"I remember someone said to me 'He sure did assault the wrong woman.' I thought he assaulted the right woman as I am now not afraid to speak up through Women's Aid to help somebody else.
I cannot believe I stayed so long in that environment, I had such a lucky escape. Yet in other ways, I still can't believe I got out, with no ties, what would have become of me if I didn't get out the way I did? I don't know where I went the two years I was with him. I completely lost my voice and my independent self. I got off a plane after working and travelling the other side of the world and walked straight into hell.
After the physical assault I googled domestic abuse. I felt sick. I read the warning signs and could relate to nearly all of them.
It felt like someone was watching my relationship from afar and documented what was happening. If I had one wish it would be that every single person on the planet who is in any relationship, whether they think it's good or bad, Google the warning signs like I did, or look at the Women's Aid website and educate yourself. It was a dose of reality I wasn't expecting and is difficult for it to register and understand that that's what you've been experiencing.
You might be in denial and think all will be okay, but in reality, it won't. It's not all about one slap or one physical assault, it's a pattern of abuse and control that can lead to being seriously injured or in some cases, death.
It sends a cold shiver through me when I read those horrific stories about murder and serious assaults. The ignorance towards the complexity of domestic abuse concerns me and people still question; Why did she stay? What did she do? Or, Why did she do that? This ignorance can cost lives and women are afraid to speak up. If we live in a society where a woman is made feel isolated for speaking up we are allowing the cycle to continue. Men are free to do what they please, they can pick up another victim and start from scratch."
"Women's Voices" is a photo essay featuring individual stories from survivors of domestic abuse. Each woman tells her story anonymously, sharing her own personal experience of the abuse she suffered. By telling their stories, the survivors hope that those in similar situations reach out, ask for help, and seek support. Read more about this project here.