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I won’t ever forget how cold the ground felt when I ran from the house. I didn’t think I would be able to get help from anyone, because he said no-one would help me. I called out to the woman in the street and told her I was scared of my husband, and she called the police.

I was shaking and terrified that my husband would find out I had left the house. He seemed to know everything – what I was doing, where I was and even if I had called anyone from my family. When the police arrived, my stomach was turning upside down, had I done the right thing? Or was it me that would get into trouble? These are the things I was made to believe.

The policewoman called for an interpreter, and through her I told the police what had happened. The police told me that it was a crime for my husband to beat me and have locked me in the house. I showed them the marks and bruising and they took pictures. I was still very paranoid that the police would call my husband and that he would take me back to the house.

The interpreter reassured me the police were there to help me and that he was wrong for hurting me.

I now know that my husband knew what he was doing. He was in control of what he was doing. I believed him when he said it was my fault that he’d beaten me. I believed him when he said he had installed cameras in the house to check up on me. I believed him when he would say he would deport me or have me killed because there is no law to protect me. I believed him when he said women who don’t save the family honour get killed.

I was placed in a refuge in my hometown but then I was moved to Anah Project for my own safety. I found out through my family that my husband was sending people to look for me. Within my community word gets around very quick. He always said he would kill me if I left.

When I came to Anah Project I was scared, anxious and not sleeping or eating very well. I was supported to talk about what happened and the abuse. I felt welcomed by the other women and staff. I was shown the local amenities. I attended training sessions at the refuge to help me settle in and feel comfortable. My health gradually improved and I started to feel confident to go out by myself. I was given advice and support about my safety and how to stay safe. I registered with a new GP to get medical treatment for a back injury I suffered at the hands of my husband.

I was supported to speak with a solicitor about my immigration status. This was hard for me as I had to relive the abuse and trauma I had suffered. I received a lot of help from my support worker and she would have regular one-to-one sessions with me. This helped me to understand and process everything that was happening to me.

Living at Anah Project helped me to start trusting people and believing that there was help for me. I started attending English classes and with help from my key worker I enrolled on numeracy and IT classes. I attended counselling sessions that helped me understand my fears and how to break the cycle of anxiety and negative thoughts. I set myself routines to get back control of my life.

When I felt ready, I applied for my own tenancy with support from my key worker and now I live free from abuse. I have support from my family and friends and I have control over my own life.

Before I came to Anah Project, I felt so isolated and alone. I often had thoughts about killing myself because I couldn’t see any other way out. Even if I didn’t, it was just a matter of time before he killed me.

Since receiving support my confidence and self-esteem has improved and I am much more independent.

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