- 1.2 million women have experienced domestic abuse over the past year
- An estimated 4.3 million women aged 16-59 have experienced domestic abuse since the age of 16
- On average two women are killed by their partner or ex-partner every week in England and Wales
These are some of the shocking figures that show the level of domestic abuse across the UK.
But behind these figures are real women who have suffered at the hands of their partners.
Real women like Jeanette. This is her story:
“I was with him for four years. The first two years were nice as pie – but then the abuse started.
“We went out to watch a band. He accused me of flirting with his mate during the gig – all I did was talk to him. When we got home he punched me. I forgave him – but told him never to lay a finger on me again.
“He used to drink and take drugs. I would question him about it but he would turn the tables and accuse me of picking on him.
“He would call me a dog. I would clean the house obsessively but he would find something to criticise. I would be on my hands and knees scrubbing the floor and then he would pour coffee all over it – he was a nasty piece of work.
“He controlled every bit of my life – there were mirrors in the hallway so he could watch my every move. I was even scared to move in case he would accuse me of something.
“Things began to escalate. He slammed my arm into the door and broke it. I went into work the next day and people would ask ‘what happened?’ I would always cover for him.
“Every night was the same – as soon as I got in from work the abuse would start. He would push me about. He kicked me once and I flew from one end of the room to the other. He would push me out of bed and make me sleep on the floor.
“He got a kick out of humiliating me. One time he wouldn’t let me in to the flat – he just stood there laughing on the other side of the door until I wet myself.
“I was disgusted with myself – I would pretend as if nothing had happened. My work colleagues began to pick up on things – they offered to help me but I was too scared to do anything. He had complete control over me – I had nowhere else to go and he knew it.
“He had always threatened to kill me. One night I could hear him messing around with knives. He was different that night and I knew it was live or die.
“I threw myself from the window of our first floor flat and called the police. It was 5am in the morning and they arrived – I felt safe for the first time.
“I crashed at a friend’s house before I went to Cheshire Without Abuse (CAW). I was with them for a year and it was fantastic – it allowed me to take a step back. I had my own space and the support workers were lovely. I didn’t have a penny in my pocket but they were able to get me some help from the foodbank. It was just taking things day by day – everyone there had suffered at the hands of their abusers. We had all been through it which meant we could help each other. We still keep in touch and are always there for each other.
“When it came to move on I had nothing. All I wanted was somewhere where I could feel safe and call ‘home’.
“I moved in to a Weaver Vale flat and met Lesley Sharratt (WVHT Support Worker). She has been brilliant since day one. She understood what I was going through and has helped me every step of the way.
“Lesley made me feel safe and ensured I had all the right support in place. After everything I’ve been through, I can’t face being alone with a man so Lesley is always here when I’m having work done in the flat.
“Lesley has gone above an beyond. She got me a food parcel from the Salvation Army and also helped get me all the furniture you see in this flat. It’s a bit of a cliché – but I feel like I have known her all my life.
“Since being here, I have slept for the first time in over a year. I feel safe because I know he can’t find me.
“No one can hurt me anymore. When I wake up I know I’m not going to die today – and that’s the safest feeling in the world.”