The reason I stayed I am afraid I cannot give you, only that throughout this time I really did love him and thought, maybe, just maybe he would one day change. After all he was the father of my children.
One day I realised, however that I was never going to please him. That nothing was ever going to be enough. That nothing I ever said or did was right. I then began to accept that I wanted out. At long last, I had finally made up my mind, but at the same time I knew that this was something that he would not want to hear. His statements and threats of the past, such as: "If I can't have you then no-one will" made me aware of this.
Literally, at the moment I told him, he lost control. He became physically and mentally abusive, dragging me out of the house with all his strength and finally throwing me into the back garden. "I'm going to kill you," he said, as he tightened his hands around my throat.
By now as you can imagine I was in complete terror. He was beyond reason. Nothing I said would make him stop. By the time he dragged me into the side alley of the house I was vomiting with fear. I managed to kick and scream at a neighbour's door; the neighbour came out, unperturbed by the whole incident, although by now I was hanging onto the edge of a wall screaming, trying with all my might to prevent him from dragging me into his car. The neighbour was trying to talk to him and at this moment I screamed: "phone the Police, he's going to kill me". "I don't want to get involved", she replied quite calmly.
I knew then that it was down to me to save myself. I found some inner strength and kicked and punched until I was free, barged past the neighbour, ran into her house and dialled 999. The Police arrived took a statement from me and he was escorted away.
I was a gibbering wreck and that night my sons and I stayed with my sister. The next day, after having time to see things more clearly, I decided I had to move forward - there was no going back. If not for my sake, for the sake of the boys. And with the help of friends and family I found the courage to leave everything behind me and move into a refuge where I began to rebuild my life.
Three years on I am happy and content. I am making something of my life. My children are also happy, growing into fine young lads and I am so grateful to everybody at the refuge for all their help and support.