Janet’s story

True stories

 

Janet’s story

The first few weeks that I was with Peter were wonderful. He was affectionate, considerate, fun to be with and a great boost to my self-esteem. But as soon as I moved in with him the violence began. I was frightened and shocked but he was always so sorry for what he had done and promised never to hurt me again.

He became very jealous and possessive. He kept accusing me of having an affair but I just thought he was feeling insecure. I felt sorry for him. I believed I could change him. Then he turned against my family and friends and tried not to let me see them. I broke up with him more than once but he was always so sorry for what he’d done that I took him back.

I thought his attacks must somehow be my fault. I found myself asking ‘What have I done to deserve this? Why am I making him so mad that he has to treat me this way?’ I couldn’t bring myself to tell anyone what was happening. I was embarrassed and couldn’t help thinking it was my fault.

Peter was cunning. No matter how hard he hit me, he was always careful never to mark my face. My family realised what was happening and wanted me to call the police but I couldn’t press charges. I was terrified.

Then one day, Peter stabbed me in the face with a fork. I started screaming and tried to back away but he just kept stabbing me with it. I tried to run away but he followed me and picked up a glass and chucked it at me. I was bleeding and in agony with a shard of glass stuck in my side but Peter just picked up his keys and walked out.

I called an ambulance that took me to the hospital where they stitched me up. This time I did find the strength to go to the police and they put me in touch with Refuge. I knew I had no choice. If I had gone back to Peter, I might not be here today. I finally saw him for what he was – a menace who used violence to control me.

Slowly I am starting to rebuild my life and my confidence. I have left the refuge and moved into my new flat – a place I hope Peter will never find. I still suffer from headaches and I don’t sleep well. I am cautious of everyone, particularly men and it will be hard for me to trust enough to form another relationship. Nothing will change what happened to me but I know that with time I can learn to live again. My life is getting better every day and I know I’ve done the right thing.

 

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