Leanne’s story*

At 18 I met what I thought was the love of my life.  From day one things weren’t good, but I didn’t realise even though very early on he cut up my clothes because he didn’t like them. I only focused on the good things.

He gave me two beautiful children, and simultaneously ruined my life piece by piece.  From being scalded, starved, bullied, isolated, and abused in every way to a complete lack of respect, over time he has tied me to chairs, broken my phone so I didn’t have any contact with the outside world, shaved my head, pushed and shoved me whilst being pregnant with my children, tried to slit my throat and made us homeless. My children were taken into care because of his abusive behavior and once he even tried to persuade me to abduct them and commit a mass suicide. And I still stayed; I thought I could make him a better person but that was a mistake.

He must realise what he has done wrong, but he doesn’t, he laughed in my face when I told him how he made me feel. He made me feel so ill that I felt totally dependent on him; he used to tell his family all the disgusting, spiteful things he was doing to me was the other way round. After our second child I became ill and was unable to do anything, he seemed so perfect, attending to my every need, but he was emotionally abusive and I didn’t realise at the time. When I started to become more independent he started to be physically abusive again.

I’d been having the same dream for weeks; I was scared to go to bed. Then the last incident changed my life… my dream came true. Twice in one night I should have been dead, he was trying to cave my skull in with a hammer. That last incident changed my life. I knew that the next time I left the house would be in a body bag if I didn’t do something. That day I spoke to someone about the abuse, thinking no one would believe or help me, the social worker handed me a phone that was already dialing, and I spoke to Hull Women’s Aid and went into the refuge one hour later.

I turned up at the door, a broken, terrified and emotionally scarred woman. My anxiety was so bad I felt like I was going to be sick. I cried because I was given food, clothes, a warm safe room and hot water and most of all my freedom. I hadn’t had those things in a long time.

Hull Women’s Aid have supported and encouraged me to take control of my life. I thought I was broken and worthless until they empowered me to be a woman again. I realise now that I’m not worthless I never was.

He may have taken everything away from me, but Women’s Aid gave me something he couldn’t take away from me…. strength.  Strength to get away, save my life and the strength to be honest about the abuse.  Having the courage to share has lead to a life changing future for my children with me in it. 

He may have almost taken my life and my sanity but with strength and determination, I have been able to provide a safe life, home and future for myself and my children. No words can express how grateful I am for Hull Women’s Aid.


*names have been changed to protect the identities of the individuals involved