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Violence was so bad that I sent for police every week

My name is Louise and I want to tell you of my experience of domestic violence.

I met my partner when I was 18.

We were going together for a few months when I got pregnant.

My daughter was born in January and I got married in March, as I didn't want to be a single parent.

Everything was OK until we moved to England, where my husband worked. It was the verbal abuse that started first.

We moved back to Belfast after a year and that is when the verbal abuse turned physical.

The physical abuse happened when he was sober and also in front of his mother and father, who we were living with.

We then moved into a house of our own where the physical and mental abuse got worse.

He then started going out drinking.

The violence was so bad I was sending for the police once a week, but I kept taking him back and feeling sorry for him, as when sober he was a completely different person, saying he would change.

Then I had my second child.

The abuse and beatings still went on. I couldn't tell anyone as my family were living in Dublin and I didn't want to worry them.

The third child came along, then the fourth.

All this time the abuse and beatings continued.

I lived in fear of him going out as I knew what I would get from him when he came in.

Another reason I stayed was I was scared of not being able to provide for myself and my children.

My children were afraid of him, but as they grew older they started to challenge him as they watched the beatings and saw the bruises, black eyes and clumps of hair missing from my head.

This resulted in him lashing out at the children when they questioned him about what had happened to me.

I tried to keep out of his way. If he had been out drinking I would stay in the children's room to avoid him.

Nine years ago I decided I had enough when he came in drunk and the verbal abuse started.

Me and my daughter were watching TV trying to ignore him when he turned and said: "I will kill you all in your sleep tonight."

Me and the children left the house that night and went to a neighbour's, where I called the police to tell them what he had said.

I gave them permission to go into the family home to remove him.

It took the police two hours as he had barricaded himself in one of the bedrooms.

When my children and myself were able to go back into the house he had smashed it up.

When he left that wasn't the end of things for me.

The years of physical and mental abuse took its toll on me mentally, resulting in three suicide attempts.

After the final attempt the last thing I remember is waking up in intensive care.

My daughter had found me lying at the bottom of the stairs.

My next door neighbour Julie phoned for an ambulance.

She later told me how they had pulled over on the side of the road to work on me.

I was in intensive care for three days.

I am telling my story because I want to tell others: stand up for yourself, walk away and don't look back.

I would like to thank my family and friends for all the help and support they have given me, especially my two girls.

They are my two angels.

Thank you for listening to my story, my journey through life.

Belfast Telegraph

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