not realising how dangerous he was and for putting up with his behaviour for so long. But my Solace worker taught me that what happened to me was not my fault. Now I am proud that I got away. It was the best decision I have ever made.
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*Names have been changed to protect identity.