We have been listening to, and documenting, women’s experiences of domestic violence for many years. We are committed to lifting the veil on domestic violence and giving a public voice to women.
Below you will find two direct accounts from women who have kindly shared their experience of abuse with us. We hope that these give some sense of the complexity of domestic violence – the fear, the coercion, the emotional abuse, and the fact that sometimes women don’t recognise that they are in an abusive relationship.
If you are a member of the media and you would like to learn more about the reality and complexity of domestic violence, contact our office on 0906 479078 or email email@example.com
“I was walking on eggshells for years and I didn’t realise I was in a domestic violence situation even though I was being hit and bet. It was very easy for that person to hit, anything could startle him. It could be the way you look at him, it could be that you mightn’t answer him right and he would just lash out at you.
“The sexual violence was… I didn’t realise… I knew what was happening to me wasn’t right but I didn’t realise until I went into the counselling what he was actually doing to me…He had control of the finances as well…
“My first port of call when I decided I’d had enough was the domestic violence service, they did the safety order, I applied to the legal aid board and I got a legal aid board solicitor.
“I think there’s still a lot of fear in me today and I think if I see him I’d probably start shaking; it’s still that strong, after coming from the violence and knowing what he’s done to the kids. My little lad is badly affected, he actually kicks out, he boxes me, he goes for my head, the same way as his father; he is acting out like this man, I think it’s the effect of the violence and abuse.”
“…I was pottering around doing my housework and he came and he was, you know – get downstairs, do this and that. I said, ‘I’m not dealing with you while we’re fighting; I’m not doing this.’ He said to me, ‘if you love me you’d come downstairs or I’m going to hurt myself.’ I didn’t think he meant it. I went down about ten minutes later and he was trying to kill himself. He told me it was my fault, that I was a bad mother and everything. I ended up having to get the guards that night.
“For about a week or two everything was grand and then he started back on me again, criticising me, harassing me.
“So I got a solicitor and eventually I got my protection order, and an interim barring order. I had to come back to get the final barring order.
“I think sometimes [the judge] doesn’t grasp the full extent – that just because there wasn’t physical violence, the emotional can be worse than the physical sometimes because it’s the fear of when is he going to get me. He says he’s going to get me but when? Like you need to take it serious. But like I’ve had the other two judges like and they didn’t care. They just sort of said, ‘nothing happened to you, so what are you here for?’ Being beat is bad, like, but sometimes I would have rather if he had of hit me because you could deal with the beating, you could say well look at the bruises he left. It was the little bits, slowly like picking at things, breaking down things slowly until eventually I felt worthless.”
Safe Ireland National Social Change Agency CLG trading as SAFE IRELAND, is a company limited by guarantee not having a share capital, registered in Dublin, Ireland with registered company number 291205. Safe Ireland National Social Change Agency CLG is a registered charity with CHY number 13064.