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Lauren’s story

He accused me of insulting his brother - I was quite advanced with my first pregnancy at the time, and that was the first time he smacked me. During the time I lived with him, I was smacked and bullied for various trivial reasons.He also had a very short temper with our daughter, and if left alone with her would give her a “good hiding” for the slightest thing...

I was forced to have sex with him whenever he wanted; sometimes crying into the pillow as I knew what would happen if I refused. In hindsight, I think he was trying to tie me down, and have lots of children. His own father had done this with his wife, who also suffered abuse. This was his way of preventing me from getting away.

He once attempted to strangle me, leaving bruises on my throat, but in those days (1970) domestic violence wasn’t really seen as a crime, and there wasn’t the support and understanding available that there is today.

The first time I left, I went to stay at my sister’s and during the night, he turned up at the house. The kids were asleep. He ran upstairs and grabbed them and ran down the street to a taxi that was waiting. After two days, I went to his dad’s to get the kids back. His father said to me, “If you had done that to me I would have given you a smack.”

After I got brave enough to leave with assistance from friends, he snatched the kids a few more times. After getting the children back after the custody hearing, I had to go with the Police to escort me for my safety. When I moved to my mum’s, he would turn up demanding access to the kids. Access days were horrible. Until the children were back in the house, I could not relax. He would use the children to try to manipulate and upset me.

I now so regret not leaving him earlier but in those days, it wasn’t always possible with children and no money to speak of. All this happened over thirty years ago, and the children are all grown up now, and I’ve left it behind me. But it all comes back to me when I hear about campaigns like this one, and I’m so glad that today there is more support for victims. I would just say to anyone – don’t put up with being abused."

My Story: 1969 – 1970

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