Emily* first heard of Glow when the police left a domestic abuse leaflet with her. They had visited her home after her ex, who had come round to speak about childcare arrangements following their breakup, had turned violent and assaulted her.
She kept hold of the leaflet and six months later she got the courage to contact our team: “At this point he’d threatened to kidnap the children, he said he’s going to break into my house, he was constantly ringing me and shouting through the letterbox.”
Now, although there are ongoing court hearings about the children, Emily is in a much better place and is sharing her story to raise awareness of domestic abuse and to help others find the courage to come forward for help.
Emily was with her ex-partner for over seven years and was controlling from the very start of the relationship: “He controlled what we watched, what we ate, where we went, and even vetted my post without me knowing.” He’d also play mind games, denying doing things and claiming she was “mentally ill” and “imagining things.” Emily says she used to make excuses for the way he acted because he had a tough upbringing.
For Emily, she felt even more trapped when the couple had two children together. She already had an older child from a previous relationship. With just a part time job, her partner paid their rent which Emily says was used against her as if he was doing her a favour. She felt she could not leave because she would not be able to support her children financially if she left.
A few years in, she started making plans to save up and leave: “I needed to be financially sure that I could leave. I knew I couldn’t put money into my bank account because he read my bank statements. So, I literally took the carpet and the floorboards up and was putting whatever spare money I had in there.”
As she was saving to leave, she was made redundant from her job and was due a large pay out. So she went to see a financial advisor to see if she could get a mortgage on her own whilst only working part time and with three children. “I don’t know how, but my ex-partner found out and we had a massive row about it. His excuse was that by me looking for a home and mortgage on my own I obviously didn’t think there was a future in us together and I wasn’t thinking about us.”
Since moving into her own place, Emily has taken part in four courses with Glow, including the freedom programme: “I enjoyed doing the courses because you’re meeting other people who’ve been through a similar sort of thing which gives you that sort of encouragement to talk.”
Emily is now speaking out about her experiences in the hope that it will help others who are going through a similar thing and help raise awareness that controlling behaviours and coercive control are domestic abuse and are against the law.
Emily adds: “From the start he tried to shut me up, he tried to keep me quiet and I was for 7 years, I never said anything. Now I’m not going to shut up I’m not going to go quietly and I want to help other women experiencing what I did.”