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Jenny’s story

These are the words of a young woman, Betty (not her real name), who escaped the abuse of her tormentor. ​

" On one occasion he snapped my bank card up just before Christmas..."

Before I fled to my parents home in Bolton, I had left and gone back to my ex boyfriend so many times, but never once came back to Bolton. I wouldn’t tell my family the truth about what he was like. ​

I lived in Cornwall miles from family and friends. I had a daughter from a previous relationship and a new baby to him, I felt I needed to make a real go of this relationship. ​

I have been in hospital and a refuge but still went back to him. Eventually in August 2016 I escaped by telling him I was going to visit my parents in Bolton saying my mum was ill. At first he wouldn’t let me take the baby in case I didn’t come back but I convinced him I would. ​

I lost count of the times he attacked me. Throughout my relationship with him he was controlling, locking me in the house, taking my phone and money. On one occasion he snapped my bank card up just before Christmas. He scraped a key down my face making it bleed and then dragged me through the house by my hair, punching, kicking and spitting in my face. Then he strangled me 3 times to the point I struggled to breathe. I had marks and bruises on my neck.​

One night I had enough of him taking my money and phone and I went to a friends for an hour. When I went to get my keys and he held a knife to my throat asking me where I had been and who with. He left a big scratch along my neck I was so frightened.​

There was no one I could turn to, no one stopped him and no one stood up to him and told him he was wrong. He abused me in front of my two daughters and his eldest daughter. His family and friends all saw the bruises, black eyes and cuts. When I asked his mum why he did this to me, she said he was like his dad and would grow out of it. ​

He was always worse when he wanted a weed and couldn’t get one. If we had no money or the local drug dealer didn’t have any, he would take it out on me and the girls. I always knew when he hadn’t had any because he would smack the children and then we would argue because I disagreed with it. He would send them to their room and I wasn’t allowed to go in and see to them or give them food or look after them if they were poorly. He never did any activities with them and never took them to stay with him overnight, even when he went off for weeks. ​

It got worse, not only did he bully me, he began to bully my eldest daughter, calling her stupid, ugly and a retard because she wasn’t his. Making me spend less money on her all the time. He controlled my money constantly and if I didn’t give him money, there was always a slap, punch, or an argument that would follow. He would not leave my house and wanted to stay over all the time. When I told him to leave he would demand sex. If I refused he would make me suffer or say I was giving the children to much attention and then punish them.

He would never allow me to go out with friends and I was only allowed to go down and see my family once a year. His excuse was I couldn’t be trusted. I lost count of the number of times he accused me of talking to other men, which I never did, he was paranoid.​

If I wore make up he said I was doing it for the dads at school or nursery. Straightening my hair would cause an argument or the clothes I wore. If I was a little too late after picking the kids up from school, he would smash up my phone or tablet. He has smashed up my laptop, my straighteners and the children’s’ toys. Always threatening me with things and controlling me.​

In September 2014 I was admitted to hospital. He had picked me up and threw me at my daughter’s pram. I hit my back off the wheel. He made sure he came with me so he knew what I said to them. I told the Doctors I caught my sock on the stairs and I had an x-ray and was given painkillers. When I came home he battered me again so I took the two girls and went into a hostel. After a week the police came and said it was safe for me to go back home. It wasn’t long before he had got back in and begged forgiveness saying it wouldn’t happen again. ​

Of course it did. It got worse and worse and there was nowhere to go.

On Saturday 20th July 2016 at approximately 3pm he attacked me for the last time. Grabbing me by my hair and throat he threw me through a table breaking both my arms, I had lumps the size of golf balls on both arms in between my wrists and elbows. I still have scars on one arm and had bruising to my left leg from him punching me repeatedly on the same day.​

From that day I had to plan my escape for good, I couldn’t stay there any more I knew he would kill me. I talked him into letting me visit my parents for a week and I never went back. I left everything and my children lost everything, their dad’s family and their friends. ​

I arrived home last August. I am living in a two bed house with my parents and sister and the girls but it’s better than living in fear everyday. I met a lady from Bolton Survivor Project who has put me in touch with Fort Alice to give me counselling and advice and hopefully help me find somewhere to live. ​

For me my journey is just beginning, and I don’t know what the future holds. I am hoping to go back to college when my youngest is in school full time and then I can get a good job. The most important thing for me though is that I took my girls away from it all. They never deserved to live like that and be treated like that. Please leave don’t stay, the children are more important than anything else. ​

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