Three months on, I sleep better.
I struggled with seeing the truth of this relationship – that I was being abused, that I was afraid – and worse, that my children were afraid.
It’s really difficult to accept that someone you thought loved you, someone you love, could hurt you – and it has taken a lot of strength to recognise that and to accept it.
Anna, the worker in COPE Galway Domestic Abuse Service helped me to understand this – helped me to see that it was my strength that has made me face up to this.
I thought I was being weak; I thought I was a failure, that I wasn’t good enough – Anna helped me to think more clearly – just by giving me time to speak – I felt safe chatting with her, never judged, and she never told me what to do.
After a couple of phone calls, I eventually went in and met Anna face-to-face.
I talked through what I was afraid of, what I felt, what I wanted, and what I could do to make a change – and with Anna’s help, I went to court and got a Protection Order. This was the scariest part for me but it helped to know I could go to the refuge if I needed to for a few days.
Best of all, Solas Óg, the Children’s Team at Modh Eile, have started working with the children – it’s like a weight coming off their little shoulders. One of the team has helped me to re-connect with each of them, to reassure them that they are safe. I am glad they have someone to talk to – it is all so confusing for them, they love their Dad, even though they are afraid of him, and I want them to have someone who understands.
I still have a long, long way to go – the legal part is tough, and I feel so overwhelmed sometimes.
Anna is always there to talk to and to explain – and I now understand that there are so many women out there who are going through the same thing – over 600 using this service alone every year – I thought it was only me.
So let me help you – if you see something in my story that you recognise, then talk to COPE Galway at 091 56 59 85 – you will feel better for it.
This is the final of 5 instalments of “Gillian’s Journey”, published During 16 Days of Action on Violence and Abuse against Women (25 Nov – 10 Dec).
Gillian called COPE Galway for help – you can do this too. We are open 24 hours every day – there is always someone to take your call. You don’t need to give your name or tell us anything – we won’t ask too many questions and we will not tell you what to do.
If Gillian’s experience is familiar to you, then check out our Relationship Checklist at www.copegalway.ie/16days tomorrow, December 10 – Human Rights Day and the final day of the #16Days campaign.
Remember that domestic abuse is not always about violence – it is about control, and can take the form of emotional, psychological, sexual, financial or physical abuse. None of it is ok – all of it is a crime.
We listen, we believe, we answer your questions – we help you work out what you want to do, what you need to do and what you can do – for you and your children.
If you or someone you know is experiencing domestic abuse or is affected by any of the issues mentioned above phone COPE Galway Domestic Abuse free and confidential service at 091 565 985 (24h).
When you’re ready to talk we’re ready to listen.
#16daysofactivism #16Days #letshelptogether