Domestic Abuse Stories – I AM FREE!

Home-Start Central Bedfordshire has had the privilege of seeing a happy end to many domestic abuse stories. For years our charity has been running vital domestic violence and domestic abuse support services to help both victims and survivors. Many women in Bedfordshire share similar stories of domestic abuse. We are always overjoyed to hear from local women who attended our support groups. It is our hope that their domestic abuse stories, struggles and triumphs will help to inspire other women. Here’s a message we received from Julia, an attendee of our Pattern Changing programme…

Domestic Abuse Stories Home-Start Central Bedfordshire

Julia’s Story

I wanted to tell you briefly about the huge positive impact taking part in the Pattern Changing course has had on me and my life.

As you know when I came to you I was in utter turmoil and attached to me was a deep distress that I couldn’t get rid of even after doing The Freedom Programme three times to help me understand the 30 years of emotional abuse I had endured.

At the time I had run away from home and had been homeless for 4 months. I felt completely defeated and life felt completely hopeless. I had no real interest in anything and felt that I had no future. It was a very bleak place indeed.

The Pattern Changing group that I was invited to attend was enormously helpful to me and gave me the tools that I needed to completely change my life around. I have now moved back into in my marital home and I have a job. Although I have been through times of immense stress the strategies I was taught during the course gave me the strength and coping skills I needed to get through it.

I have to say that the skills I attained had to be worked on, it wasn’t natural for me to be assertive and there were times when I found myself physically sick with fear in certain situations that before taking the course I would never have put myself in. I battled with courts, wrote letters to Judges and fought for myself in a way that at one time and prior to Pattern Changing would never have been possible.

The group that I was part of was full of amazing women from different backgrounds with their own story and battles ahead of them and I was just one in this incredible group of battered women. As the weeks went by we formed very strong connections and friendships and helped and supported one another.

The bracelet that we made for each other at the last meeting gives me enormous strength, I carry it with me in my handbag at all times. When I look at it I remember the very positive things that others in the group said about me, highlighting qualities I didn’t realise I had.

In more extreme circumstances that I have faced since acquiring my bracelet, I have kept it in my pocket where I can touch it and feel the assurance and strength that it gives me. I feel that I have you (the group leaders) with me also, I take you everywhere with me, I have never felt alone again.

It is this enormous amount of support, encouragement and love that has given me the determination and will to fight for the things that I felt that were right. I am now divorced have my home back, have a full time very rewarding responsible job and a good standard of living and most of all I AM FREE!

I can’t ever thank you enough, you will all always be such a huge part of my life.

With enormous gratitude,

Julia.

Thank you to Julia for sharing her positive outcomes from the Pattern Changing programme, we wish her continued success in her life free from an abusive relationship.

Sarah’s Story

Sarah was a lone parent with a young baby who was living in a Refuge having had to flee an abusive partner. She had no family support as she had had to move away from her hometown and was stressed and anxious. A volunteer, visited weekly for two to three hours while they were in Refuge and continued to visit after the family were rehomed to help her with settling in, claiming benefits and to provide emotional support. Support has now ended and the family are settled and doing well.

I never thought that I would ever find myself in a refuge and pregnant. It was such a dark time. I was moved away from friends and family and felt incredibly isolated. When I had my little girl, it was just all so overwhelming. My key worker suggested Home-Start support. It was the best thing I ever did… I adored my little girl, I was just exhausted and incredibly lonely. My volunteer just broke that incredible isolation you feel when you are living in a refuge.

Most of all, she was a shining light who reassured me I was doing all the right things. Some days, we would just go out and I would feel… human. She never judged me, or patronised me, or made me feel like a failure. She was a friend and she will always have a very special place in my heart.

Names and identifying details have been changed in these domestic abuse stories to protect confidentiality.

Fiona’s Story

Fiona is a lone parent with a 3-year-old little girl who had recently moved to the area to escape domestic violence and rebuild her life. She was very isolated with no family support or friends and she found her little girl’s behaviour was difficult to manage at times. She was also being taken to court by her ex-partner. After learning about Home-Start she asked for help and a volunteer Anna was placed with her to visit weekly. Anna provides emotional support for Fiona, practical help with her daughter and assistance with making new friends and helps to bring back some fun into family life.

My daughter gets so excited when she knows that Anna is coming to visit. She is just amazing and it is the one thing I look forward to all week. She is such a good listener and really encourages and lifts me up. I feel so much more able to concentrate on the things that I can change and accept the things I cannot change. Anna has been such a huge help to us, I can’t imagine how much more difficult this would have been without this incredibly valuable service.

Names and identifying details have been changed in these domestic abuse stories to protect confidentiality.

We are very grateful to the local women who have bravely shared their domestic abuse stories with us. Our charity believes that every man, woman and child deserves a life free from domestic violence and abuse. Contact us now to find out more about our support services for women in Bedfordshire. If you are in need of urgent support, please contact Refuge on their 24-hour helpline.

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