SURVIVORS of domestic abuse from Herefordshire have spoken out about their traumatic experiences.

Charities Mothers Union and Womens Aid will once more be meeting to stand in solidarity with sufferers from domestic violence on November 26.

The No More 1 in 3 initiative will highlight the appalling statistic of women experiencing this crime in their own homes.

A group will meet outside the West Door of Hereford Cathedral where a minute's silence will be held at 1.03pm to remember the victims.


Laura’s story

Laura said when she looks back, it’s easy to see that her relationship was abusive from the start and followed a text-book pattern.

Initially her ex-partner was fun, complimentary, encouraging, understanding - all the things you would want in a partner, she said.

“I told him things I wouldn’t tell anyone else; I felt like he was really trustworthy and had my back,” said Laura.

That good phase lasted about nine months. But she realises now that it was a made-up fantasy and the person, he presented to hook her in doesn’t exist.

The compliments turned into insults; “you’re so good at your job” turned into “you’re so condescending, you’re such a know it all.

“I started to realise it had become an abusive relationship and my close friends were worried about me,” she said.

But she was stuck and kept thinking that if she changed how she was things would go back to the way they were at the beginning.


“I know everyone says that – I think it’s because they’re so good at convincing you their behaviour is all your fault,” Laura said.

The abuse was mainly verbal and psychological but there were peaks of physical and sexual violence that kept her in fear of him all the time.

“I thought a few times that he was going to kill me,” she said.

Laura phoned the RISE helpline and got advice from them about how to end the relationship and what to do afterwards.

“Although I was scared, I knew I couldn’t live like this anymore and ended the relationship,” she said.

“I used to feel so ashamed about being in an abusive relationship, I couldn’t believe it had happened to me and felt so stupid.”

But now she realises after working with RISE is that perpetrators are so skilled at breaking you down and making you think you’re crazy, worthless and that it’s your fault.

“I know I did nothing to deserve what he did to me and I’m a good person,” said Laura.

“I’m slowly getting better but I know it’s going to take time. I have good weeks and bad weeks and suffer from severe anxiety and depression.

“I’ve lost friends and family members since all this, people who got angry at me because I couldn’t leave, not understanding what life was like for me and how it wasn’t that simple at all.

“Now I have a small circle of amazing friends who I can be honest with about how I’m feeling.

“Maybe I’ll always be scared of him, but he no longer has control over me. Bit by bit I’m feeling like me again and feel positive about the future.”