I left my family home and moved in with him just before I turned 18. This was following arguments and fights with parents all about him and them wanting me to end things with him, but I couldn’t I loved him, and he was the only person who was truly there for me, loved me or cared for me – or so he told me.
After we moved in together things turned worse than I could ever have imagined, now I really was isolated. The police were being called out regular by the neighbours and I had to attend hospital on numerous occasions, I never pressed charges, or made a statement. I couldn’t get him in trouble I loved him and ultimately, I knew when he was released, he would come back, and I would take him back. The assaults were becoming more regular, and each time getting that little bit worse. I would hide my bruises or cuts with make up or extra clothing. If someone did ever see them, I would make an excuse up “I’ve tripped on the bathmat” or “I’ve walked into a door” It was very rare he would make a mark on my face, as he didn’t want anyone to know. He was able to manipulate everyone around him to believe he was the kindest most loving boyfriend.
In April 2008 I found out I was pregnant, he promised he would change and that things would get better between us, so I decided to keep the baby. Although I knew I wasn’t ready for this, and I still remember being sat with a friend at around 5 months pregnant and telling her ‘I won’t be with him forever this won’t change him, and I will leave him’
Until August he kept his word and things got better than the drugs got worse and so did life. Sometimes he wouldn’t use an object (a shoe, a remote a brush) or other times he would kick or bite me. It felt like he would use whatever he could pick up next to him to hurt me. Eventually my fear became reality and this abuse started leading to sexual assaults – each one become more severe and aggressive. Being pregnant I thought would protect me from him, how wrong could I have been, in fact being pregnant made him worse. As well as this the emotional & mental abuse made me feel worthless, being isolated and trapped I felt like I had nowhere to turn, and the control made me feel like this was it forever! He took all my confidence away from me and he made me believe I had nothing else. I couldn’t wear makeup or nice clothes and wasn’t allowed out with my friends unless he was with me; I wasn’t allowed to talk to other males as he would get jealous. I had one friend, she played the game she made him believe everything and that she was his friend too, but she knew everything. She would know when something would happen to me, or when something had. She used to sit with me until early hours or turn up unannounced at just the right time – she was my safety net.
I remember being in the house one day and his family had come to visit us, I was heavily pregnant at the time. I was in the kitchen mopping the floor, he went mad! So as punishment because he couldn’t hit me, he picked up the bucket full of bleach and hot water and tipped it all over me. I just stood in the kitchen crying covered in hot bleachy water. His uncle came in and said to me “oh Leanne what have you done, pregnancy brain ay, accidents happen, go on up and get changed ill sort this mess for you” to this day I am 100% sure he knew exactly what was happening and still didn’t say or do anything!
I gave birth to my daughter Stacy in January 2009 I was in labour for 3 days he was there for the last 4 hours. The one person who I needed and who I finally called was Mum she was amazing she didn’t leave my side night or day. She didn’t ask me any questions; she didn’t talk about him or try and force me to do anything she was just there for me to hold my hand and make me strong. When he eventually turned up, he tried to tell her to go and have a break and this was the one time I spoke up and said ‘no’ there was no way I was doing this without her. The next day I was discharged from hospital, when I arrived home, he was passed out from drugs on the sofa, when he woke up, I received my first beating as a mother in front of my newborn daughter. I sat on my bed after and cried wondering how I had got here, and how I would escape here. The assaults and arguments were regular at least 3-4 times a week, and the police continues to be called. At this point I knew it was time to end the relationship as I did not want my daughter seeing this, but how could I? Where would I go, who would I tell? Who would dare help me leave him? And then I remembered no one else would love me and we would be together forever….remember?
Then one night we had an argument, and he walked out. I left the house with Stacy and went to his mums. I went home about 11pm alone I thought I would go check the house first so left Stacy with his mum. A friend walked me home we got in the house, and it was empty and in darkness, maybe he wasn’t coming home? I walked upstairs in the dark house creeping looking around, I opened a door flicked on a light and there he was sat, staring waiting for me. He pounced one me and dragged me down the stairs, I was screaming. He grabbed my head and hit it on every step going down the stairs, and the end he lifted me up and dragged me across the room, my friend screaming for him to stop, a neighbor come to the window and wanted to know what was happening, he opened the curtain slightly and kept his hands across my mouth hiding me from her view and said ‘she’s fine’. I remember thinking this was it, he is going to kill me, what am I going to do? The neighbour must have rung the police as they turned up, he ran off and I still didn’t press charges. Now when my neighbor talks about that day to my mum she will say ‘I never will forget the screams I used to hear coming from your daughter, I thought he was killing her’
By March 2009 social services had become involved due to the risk to my daughter. I was visited regular by my social worker and health visitor and would try and hide my real feelings and put on a front that I was okay. It was very rare I would see these workers alone because my partner would ensure he attended as many as he could. Then another beating happened, and I was in hospital, the social worker came to see me and told me she didn’t believe anything I had ever told her and told me they were putting my 2-month-old daughter on a child protection plan. I knew at this point things were getting real; I was able to see the risk to me but more importantly to Stacy. Social services made the decision to remove Stacy from my care, the social worker rang my mum and asked if she would become my daughter’s carer.
From leaving home just before 18 I didn’t have contact or a relationship with my family, not even my mum. She would try constantly to make an effort with me, but I kept her at a distance, and if I’m honest I did this to protect her. I couldn’t bare her to see me like this, and I couldn’t bear to hear him call her or use her against me. It sounds crazy when I say this out loud now but being on my own with him was easier than having people around me who loved me, because that was my weakness and that would be how he would hurt me more. I knew my mum wouldn’t think twice about having Stacy, and I knew when I was ready, she would have me back in a heartbeat. I just needed to be ready in my own time. My mum was very aware of the relationship and what I was put through, although we never discussed it. Now my mum would tell me she remembers the day she received that phone call, she begged them not to remove Stacy if they did what more would I have to live for? But they told my mum if I wasn’t able to make the right choice, they needed to be able to place Stacy somewhere safe, obviously my mum agreed. My social worker came to visit me at home along with my health visitor and they discussed with me what was happening. At this point I made the decision to end the relationship, and was started to put a plan in place, I just needed to know Stacy was safe first. The social worker wanted me to leave there and then or prove what I was doing and pack a bag, I told her I was leaving but I couldn’t do it when she said. I knew him better than anyone and would do this when I felt was right.