Women’s experiences of Domestic Violence and Abuse

Tasha

Age at interview: 40

Brief outline: Tasha met her abusive ex-partner in 2001. During their nine years together, for six of which they were married, Tasha experienced emotional, sexual and financial abuse. Since the relationship ended in 2010, Tasha has been assaulted physically on two occasions by her ex. At the time of the interview he was continuing to exert control over her through their children, causing her on-going emotional distress.

Background: Tasha, a white British woman, lives with her husband and four of her five children (ages 9 months – 21 years) in a privately owned home. She is unemployed, living with condition affecting her joints, and is registered disabled.

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Tasha encountered frequent emotional and financial abuse throughout her nine year relationship, and experienced her partner’s controlling behaviour. At first, Tasha didn’t perceive his behaviour as abusive. For example, when he stopped her talking to family and friends because ‘they were no good for her’, she was made to feel that it was in her best interest. Tasha recalls how her partner would focus on her disability, making her feel that she had to rely on him to do things for her; something which led her to increasingly doubt her own abilities. Tasha felt low and lacked self-confidence. Four years into the relationship the sexual abuse began. Fuelled by excess alcohol, her husband now ‘wouldn’t take no for an answer’.

Tasha attempted to end the relationship on several occasions. However, each time, her husband would say that he was sorry and would change. The relationship finally ended in 2011, but subsequently Tasha has been physically assaulted on two occasions by her ex. After the second attack she no longer felt safe and went to stay in a refuge for four months with her two youngest children. Four years on, Tasha finds it difficult to ‘get him out of her head’. He continues to exert control over her through their children, causing her stress and upset. 

Since the end of her abusive marriage, Tasha has been able to re-establish relationships with her friends and family. With their help and support, and also that of her new husband, her confidence has started to return. Her experiences do however still ‘haunt’ and adversely affect her current relationship. For instance, she feels like she has to ask her husband’s permission for things, for example to buy something, and he won’t instigate sex because he knows what she went through. Tasha feel that her two youngest children are still experiencing the emotional impact of the abuse and they are both currently attending counselling. 

Tasha has been helped by the local specialist domestic abuse service. In particular she found the counselling and support she received when staying in the refuge to be ‘brilliant’. Tasha praises the police, feeling that they are now clued up on domestic violence and are aware of what to look out for. 

Tasha wants to encourage other women currently in an abusive relationship to use Women’s Aid or services such as the police for help, and would like them to know that ‘there is a way out’.

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