Domestic abuse victim speaks out to reassure others #YouAreNotAlone
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A courageous Stoke-on-Trent woman who was viciously attacked and raped by her boyfriend has spoken out in a bid to inspire other victims to get help.
Becky, aged 29, is backing Staffordshire Police’s campaign which recognises that Christmas and New Year will not be a picture perfect time of year for many, especially with the added strain Covid has bought upon couples and families. Job losses or the added stress of working from home and lockdowns have undoubtedly affected people’s wellbeing and mental health but officers are keen for victims to know that support is still on hand in many forms.
Becky is living proof that life after abuse can be good. And she wants other victims to know that they too can survive and rebuild their lives. Becky said:
“Looking back now, I realise my ex had been mentally abusing and controlling me for many months leading up to the attack. I just didn’t see it at the time.
“He took my car off me, which meant I had to rely on him more. He drove me to work and dropped me off at other places. At the time, I just thought he was being kind, but now I realise it was a way of controlling me.
“He wanted to see me every day and know what I was doing all the time. I thought he was just being nice and taking an interest in me. Now I realise he was a ‘Narcissist’ and only did certain things to gain my trust.”
After turning to her dad after being attacked, he contacted Staffordshire Police and Becky was assigned an Independent Domestic Violence Advisor (IDVA) from confidential support service, New Era Domestic Abuse Service for Staffordshire and Stoke-on-Trent, who provided one-to-one support and advice. Meanwhile her attacker was arrested, charged and eventually jailed.
Thanks to support from New Era Becky is overcoming the challenge of rebuilding trust in men and her self-confidence.
“Learning to trust again after being abused has been one of the hardest things for me. But now I feel I have the knowledge and understanding to recognise the signs of an unhealthy relationship, thanks to the help I’ve had from my support worker.
“I’ve been so lucky to have the support of family and friends, but my IDVA has been my rock. When the case went to court, she was with me throughout. I’ll never be able to repay her for the help and support she’s given me.
“I wouldn’t have been able to go to court without her. It also made a difference being able to give evidence from behind a screen. I think that’s really important for people in my situation, as it can be a terrifying experience.
“Thankfully I got the outcome I wanted; now he can’t hurt vulnerable people anymore, and I can move on. Since the end of the trial, I’ve never looked back.
“Everyone’s different, but I think it’s really important to have someone to talk to. If you keep everything to yourself, no one will know you are suffering, so my advice is to speak to someone, anyone. Taking that first step will be the start of getting help and getting away from your abuser. When I told my dad what he’d done to me, it was like someone lifted a huge weight from my shoulders.
“I feel so much happier and stronger now and six months after the court case New Era are still helping me. I’m doing an online course with them called ‘I Matter’ which is for women survivors of domestic abuse, which I hope will help boost my self-esteem and keep me moving forwards.”
To support the campaign Becky has spoken of her attack on camera and shared photographs of her injuries. She previously shared these on Tiktok to inspire others to get help, with her video reaching over 200,000 people.
“If supporting this campaign helps just one person, it will be worth it.”
Anyone suffering abuse, or with concerns about someone they know, can report them through private message on Staffordshire Police’s Facebook and Twitter, online or by calling 101. Staffordshire Police works collaboratively with a variety of partners to ensure victims of domestic abuse have the necessary support. For details of the support on hand visit www.staffordshire.police.uk/domesticabuse