MAGUIRESBRIDGE woman Lorraine (she did not want to reveal her full identity) has told of how she endured years of mental and physical domestic abuse at the hands of her husband who reduced her to a life crippled by fear and manipulation.
The 40-year-old mum-of-one tells of how she suffered a litany of disgusting attacks by her husband who once threatened her and her young son with a shotgun.
But as the mother explains, the relationship began as a whirlwind romance before it escalated out of control.
“At the beginning he wined and dined me, it all seemed so lovely but looking back it was on all on his terms, though I didn’t see that then,” she said.
It wasn’t long before the couple were living in his home near Ballycastle, some 100 miles from her family in Fermanagh.
“When we moved in I noticed small arguments starting like when we went to his house and I voiced my opinion or disagreed with his family he would come down on me at home saying that I shouldn’t speak like that.
“That was one of the first things I found bizarre. I got quite aware of what I would say in front of his family.
“Then he decided he wanted us to have a baby. Within three months I was pregnant and that is when the domestic violence really kicked in. He started to push me when I was pregnant and threw a very heavy oak kitchen chair across the floor at me. He would be horrifically verbally abusive and it just kept going every day.
“He would expect everything on his terms where bullying me would become part of his routine.
“Domestic violence is not just when he hits you but it’s the mental abuse. When he gets in your head, you never forget that.
“Your bruises will heal but you will never forget or get over the names he called you and how he would degrade you.
“When he starts telling you what to think, what to say, wear, eat, where to be.
“If people can read the signs before it gets to the thumping stage they might be able to get out.
“I gave up my career and he deprived me financially.
“One day he went to the attic and got the shotgun out and threatened us with it and said he would kill himself. There is so much fear in you and so much you are embarrassed about you want that scenario to go away and make things better.
“He always ended arguments saying we’ll forget about this when you say sorry, whether it was after a slap, push or mouthful of abusive language.”
Lorraine’s ex-husband also pretended to kill himself one night when the couple were on holidays, which Lorraine described as mental torture.
At times Lorraine was locked out of her home for hours, had her clothes ripped up and her phone was constantly checked.
Lorraine recounts how every day for years she suffered horrendous abuse which she says she will never forget.
The final push for Lorraine to leave her marriage came when her then two-year-old son copied his father when he thumped a table in anger.
“I knew then I was going to leave as I didn’t want to bring him up like his dad.”
It wasn’t until Lorraine eventually confided in a friend that the truth surrounding her abusive marriage was revealed.
She then contacted Womens’ Aid and was directed to the Fermanagh branch where she met Sheila Bradley, who she calls her lifeline.
After attempting to leave her martial home numerous times, Lorraine always returned. But it wasn’t until her ex-husband travelled to Germany for a holiday that she mustered the courage to leave.
“I lived in hope but looking back I wasn’t ready to leave because I was so scared and the fear of coping on my own and providing for Jack was difficult.
“I was told that he would never change and they were right.”
While Lorraine describes the frightening details of her years of physical and mental abuse, her ex-husband has never never prosecuted for the litany of offences and pain she says he caused her.
For those who are suffering domestic violence she said: “I would tell them to get out because he or she will not change no matter what they say. Don’t ignore the small signs and don’t stay for the sake of the children.
“Better a happy one parent family than an abusive two parent family.”
While she admits the journey to recovery has been tough, she believes that she is a lot stronger for it and is now helping local families through voluntary work at WFRC while she completes her Level 3 children’s care learning and development.
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