A safe, just and equal world for women

Anna’s story

I thought I was in love with a man who loved me back. In reality I’d been taken in by a man who wanted to control me, diminish me and hurt me.

I met Ben at a party on NYE 2021. Things moved very quickly. Ben lovebombed me, told me ‘I’ve never felt like this about anyone before’ and within weeks he’d moved in with me.

The abuse started as soon as he’d got his feet under the table. I did something he didn’t like, and he bit my face. He apologised after, promised it wouldn’t happen again. You don’t need me to say that OF COURSE it did. Many times.

He was so possessive, monitored my every move. Insisted on driving me to work and making sure I emailed him the minute I finished for the day. He also isolated me from my friends and family – classic abuser behaviour. I wouldn’t speak to my mum for months. I’d wait until Ben was asleep so I could call her secretly.

I’m lucky in that I have amazing parents and they looked after my children, so that they were away from Ben. Obviously, they were worried sick about me and begged me to go to the police and report Ben for the abuse he was inflicting on me. Abuse that included stabbing me with a fork, dragging me around by my hair, and kicking me so hard in my back that I still suffer from back pain.

I started drinking a lot, to make the attacks less painful. My family contacted social services and neighbours constantly called the police when they heard or saw Ben attacking me.

Then in August 22, he launched a particularly vicious attack on me in the street near my flat. As I lay on the pavement, Ben kicked me repeatedly in the head as if were a football.

Witnesses called the police and he was arrested. Not long after, I got a call from the police station. It was Ben.

‘If you don’t get me out of here, I will kill you…’ He threatened.

In the past, I’d been too scared to press charges against him. This time I vowed there was no going back. If I did – I might not live to see my kids grow up.

Social services had told me about Advance and with the support of my IDVA Dia, not only did I make my statement to the police, but I kept on going. Determined that there was no going back this time.

With Ben remanded in custody, my parents, Dia and an incredible police officer all worked together to build a rock-solid case against Ben. I didn’t have to go to court – the case could have proceeded without me. But I chose to. Dia had helped me build the confidence to do that.

In December last year, my abuser was given a 10-year jail sentence for 10 years for GBH and coercive and controlling behaviour.

Now I’m enjoying being a mum and rediscovering myself. In that relationship, I didn’t know who I was anymore.


Find out more about how Advance supports women through the criminal justice system

Whole Justice Approach
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