A Story from a Survivor This was written directly from a victim of domestic abuse, here at Next Chapter we think it is so important to let the victim tell their story and for them to be listened to! When I first met my partner, it was all consuming. Romantic, exciting, he gave me the attention I had been longing for for years. Within two months I had moved in, and was pregnant within 6 months. In this time he paid off my debts. I felt the luckiest woman alive to have such a wonderful man. That meant that the times he started shouting, I thought it was me. I spent months trying to improve myself. After a particularly long lecture and shouting at for not washing up properly I was not allowed to wash up again as I was useless. When our son arrived, I was being screamed at at 2am not just by the baby but by my partner to make him stop crying. Over the years we learnt coping strategies. Myself and our son would sit silently in the lounge for hours until my partner had got up. If he got up early it would be a really bad day. The shouting, the lectures, the walking on eggshells. 14 years I coped until him bullying our eldest reached the school. I had been in and out of counselling and on various medication, but nothing worked. Because my problem was him, not me. Eventually I had no option. I had to leave as a duty of care to my children and for the fact I couldn’t take anymore and believed I was insane. I went to the council for help and they put me in touch with Next Chapter. Amber was my first support worker and she was the light in a terribly dark time. I doubted myself often as emotional abuse is so hard to prove and is so subjective. But she was with me the whole time when I eventually managed to move out. After I left I was discharged from the service as I felt I was safe, but Amber was still always there. However, when the divorce began then the messages, the shouting and ranting began again. This time not in my home but through my phone and the children when they went to stay. I contacted Nect Chapter again and I was allocated Darina who is my new amazing support worker. They have never judged, they have always listened and supported, and helped when you are at those moments where you feel like you have made it up and are a terrible person. I honestly couldn’t have done all this without their support, you have changed mine and my children’s lives and I will be forever grateful!