David and I were together for six years. He beat me up for four of them. He didn’t touch me to start with, but he used to call me a ‘slag’ and much worse. He made me feel useless, like I couldn’t do anything properly on my own. It was worst when we were with friends – it was like he enjoyed making me feel small in front of them.
It wasn’t all the time though and that’s why it was so hard to work out what was going on. I talked myself into believing it wasn’t a serious problem and that no relationship was perfect.
The first time he ever slapped me we’d been out to a bar. We’d had a really good night because lots of our friends were there too. It was a laugh. But when we got back home he said I’d been flirting with his best mate, Darren. I couldn’t believe it. I didn’t even fancy Darren – it was Matt I was in love with. Matt looked at me with this coldness in his eyes and said really quietly, “You tart”. Then he slapped me.
After that it got worse but I stuck with him because every time he kicked or punched me he said he was sorry. And he always told me how much he loved me. Then I got pregnant and it got ten times worse. In the end he kicked me so badly that I lost the baby.
This Valentines Day, Valerie will be getting slaps instead of kisses and abuse instead of love. You can #Spreadthelove this Valentines Day and help someone like Alice by donating just £5 today.
*Names have been changed to protect the people involved. This story was taken from the Refuge website.