My Domestic Abuse Story
WARNING: This post has sensitive content. Readers' discretion is advised.
My name is Charlene Fradgley, I am forty-four years old and I am a survivor of domestic violence.
When I was fifteen, I left school and started working at a YTS retail in Amblecote. I met my first partner and he was nice and caring when I first met him. Within 3 months of our relationship starting, I was pregnant with his child. I didn't really face any abuse up until this point, but I soon found out how manipulative he was. He told me he didn't believe that the baby was his and that I was to get rid of it. I was a faithful partner and his accusations shocked me. I kept the baby and left him, but he soon crept back into my life and I gave him a second chance.
He was a very controlling person from then on. He told me what I could and couldn’t do, what I could wear and what I couldn't wear, where I could go and where I couldn't go. He started hitting me when I disobeyed him and isolated me from my family when he got the chance, removing my freedoms one by one. I eventually managed to see my family, but it resulted in a severe beating once I got home, he only hit me where my clothes covered my body. Every time he hit me, he always told me it was my fault.
This violence went on until I was 18 years old, until I had finally had enough. He hit me for the last time and I told him that I could not take anymore, that it was over and I left for my flat. It wasn't the last I saw of him though, after attacking my grandparents and damaging their property, he started to make his way to my flat.
Once he got to my front door, he smashed it down and started walking towards me with an axe he had stolen earlier on. My neighbour's arrived and called out his name - he was caught in the act, so he turned around and ran out of my flat. My neighbour saved my life that day by walking into my flat when he did. My partner was later arrested and charged with affray and went to prison.
I first met my second partner when I was 14 years old. He would eventually just so happen to be in a relationship with my first partner's sister.
Every so often, he would tell me what my first partner had been up to behind my back and he'd tell me that I was beautiful and I deserved better than the guy I was with, it was exactly what I wanted to hear. Whilst my relationship with my first partner was dissolving, I witnessed an argument between my future partner and his girlfriend, it ended in physical violence and I should have known right there and then, he was no different than my previous partner. They eventually split up some time after this, and it was just him and me.
After 2 years together we had gotten married and I soon found out my new husband was just as bad as my previous partner. My husband was controlling, always telling me that I was fat, ugly and useless. He always put me down at any opportunity. I had no self-esteem because of this, I hated what I saw in the mirror. Eventually i left him, but i suffered many years before i decided to do so.
My life is so much better now, and I am finally starting to like myself and I know that everything they took from me, I am starting to slowly get back. I still do not feel safe, but I try my best to push my past to the back of my mind and just get on with the new life I have started to make plans for my future for.
I know that some people may judge me for writing this blog, but I just wanted to share my story and let it be known that those who are victims of domestic violence are never alone. It's a very common issue that affects today's society and many people going through this crisis don't realise that there are people and organisations out there who can help you AND your children overcome these difficult situations.
I have suffered with depression and have recently been diagnosed with fibromyalgia, which I wrote a blog previously about. If you would like to read it, please click here.
I am now studying at Dudley College and have become an active member of the Students' Union as the Disabled Students Officer.
My life has changed and I can see a good future for myself now, all thanks to my family and all my good friends who have been a tower of strength for me. They have supported me and made me see that I can do anything and achieve a good, happy life for myself.
Please remember that even though you may go through domestic violence there is always people out there who can help you. You are not the only one who has gone through it or is going through it and there are people who are too ashamed to talk about is as they believe that it is their fault - it's not your fault if you are being abused - it's your partner who has a problem.
As I am Mental Health Ambassador this year, I will be setting up a group to help those that have suffered domestic abuse or those who may just want to increase their awareness on the matter, never do I want these experiences to happen to anyone else and we can only help to stop these happening to anyone else by raising our awareness and catching the signs earlier. I will be working closely with CHADD house to help deliver on my aims for this year.
If you need any help you could contact the following:
Dudley College Counselling Service
98 Dixons Green Rd
Phone: 01384 456465
Charlene Fradgley Disabled Students Officer 18-19