Domestic violence is on the rise, on average, two women in England and Wales are killed by their current or former partner every week, an estimated 1.9 million adults aged 16 to 59 years experienced domestic abuse in the last year, Abigail Okeyre was part of that statistics, but luckily for her, she managed to escape such a volatile relationship “ Honestly, I had to accept that he didn’t love or want me and that I had been abused all along. That was so hard to do but once I started, I began to recover.”
Abigail’s relationship with her ex, started off as been very close friends for nearly seven years, before they started dating, and in those years there were no signs that he was or even had any traits of a violent man. Their relationship was always blissful like any relationship would be sharing secrets and laughter with one another until one day when Abigail found out about another relationship he was having and she confronted him about it ‘ He swore that she was a crazy ex who didn’t want to leave him alone. Initially, I believed him but the day I challenged his lies was, the day the beatings started. Prior to that, he had never even raised his voice at me before. In fact, he was the calm to my storms.’ statistics show that victims of domestic violence never see the signs, as the predator has the following traits: charming, jealous, manipulative, controlling, a victim. unfortunately, Abigail was drawn to the charming side of her ex-partner. “There were no signs at all. He was such a charming sweetheart.”
The first time he beat her she tried to hide it but her mum saw the injuries when she got home and involved the police. “ He usually would hit me with his fist. I guess wherever he could lay his hands on me, he would usually hit but my face always seemed to bear the brunt of the beating and he would injure me mainly on my face He once threatened to hit me with an iron but to his credit he really controlled himself. I thought I was going to die that day .” He threatened to never talk to her again if she allowed the police to arrest him and claimed that the charge would ruin his future. She got scared so she lied and fought the police to drop the case against all sound advice. That case was never dropped although she almost succeeded.
The last time he beat her up, they had argued about the same girl she has accused him of having an affair with. He punched her in the face and blood kept oozing uncontrollably. He kept beating her, that she passed out multiple times. She remembers hearing him threatening to kill her for real next time; each time she gained consciousness. That was when she began to reason the situation whilst lying there. she kept saying to herself, “if I die here, no one will fight for me”. As a Ghanaian and him being from an affluent family, her case will be swept under the carpet and he will continue living. As soon as the beating stopped she called her parents and his parents and told them everything. her mum came to get her and that was it.
Abigail was able to escape from her violence partner, however not many men and women are able to do so on average, two women in England and Wales are killed by their current or former partner every week. The number of prosecutions relating to violence against women and girls in England and Wales reached a record level in 2015-16, rising by almost 10% to 117,568. New measures on violence against women to be put in domestic abuse bill, Abigail, had to accept that he did not love or want her and that she had been abused all along. “That was so hard to do but once I started, I began to recover. The funny thing about my situation was that I WAS educated. It didn’t change anything. I was living in denial and I made so many excuses for him”.
Abigail is now able to share her story to other women and men who are going through or know anyone in such situations and her advice to you is “Honestly, if you are going through it, walking away does not make you weak. He/she does not love you, they’ll never change and your life is more important. It will hurt as though you are about to die but it will get better and please get counseling. I did not and it’s messing me up today, years later. If you know someone going through it, be patient. More necessary than anything, they need a non-judgemental ear to listen and shoulder to cry on. If they can trust you with that, they are more likely to listen to your advice on walking away. Also, get counseling for yourself too. It can be traumatic watching your loved one go through this.
Domestic Violence is a continuous problem as victims are not able to identify themselves as one, according to the year ending March 2017 Crime Survey for England and Wales (1.2 million women, 713,000 men). were accounted for domestic violence. Are you part of that statistic if so get help and talk to someone like Abigail did, it is never too late.
If you know anyone or you have been affected by this story and would like more help and information, please do not hesitate to contact National Domestic Helpline
Remeber Domestic Violence can happen to anyone, including men not just women, if you see any form of abuse do not wait, speak out and report it, you can be saving a life
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