Abuse at Christmas





Christmas was awful with my ex-husband. On Christmas Day my kids and I would have to wait for him before we were able to open our presents. He’d keep making excuses to make us wait – like he’d take the dog out and would be gone for ages. The dog was always the priority over any of us in the house.

“We would always be treading on eggshells around him, trying to appease him. Whenever we went out, he’d yell abuse at me, calling me a cripple because I had to use crutches because of my back condition. I’d be so embarrassed I’d just wait for the floor to eat me up.

“When my daughter and I moved into the refuge, I left so lucky. I was in a wheelchair yet everything was accessible. All the other women rushed out to help us move our stuff in. Refuge staff made me feel so at ease. The first day I arrived there was food there, everything I needed. There was also a bag of clothes and toys for my daughter, and I cried when I saw that. It meant a lot.

“Last year, I was lucky enough to be in the safety of the refuge in December and I couldn’t wait for Christmas Day – it was the first time my daughter and I were able to enjoy the festive period. Nobody told me how useless I was.

“We had our own tree and people donated gifts to us both. It was so touching to see that people cared – it was heartwarming; I was so grateful. The Refuge staff also bought the kids presents and gave us a special festive dinner. It felt strange – and amazing. It felt like a miracle.”

Karen’s story is heartbreaking – and heartwarming.  Karen is just one of hundreds of women we’ll be supporting this Christmas.  But we need your support to keep our services running.

Tomorrow is Christmas Day.  Please support our Refuge Advent activity by giving others, like Karen, the gift of a Christmas miracle – to be safe and well.

Read more about Karen’s story and make a donation to our vital Christmas appeal.

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We are asking our incredible supporters – supporters just like you – to get behind this campaign. Follow the Refuge Advent daily updates and please support our work along the way.

And finally – please come back tomorrow to find out what’s behind the final door of our Refuge Advent calendar!

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