“I am worried sick about what is going to happen to me.My husband has always been a violent man, so I decided some time ago never to have children. I now deeply regret that decision, because at least now they would be grown up, and I would have somewhere to go to get away from my husband’s violent turns.
“While we’ve have been together through the pandemic, it has been very difficult for me, as he got so frustrated with being kept indoors. I have dreaded what each day will bring. When he was younger, he worked away from home a lot and that was a great relief for me, as I had long periods when I was safe. I never knew when he would be coming home though, so I always had to keep the house ready for him – just in case.
“Of course, over this past year or so, he has always been at home, and I’ve felt like I was living on a knife edge all the time. He has got worse as he’s got older, and has frequently hurt me so much that I have had to go to hospital.
“As I write this letter, I am recovering from a dislocated shoulder and am a mass of bruises. I would dearly like to leave him, but I have no money to start my own home and besides, he would never agree to a divorce. What can I do?”
“This is an intolerable situation. Your husband has got away with abusing you for far too long – if you have been seen in hospital before, I am surprised they have not picked up on the abuse and questioned you about it.
“Please don’t feel that you have to spend another moment of your life in a house with this man. There are refuges across the country for women who have been, or are at risk of abuse. The pandemic has made things much worse for people experiencing abusive relationships, just as you’ve found. More and more of them have been forced to turn to the crisis lines, such as those operated by Refuge and Women’s Aid I would urge you to contact the helpline as soon as you possibly can.
“The advisors can help in all manner of ways; you can be referred to a secure refuge, which would enable you to leave your husband, or you could be supported to make plans to help keep you safe. And they would help you get the information you so clearly need about your rights and options.
“You really do not have to stay with this man – you have rights over the assets of your marriage, like your home and other property. You say he would not agree to a divorce, but he wouldn’t have to. In circumstances like this, a divorce would be granted whether he agreed to it or not.
“With the help of a solicitor, I am sure there is plenty of medical and other evidence that could be brought to show the years of trauma you have been experiencing. The courts could also have the power to place an injunction on your husband to prevent him from coming anywhere near you if that is felt necessary.
“The 24-hour National Domestic Abuse Helpline (nationaldahelpline.org.uk) can be reached on 0808 2000 247. You can also visit the website to access live chat support, Monday to Friday from 3-10pm. Finding time and space away from him to make a call might be difficult, but please try and find a way as soon as you can, as you really shouldn’t be anywhere near an abuser like this for a moment longer.”
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