Women’s experiences of Domestic Violence and Abuse


Age at interview: 20

Brief outline: Lolita broke up with her controlling, dominating boyfriend 2-3 months before her interview, after just under one year, her first ‘serious’ relationship. She had previously been raped by a friend when she was 13. Her recent relationship began as friendship as he lived the other side of the country but he eventually moved in with her. Following episodes of physical, sexual, emotional and financial abuse, Lolita found it difficult to get him to leave, eventually getting help from the Police.

Background: Lolita is a 20 yr old black mixed race woman, living alone without children. She works as a school Sports Coach and plans to study for an NVQ in healthcare in order to access Midwifery training. Her domestic violence support worker is helping her with handwriting and other skills.

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Lolita was introduced to her ex through a friend on social media and they eventually met after two years of messaging, following the break-up of his previous relationship. Lolita was 18 and he was 17 and she forgave him his initial difficult behaviour, such as verbal aggression on the phone, as typical of a ‘young boy’. He failed to make their first rendezvous as he was drunk. Following their first meeting Lolita recognised trust issues as took her phone and deleted all her male contacts, whilst refusing to remove his own female contacts. 

Following cross –country visits Lolita’s boyfriend moved into her flat. Despite being in love with him and having high expectations of a future together, Lolita soon found his behaviour difficult and felt she was expected to ‘mother’ him. For example, he did not have a job and refused to take any part in the maintenance of the home such as shopping, cooking or cleaning. He became verbally aggressive when Lolita challenged him and a male friend of his condoned his behaviour, casting Lolita as a ‘bully’. Lolita recounts frequent arguments during which they would physically fight. She was pinned to the bed, part-strangled, kicked and had things thrown at her.

Lolita ‘lost the spark’ in her as her boyfriend told her she was ugly, fat and lucky to have him. He frequently forced her to have sex when she did not want to. Lolita, however, was forgiving, recognising that her boyfriend was in a ‘bad place’ in his life, had no family support, lacked a real father and had a difficult relationship with his step-father. Lolita could see that he had no-one to talk to but her and that his behaviour resulted from bottled up anger.

The worst behaviour Lolita describe is when her boyfriend abused her anxiety about security by kicking her front door down when it was locked, making her feel very unsafe.

Lolita confided in family and friends but found their advice to leave him unhelpful, since she wanted to offload her emotions but stick with the relationship and try to make it work, as she still loved him. Afraid that her family might force her hand by contacting the Police, Lolita contacted her local domestic violence agency for support.

The relationship ended after a particularly violent argument when Lolita told him to go, with some short-term support from her mother and the Police.

Lolita explains that she adapted her life for him so much that she now feels lost, lonely and ‘smaller’, drained and unable to trust men. She is getting all the help she needs from friends and from the domestic violence support worker and is beginning to learning to love herself. She describes herself as independent and is positive about her future and her career.


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