Christine’s story

Christine’s story

Christine’s story

Christine grew up in a stable family with loving parents. She was 19 when she met and fell in love with Daniel. They married and she quickly became pregnant, giving birth to a baby girl. Daniel had always been very attentive but following the arrival of the baby, he became possessive and controlling. He refused to let Christine visit her parents and took away any money they sent her. When Christine fell pregnant again, he verbally abused her, refusing to believe the child was his and accusing her of being a useless mother. When he hit her for the first time, Christine felt shocked and ashamed, but Daniel promised it would never happen again.

Christine endured 30 years of abuse. Daniel’s behaviour drove her into the ground, stripping her of her self-esteem. Christine was also subjected to outbursts of extreme violence. On one occasion, Daniel grabbed Christine and tried to push her out of an upstairs window. When she tried to get away he kicked her down the stairs. Another night Christine woke as Daniel poured methylated spirits all over her. She lay petrified while he stood over her throwing matches at her soaking body. Each match he threw went out as it fell. He only stopped when his young son saw him and his daughter called the police.

Over the years Christine tried to leave a number of times but Daniel would convince the children that he couldn’t cope on his own. When he was arrested for trying to set her alight, he telephoned the children, crying down the line. Seeing her children in such distress, Christine felt she had no choice but to drop the charges and take him back.

Years passed and the children went to university. Christine felt more isolated than ever, living in a rural area with no friends and no one to turn to. She tried to keep busy and found a weekend job as a volunteer for the National Trust. One evening she got home late after missing the bus home. When she walked in Daniel attacked her for not being home on time. She suddenly realized that he couldn’t have any more from her. There was nothing left to give.

That night Christine tried to kill herself. She took some pills and lay on the couch. She remained there drifting in and out of consciousness for three days while Daniel walked in and out of the room. The only time he spoke was to call her lazy for not going to work. After three days the children became concerned that Christine wasn’t answering the phone and called an ambulance.

Christine was in hospital for six weeks. When she finally woke up she was diagnosed with Post Traumatic Stress Disorder. The hospital contacted the local refuge but there was no space available. The only option was to send Christine home and keep in touch with her through a social worker. Christine knew what would be waiting for her at home and sure enough, within weeks Daniel attacked her again. She managed to call the police and they came and arrested him. Christine obtained an injunction to keep him away from the house and filed for divorce.

When the case came to court, Daniel’s barrister accused Christine of lying, making up stories because she was angry about the divorce. He challenged her story and accused her of inflicting the injuries upon herself. The barrister did enough to convince the jury of reasonable doubt and Daniel was released. This time Christine went home only long enough to pack her bags.

Christine stayed with her son until she could find somewhere to live. When Christine was finally given a one bedroom flat she felt that she had peace of mind. A place of her own.

Christine was advised that she could try claiming for criminal injuries and she was awarded almost £9,000 for the mental stress, physical injury and sexual assault she had endured.

“I broke down and fell to my knees. It was the first time that anyone had actually said that they believed me. I had finally got some justice.

I started going to the gym and began to lose weight. I found out about the Hydroactive Challenge – a 3km run in London – and took part, raising money for Refuge. It was such an amazing experience. I ran as part of the Refuge team and my children were waiting for me at the finish line. I finished in 33 minutes – not bad for their old mum! I am now working with my trainer, aiming to take part in a 10km run next year.

By the time I was finally able to leave, I had been with Daniel for 30 years. He was never punished for the way he treated me and I have heard that he is now hitting his new girlfriend. I try not to think about him anymore. It was a very long and painful journey but I now know that there is nowhere for me to go but up and I am looking to the future.

I have a new man in my life now.  We were friends for two years before anything happened. But now he tells me that I am beautiful every day. I finally feel cherished .

I want women reading this to realize that no matter how long it may take you to make a decision about your life, you can do it. And it’s worth it.”

 

All names and identifying details have been changed to protect individuals involved.