|UNISON is aware that the COVID crisis and restrictions have played a part in the increased incidents of domestic abuse.|
Whilst the majority of people experiencing domestic abuse are women we are aware that men can be in need of support too.
We are sharing the experience of one of our members who, with help, has changed her life and left her abusive partner.
Your branch welfare officer, Chris Burrow, can also be reached on 02476 521126. He would like to remind you of UNISON’s ThereForYou charity, which can support members with domestic abuse issues including providing financial assistance.
|My Story…A real-life experience of domestic abuse from one of our members.|
My marriage was abusive and the majority of that abuse was coercive control. He has both physical and mental health problems and I was his carer as well as being primary carer to our children and the only earner in the household.
For many years I made excuses for his behaviour but over time his treatment of me just got worse. I spent much of my time at home feeling like I was walking on eggshells just waiting for the accusations and blame that were sure to come. As the children got older and didn’t need me to take them to friends’ houses or to the park anymore then my reasons for leaving the house reduced to going to work, doing the shopping and any errands my husband wanted me to do for him. I would cling onto the little moments of happiness, the fact that I loved him and he needed me, and not think too far ahead and so the days, months and years passed.
Family gatherings (including Christmas) could quickly switch from being wonderful to traumatic because of how unpredictable he could be and I was always on high alert to subtle changes in his mood.
I remember going to see my GP (during a period of sick leave from work due to home life stress) and being told that my husband was being abusive. At the time I just thought “that’s not helpful because I still have to live this life” but it was helpful because it acknowledged what was happening and contributed to me recognising the abusive behaviour. What would have helped even more would have been signposting me to services like Coventry Haven who gave me considerable support later on. It took me a long time to accept the reality that I was living with an abuser but once I did it was a stepping stone to being able to leave. Although, to begin with, I wasn’t sure that leaving would ever be possible I did begin to dream of a life of my own.
Eventually, with the help of family and friends I was able to leave and we now have our own home where we feel safe. One of the people who supported me was my line manager. She helped me to process what had happened and to make decisions about how to change my life. I have now, two years on, found belief in myself and am enjoying a life where I make the choices I want to make.
UNISON recognise the impact that domestic abuse has on our members’ lives. Support and understanding from your employer can make all the difference if you are a survivor, or if you are trying to escape.
We take the lead in negotiating workplace policies to support and assist staff experiencing domestic abuse, in a confidential and safe way.
If you need help, we are here for you; please get in touch with us confidentially so we can help.
UNISON Coventry City Branch
Call us on 02476 550829
email us at firstname.lastname@example.org