“In 2012 I left my former partner whom I was in a relationship with. It was an abusive relationship and we were together for 7 years. I’ve suffered many types of abuse with this “man”, physical, emotional, financial and sexual.
I also miscarried our child together and I nearly lost my son who is now 10. I felt like I had nothing to live for and no one around me. I had no friends, no family, and no support network. I was basically a shadow of the person I once was and I totally lost that outspoken, happy positive, bubbly girl that people knew me to be.
This man had isolated me from the world and controlled my every move. It was in 2012 that I finally decided to speak out to the police and tell them what this man has been doing to me. They were shocked by what they heard and they couldn’t believe that I’ve been living this way for so long. They were shocked that it was only now that I finally found the courage to speak out.
He was arrested on three accounts of rape against me but sadly the charges were dropped due to lack of evidence. However, there was a non-molestation order put in place to help protect me and the children.
He had his residential rights taken away from him and in 2012 the judge ruled that he was forbidden to see our son due to the degree of violence he inflicted on me.
It was in 2013 that police advised us to move back to Essex, to my hometown to be surrounded by friends and family. We have been living in Essex for 6 years now and we still have issues with my ex.
He has been posting pictures of my son online and it was just last year that he managed to get a picture of my son in his school uniform which then led him to know our whereabouts which frightened me a great deal!
The police stepped in and identified us as a high-risk family again. I had to get a non-molestation order put in place, get a solicitor and a barrister and go back to court. It was like reliving the nightmare all over again.
Luckily, the non-molestation order was granted for another 5 years and the judge expressed his sadness at what we had gone through as a family and that this man is still trying to control and intimidate and affect our lives. I feel very lucky that I have the support from different organizations and agencies and I have that protection put in place but still I live with fear in the back of my mind of what this man could do.
I choose to be strong and live every day for me and my children. I try to teach them the wrongs and rights in life and to know that it’s very important to stand up to bullies and not allow people to ever make you feel scared or vulnerable.
During this past year, I have been working as a volunteer for women’s Aid. I absolutely love being part of what these women do to help other women out there that are affected by domestic violence. I’ve also been doing a lot of media work since 2013 and that feels amazing to be part of the new bills and legislations that have been put in place over the last 5 years.
I am involved in raising awareness of domestic abuse, stalking, and harassment. Moreover, I am actively informing agencies and organizations on matters concerning abuse of every kind as this first-hand experience and knowledge helps them a lot!
When I look back at my life, having spent 6 years with this man where I was downtrodden, walking on eggshells and put down on a daily basis I can’t believe how far I’ve come.
I never thought I would have the courage to ever speak out or leave this person. He made me feel worthless, frightened and vulnerable. He made me lose the person I was and it has taken me many years to try and get that person back. I’m still working on myself on a daily basis.
I don’t think you can ever truly get over an experience like that, you just have to learn to deal with it and live with it each day but it’s hard. I try to find something positive from every negative situation. I believe that having lived through this frightening experience has enabled me to help other women just like me and aiding them towards healing.
I want to let these women that they are beautiful, they are strong, they don’t have to tolerate this kind of behavior, they CAN leave and they CAN get their lives back and be happy as I am right now.
Do it for yourself, do it for your children and stand up to these bullies, these narcissistic men that think it’s ok to treat women this way.
I think it’s very important to remember that in every bad situation, through bad choices or terrible outcomes, there is always a chance to try and find something positive that will give you hope again and make you happy.
For me, this is my happy story. I’m now living my life, going to work surrounded by friends and family and bringing my beautiful children up, breathing in the air, shopping when I choose to shop, wearing what I want to wear, eating, drinking and being the person I want to be.
I have chosen NOT to be being surrounded by hate, not to be being manipulated and not allowing someone to wreck my inner self.
I want to speak out and I want to say loud and proud that you can do this, you can be the person you want to be, you can turn your life around. It takes one first, major, brave step and that is “to leave”
To say goodbye to the life that is holding you back from living your dreams. Say goodbye to that person that has made you feel so low and bad.
Decide to love yourself enough to finally find the happiness you deserve. Decide to live your life without regrets and make yourself and your children proud!
I also would like to say that it’s very important to remember that even though you’ve been through something as tragic as any form of domestic violence there are many good people out there and to NOT judge all men the same.
There are many good men out there in the world, sometimes, we have to stumble across the bad ones to appreciate the good. I’m in a really good place in my life right now; my children are settled, my career is about to set off and I have learned to love myself and who I am.
I feel proud to say “I’m a survivor”!
I feel proud to say that I’ve overcome something in my life I never thought I would.
Always remember that it is NOT your fault if you have abused and always speak out and tell someone because there’s always someone out there who wants to listen.”
Written by: Jodie Harris for alwaysladies.com
- You can read Jodie’s detailed account of the abuse she has suffered here .