In her words: Lisa's Survivor Story*
It’s a love story: Girl meets boy, they fall in love, they live happily ever after.
Except it doesn’t always happen that way, does it? Yes, I met a man and fell in love. We got married and we had three children together. I thought we had a normal relationship and a normal life.
It was only when we eventually separated after many years that I realised I’ve been in an extremely abusive relationship in which I’d been controlled and coerced for a long time, enduring years of emotional and sexual abuse. It almost broke me.
I found New Era , a local holistic domestic abuse charity, and with their help and support I was able to access counselling to begin a process of recovery and start rebuilding my life.
And that was how I met Nicola. New Era recommended her to me as part of this process (and I will be forever grateful for it.) I can’t describe how traumatised I felt when proceedings started, but Nicola put me at ease almost straight away.
She has such an understanding of Domestic Abuse and the impact in can have on the victim, especially when there are children involved.
I was regularly breaking down in tears during our discussions, and Nicola was so supportive.
I felt listened to and understood.
People who have experienced Domestic Abuse can often feel like their feelings aren’t valid, but after talking to Nicola I felt so relieved as I realised that what I was feeling was completely normal.
Nicola was always straight up with me during the proceedings - she didn’t sugar coat things or give me false hope. She showed compassion and empathy, whilst being professional throughout. I felt I was able to ask questions or ask for her advice at any time - nothing was ever too much effort for her.
Going through the Family Court is, for sure, one of the most traumatic things a person can go through.
I am so thankful that I had Nicola’s help and support. It made everything so much easier and I genuinely don’t know how I would’ve got through it without her.
Don’t be afraid to ask for help
It took me a while to ask for help but if you or someone you care about may be in an abusive relationship, know that confidential help is always available:
- The National Domestic Violence Freephone Helpline - 0808 2000 247- is staffed 24 hours a day, 365 days a year
- Women’s Aid
- Men’s Line
- New Era
- Make an appointment with **Nicola or another member of our Family Team for specialist legal advice on 01606 48777
This article has been written by Lisa* herself, who wanted to contribute to our Partner or Perpetrator? Domestic Abuse Awareness Campaign by sharing her story, in her words, to help encourage others who may be going through a similar experience to seek help.
*All names have been changed to protect the survivor’s identity.