I first met my ex-partner Gary * in September 2014. I met Gary through one of my good friends who I’d known for a while. We all went on a night out and on our way back to my friends we stopped at dominos round the corner from the flats, got some food, went home and had a few more drinks before calling it a night. A week or two later we knew we both liked each other and decided to see what happens as we go along. I found out two days before my mum was due to go on holiday to Portugal that I was going too and I was all along, so I went home (even though things aren’t good at home and hadn’t been a while) to pack all my summer clothes and went to catch my plane at 2am in the morning. After spending an amazing week in Portugal I got back in England and it was probably the worst weather I could come back to. I unpacked and left to go see my friend and everyone else, I’d only been there for about 10 minutes and Gary walked in with a massive smile on his face and hugged me till I couldn’t breathe. He told me he had a surprise for me at his flat and to come get, so I went all excited and he’d bought me a new phone because I didn’t have one. We got in a relationship that day and I was so happy I was official with him and I moved in that day too, a bit quick I know but the first few weeks were amazing, he’d given me £100 to go get myself some decent clothes.
After another week or so we started arguing and he started pushing me into walls and onto the floor. Around a month after this I found out I was pregnant and everything seemed all ok and things were good again. That same week we had moved into his own flat, the tenancy was in his name. We’d had yet another argument he’d took it too far and pushed my into the bathroom and I’d fell and hit my stomach on the toilet and hit my head on the sink. I tried to leave and he wouldn’t let me, he kept blocking the door so I couldn’t get out. I’d walked into the kitchen grabbed my phone and told him if he didn’t let me out I’d call the police. He didn’t so I dialled 999 and when he tried grabbing the phone out my hand he pressed the ring button and the police were listening to everything what was happening. When he wasn’t looking I jumped out the window with my pillow and my coat and walked round the corner to my mums at 11pm. On my walk to Mum’s I saw a police car coming from Mum’s road they stopped me and asked if it was me they were looking for and checked my name and everything. I said yes they gave me a lift round the corner to Mum’s and took a statement off me. Gary at this point had found out I’d left and started texting me saying he’s taking an overdose to kill himself because he can’t live without me and how sorry he was and he’d never hurt me again.
I went back to him after 2 days and as I thought he had meant he was sorry, until he slapped me in another argument. Social Care had then got involved due to the police referring us as I was pregnant. When our Social Worker started working with us everything was going great we had days out to Wollaton park and Highfields on his days off work.
I had gotten really poorly half way through my pregnancy and spent a week in hospital and was told there’s a high chance I would have our little girl a few weeks early. Anyway it was my due date and still no sign of our little girl but I was then told I had high risk of pre-eclampsia and would have to be induced. 3 days later I went back in to be induced and my waters had gone and I spent 3 hours in hard labour. Once our little girl was born I couldn’t do much as I couldn’t sit down. 2 weeks later he went back to work and since he had gone back to work I had to try and do everything. Even when he was home from work he didn’t do much because he was ‘too tired’ and went to sleep.
A few months later Social Care decided to close the case as we were doing well and didn’t need them anymore, but they told us if there is any need for them to get back involved to ring them or the police. We had to sign an agreement that he’d let me see my family with our daughter and to see his mum with her too, we both signed it with both our mums agreeing to it and that if worst comes to worst and we had another argument that our daughter will go to one of them. As a few weeks passed everything was great until we had an argument while our daughter was sleeping in her mosses basket. Gary got in my face and started shouting so I tried to move him out of my face. He then strangled me and pushed me to the sofa. I had hand marks round my neck, I took photos when I went outside but my phone had crashed and completely broke losing the evidence. I gathered enough courage to up and leave him while he was at work the next day. My friend came with her Auntie and friends and got all mine and my daughters stuff and let me stay at hers for as long as I needed to. I updated Social Care and was told he was only allowed to see his daughter for two days a week for 2 hours at a time. That worked in my views but he was accusing me of lying and that I didn’t want him to see his daughter but I wasn’t. I told him I’d give him the number when I got back to my friends to speak to the Social Worker about it.
I had to apply for housing at the council and told them where I was living, a week later me and my friend had a bit of a petty argument and I moved back into my Gary’s flat as he said he’d move out while I was waiting for housing and he’ll give me his key so I know he won’t be there. I then stayed there until beginning of November 2015 when he came round to get his mail and told me to leave. I told him we would leave when I had got me and our daughter dressed and ready but he rang the police asking them to remove me. I had told him when I was dressed ready and I’ve got our daughter ready I would leave, he wasted police time in my opinion.
I stayed at my mums and was hoping to move out by Christmas but that wasn’t the case I had to wait until the 6th January 2016 to view the flat and sign for the keys I moved in on the 11th and I spent 4 days cleaning and moving everything while my daughter was at her Grandma’s. She could eventually come back, I had missed her so much. My carpets were put down a week or 2 later and now my flat all finished apart from wallpaper, me and my daughter are all cosy and happy knowing we’re safe and violence free!
My goal for the future is to always protect my daughter and lead her in the right direction and give her as much advice I can to keep her away from men like Gary. And not only protect her from people like him but to give her everything I possibly can. My daughter is my everything and I’m not willing to give up on her no matter how much he tries to get her taken off me, it will never happen, I won’t let it.
Word of advice if you ever go through anything like this don’t be afraid there is help out there and they can do everything possible to get you different kind of help and support you through it all. I can’t thank Women’s Aid and Broxtowe Women’s Project, Broxtowe Youth Homelessness and my family enough with how much they support me.
*name changed to protect identity