You know those small toys you get in a Happy Meal? Well, one of the kids got a small Grinch-type toy in their happy meal once. Just a small toy that is meant to bring happiness to a child. In my case, this was used to torture and belittle me in front of my kids and used to distort the relationship between me and my kids. He would hide it around the house, which made me really anxious as I never knew when or where it would be pointed out. What he did was he would leave it around where the kids and I were and would purposely do or say something to upset me and this is where he used the toy. He'd either point to the Grinch or pick it up and say,
"That's your Ma, the Grinch, always moaning and crying, the mental b*tch!"
I now realise the importance of this object in taking control of how our children viewed me as their mother. He eventually achieved his goal and my children turned on me and disrespected me, answering me back when I tried to parent them. He would even reward them for disrespecting me. He always had control, he knocked me down and used me as a way to make himself feel like a big man.
This is a footprint mark that he left after he beat me.
They say love hurts, but it shouldn't cause you physical pain - it shouldn't be like this.
I'm not the only one who's experienced domestic violence and I won't be the last. It is going on behind closed doors all over Ireland, and we're too afraid to talk about it but we need to talk about it. That's why I'm sharing this image, I want to help other women and help change things.
"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.