Love turned to violence
Pamela* - a mother of three from Hull - believed she had found a man with whom she could share the rest of her life. But after just a few months of happiness a different side to his character started to show. The first thing she noticed was his dishonesty - he claimed to be divorced and living with his brother but she found out he was still married.
And then, without warning and for no apparent reason, he became violent.
“He turned from this nice loving man into a nightmare,” says Pamela.
26 years of abuse
Pamela endured 26 years of domestic abuse. She said: "As long as I did exactly what he wanted I thought I would be safe, but he was the one in control and sometimes no matter how hard I tried it was never right. If, for example, he felt I had not cooked his dinner the right way, I’d be kicked and punched or he would shout abuse at me and smash things up in the house. He was always calm and would wear a smirk on his face when he physically assaulted me, and was shrewd enough to hit me where the bruises would be hidden under my clothes.”
Thoughts of leaving
As the years went by Pamela thought many times about leaving. Eventually, she got a new house and moved away from him for two years before, as she puts it, he “wormed his way back into her life” .
“He had his good points and could be caring at times and promised to change, but he was also very charming and manipulative. He demolished my self confidence and self worth and I lived in constant fear.”
The final straw
Pamela’s life changed when she called the police after yet another incident of physical and verbal abuse on the day of a family funeral. She took the decision to permanently break free from the man who had dominated her not just for her own safety, but also for the emotional well-being of her children who had seen and heard much of the abuse.
A domestic violence police officer based with Hull DAP asked a support worker from the service to contact Pamela, and this led to her receiving the one-to-one support she needed to make a new start. She was given a mobile phone to call for help if she felt in danger, counselling, help with finding a new home, and even the removal lorry was arranged to transport all her furniture and possessions.
Her new home was fitted with extra door and window locks, and Pamela was also supported through the legal process of gaining a court injunction to prevent the man from approaching her or her new home.
Hull DAP support
“The aim of the service is to stop victims from enduring repeated attacks and to make sure perpetrators are called to account for their actions,” says Vicki Paddison Hull DAP.
“Through counselling and one-to-one support, we also aim to rebuild the self confidence of survivors, who can be in heterosexual or same sex relationships, and who have suffered at the hands of violent partners.”
*The identity of the woman in this feature has been concealed and her name changed to ensure her safety.