Domestic violence victim: ‘Abuser made me think I was mad...’

There were 32,715 incidents of domestic violence in Thames Valley in 2011/12
There were 32,715 incidents of domestic violence in Thames Valley in 2011/12

Stopped from cooking, banned from having her own money, phones or friends, and eventually driven to believe she was mad.

The height of one city woman’s abuse by her partner of 18 years saw her spend two weeks in the Campbell Centre.

Before she met the man who would dominate every aspect of her life, D – whose real name we are protecting – had been independent enough to run her own business. She endured years of abuse before plucking up the courage to find safety with city-based women’s refuge, MK-Act.

The Citizen has joined forces with MPs Mark Lancaster and Iain Stewart to raise awareness of domestic violence and sexual harassment through the ‘Let’s Talk’ campaign.

D’s partner started abusing her shortly after he found religion. She was not allowed to see her family, and her partner – who she called ‘all controlling’ – frequently told her she was mad. He even left her at a police station, saying she was mental. Officers took her to the Campbell Centre where she stayed for two weeks before she returned to him.

After years of abuse, D said she felt her mind had gone. She only left her abuser in March last year, walking out of their home with no possessions. Petrified he would damage her grandparents’ ashes, she called police – who gave her MK-Act’s phone number.

Worried she would be found and killed, D was given a refuge place in Aylesbury, before moving to the refuge in MK. After nine months, she has found the courage to look into getting her own place.

Worried how she will cope, D’s strength comes from the support of MK-Act, who she describes as her ‘family’.

Her message to others suffering in the same way: “Come into the refuge, talk to MK-Act, take all of the services and support you can get, accept all help and just get out.”

MK-Act now to end domestic abuse

The Citizen has joined forces with MK-Act, Thames Valley Police, MK Equality Council and Milton Keynes College to launch the ‘Let’s Talk’ campaign.

The campaign, spearheaded by city MPs Iain Stewart and Mark Lancaster, aims to raise awareness of domestic violence and sexual harassment.

The pair will be meeting with community group leaders to discuss the issues, before the campaign culminates on November 29 with the signing of an anti-domestic violence charter, outlining what relevant parties will do to combat domestic violence and sexual harassment.

In 2011/12, there were 32,715 incidents of domestic abuse across Thames Valley, while nationally two women are killed every week by their partners or former partners.

If you are suffering from domestic violence you can contact MK-Act from Monday to Friday, between 9am and 5pm, on 0844 375 4307.

For more information on the ‘Let’s Talk’ campaign people can contact the MPs’ office on 01908 686830.