Current media case studies

Aisling’s Story

Like so many women, Aisling* met a man she thought was perfect for her. Mike played the role of the perfect gentleman and she was swept off her feet. At 24, she fell in love and, like so many of us, hoped for her fairytale ending. Four years later, she married Mike and believed she had found it. Her family and friends adored him too and Aisling was excited about their future together.

Feeling powerless

Sadly, not long into her marriage, she realised Mike had tricked her. His behaviour changed overnight, his true colours came out, and now she found herself trapped in an abusive relationship with no idea how to set herself free.  All of a sudden, Aisling’s world came crashing down and she felt powerless. She feared telling anybody the truth because she knew that everyone thought the world of Mike and worried that she would not be believed.

 A cycle of abuse

Aisling told us:

“When I was pregnant, he became more aggressive and violent. One morning, I was in the bathroom being sick and he came in and started yelling, he told me this pregnancy had made me ignore him and that he was sick of me being sick all the time. He picked up the towel and started hitting me with it. I pleaded with him to stop.”

“Another time, when I was five months’ pregnant, he began forcing me to have sex with him. I tried to get away from him and fell on the floor. He started kicking me in the back, I was so frightened I was trying to hide my stomach, I was so worried about the baby. I had bruises all over my back and was so sore from where he had kicked me. Later that day, I started to bleed. He took me to the hospital and, crying, he told staff that I’d been in a car crash. And how scared he was that I was going to lose our baby.”

A turning point

“Later, when he was gone home for the night, I talked to a midwife again. I don’t know how, but suddenly I found myself blurting out – “I wasn’t in a car crash.” She was amazing. She just listened and held my hand while I spoke. She told me that I should talk to the social worker, who then put me in touch with Women’s Aid. It was so good to talk to someone confidentially, who didn’t tell me what to do, but who confirmed what I knew - that what Mike was doing was wrong and that I shouldn’t have to experience these things. Orla from Women’s Aid supported me, helping me get legal protection and, when I was ready, she also came to court with me and helped me secure a barring order against Mike.”

No longer alone

Thanks to Women’s Aid support services, Aisling was able to find the courage and support she needed to leave years of cruelty and abuse behind her. It’s not quite over yet, but she is on the path to being free and safe. She still needs to face Mike in court to sort out child custody and access rights, but she is no longer doing it alone.

As Aisling says: “I have an army beside me. An army of family, Women’s Aid – and invisible friends, advocates and kind people who support their crucial services.”


*Name and some details have been changed to protect identity.