I watched her walk on eggshells and smile.
A strong hard working Woman who did her best to make life appear as normal as possible.
However it was far from normal.
In fact it was like living in a war zone.
As a child you are confused and you think the first time is the last time.
I was around three years old.
My ears and tummy hurt.
The screams and smashing sounds, what was happening?
This was the first time.
After the third and fourth time I began to realise that this wasn’t going away.
As I grew I thought of ways to escape, maybe we could start a new life somewhere without him.
However we could not find support, the police sent us home.
It’s just a domestic they’d say.
Back to the fear, dread and sadness.
You go to school and bury it all, warned not to talk, afraid of further abuse.
You try to focus on your school work but your mind is always on alert, what if?
And it happened.
After school she wasn’t there.
She was always there.
We stood together waiting, me comforting my younger sibling.
Bad thoughts ran through my head.
Then the car appeared, he was driving.
My heart jumped and tummy flipped.
I held my sibling tight.
‘Get in’ he said.
He drove fast not speaking a single word.
I thought it was over.
I was six years old.
He then pulled into a pub and left us in the car whilst he got drunk.
We were in the car for a few hours.
I remember him coming back, getting in the car and the drive home.
Now my fear was hitting the sky, my sibling was crying.
I tried to comfort her and focus on us seeing her again.
As we drove into our yard the front door was wide open.
I ran with my sibling into the kitchen, there were ashes everywhere.
There had been a fire, I called out for her but couldn’t see her.
Then I heard sobbing.
I found her at the bottom of the garden battered and bruised.
I held her and kept him away from her.
This was the day I grew up, the day I knew I had to find a way to keep us safe.
The abuse intensified and she sustained serious injuries, hospitalised many times.
Again the police did nothing.
We had nowhere to go and spent many nights in our car.
She always kept smiling and we often spoke about a better future.
After seventeen years of violence we left him.
We had nowhere to go but the last beating nearly killed her.
Again the police did nothing.
That day I saved her life and then began to realise the awful injustice Women face when it comes to reporting abuse.
That was in 1988.
I met my husband not long after and we share a special love and friendship.
I was lucky.
I have met many Women who have suffered similar injustice and sought protection but have been denied it.
So many Women are murdered by their spouses, so many families broken by domestic violence.
Now as a Mother to five beautiful children and a campaigner against dangerous quack treatments, I am again a victim of abuse.
There are men abusing me online, threatening me, using the same hate filled language he used towards her.
C**t was his favourite and it seems it’s their favourite too.
It’s been going on for months now, their abuse is triggering and sends me back to my childhood and I relive that trauma all over again.
The fear, pain and what ifs..
As I walk I shed a tear, not for me but for the forgotten victims.
I will keep speaking out, fighting for equality and peace.
I live in hope that one day justice will come.
Through it all she always smiled sweetly.
For Mum and all the other victims.
I love you Mum 💞💞💞