"We met when we were 17 and ended up doing the same course in college. He was verbally abusive towards me, in person and in texts. One day, in class, I had to stand up and give a presentation and was using my phone as a timer.
As I was giving the presentation I kept receiving text after text from him telling me I was stupid, and what I was saying didn't make sense, that I wasn't smart enough to be doing the course and that everyone in the class thought the same.
He was always putting me down and hated to see me doing well. Along with his ever present verbal and emotional abuse, the threat of violence was always lingering. He would threaten me constantly saying things like "if you don't do this for me [some sort of sexual activity] you'll regret it" or "if you go out with her [a friend] you'll regret it." Until one day, that threat became reality.
"Fat pig" was one of his favourite things to call me and used it frequently. He would tell me that he needed me to look more like other girls for him to be attracted to me and that I needed to try and lose some weight. So I started running.
At first I started running to change myself physically for him but I ended up enjoying it for myself. It was freeing and calmed my mind.
Last year I completed my second Dublin Marathon and completed my third, in Paris, in April."
"Women's Voices" is a series of testimonies from survivors of domestic abuse. Each woman tells her story anonymously, sharing her own personal experience of the abuse. By telling their stories, the survivors hope that those in similar situations reach out, ask for help, and seek support. If you are affected by domestic abuse or are concerned about someone you know, please call the Women's Aid 24hr National Freephone Helpline on 1800 341 900.