December 23, 2019
Many of us see the festive period as a chance to eat, drink and be merry with our favourite people. But for thousands, it will only offer an escalation of what they must endure all year round: domestic violence and abuse. I know because from the age of 17 to 20 I lived with an emotionally and physically abusive partner and I dreaded Christmas.When I first met Connor*, he was everything I was looking for in a mate: strong, funny, intelligent and charming. He showered me with affection and attention, which was flattering at first but later suffocating. He also had a jealous temper, the likes of which I hadn’t experienced before or since. We were in a relationship for a year before he became violent but, in that year, he began to manipulate and control every aspect of my life in ways that were almost imperceptible at the time.Related... Donations To Women's Refuges Double In Wake Of Election Result More Than A Third Of Women Have Unwillingly Been Choked, Gagged Or Spat On During Sex Child Poverty Is Not Inevitable. Here’s How We Make It A Thing Of The Past We lived together and shared a bank account but I kept “losing” my debit card, so Connor persuaded me it would be easier for him to give me a weekly cash allowance. He would subtly belittle me in front of his friends, picking on my insecurities and reinforcing every negative thought I ever had about myself. He poisoned me against my family (who quickly realised he was not a great guy) causing an estrangement that would take years to heal. When my friends invited me out, he would guilt me into staying home. After months of rejection, friends stopped inviting me out altogether and I became more and more reliant on Connor.As this was my first serious relationship, I had no frame of reference, no idea that his behaviour was troubling. I didn’t realise abuse could take place without violence. The media depiction of partner abuse still focuses on violence because it’s attention-grabbing, but I will never forget the way Connor gently eroded my confidence, my personality and my self-worth.The first act of violence happened at Christmas. I’d decided to go to my office Christmas party on a whim and after a few drinks was having the most fun I’d experienced in months. When I got home, I discovered I was locked out. I battered at the door for Connor to let me in, but when he opened the door, I saw his face twisted into a shape I didn’t recognise. I knew immediately that he was going to hurt me. A flash of rage saw me thrown down a flight of stairs, followed by a weeping apology and assurance this would never happen again.But it did.We lived together peacefully for months at a time then, as soon as he’d drank too much or had a hard day, the violent rage would return. I tried to leave, called shelters and my local council but was turned away. According to Women’s Aid research, 60% of all referrals to refuge services in 2017–18 were declined and one in six of these referrals were declined due to a lack of space or capacity to support the survivor.I lived in a state of fear and hyper vigilance, barely talking in case I said anything that would trigger Connor’s rage. I lived in shame, not telling anyone about the abuse because I believed what was happening to me was my fault. I sunk into a deep depression and would often feel disappointed to wake up in the morning, to face another day in torment.Women stay in abusive relationships for many different reasons, and it can be very difficult for a woman to leave an abusive partner – even if she wants to. I had no money, no friends and nowhere to go and never felt more isolated than during the festive season. My office closed for a fortnight at Christmas and I would feel sick with dread at the thought of spending every day indoors with a man who would monitor my every move and could explode at any moment.Christmas time goes hand in hand with large quantities of alcohol – a common trigger of physical and verbal abuse – meaning attacks can spike at this time. At the same time access to services can be limited during the festive season, leading to a real feeling of isolation. When you consider that an estimated 2.4 million adults in England and Wales experienced domestic abuse in the last year, it brings home just how many people will be living in fear this Christmas.It was during our last Christmas together that I realised I needed to leave Connor. I was rebuilding my relationship with my family in secret and remembering the person I used to be. It would take three attempts before I actually left for good, with one final flash of violence that left me physically scarred and with post-traumatic stress disorder, which would last more than a decade.  When I hear Christmas music now it doesn’t remind me of happy times, only living in fear. My skin prickles as I remember the festive hits that I’d hear playing in neighbours’ homes as Connor raged at me. Bruises fade but psychological abuse takes much longer to heal.
Domestic Violence Spikes Over Christmas – I Know First-Hand How Festivities Can Escalate
Catherine Renton is a freelance writer.
If you need support, call:National Domestic Violence Helpline – 0808 2000 247The Men’s Advice Line, for male domestic abuse survivors – 0808 801 0327The Mix, free information and support for under 25s in the UK – 0808 808 4994National LGBT+ Domestic Abuse Helpline – 0800 999 5428Samaritans (24/7 service) – 116 123Rights of Women advice lines, there are a range of services available: https://rightsofwomen.org.uk/get-advice/advice-lines/Related... Donations To Women's Refuges Double In Wake Of Election Result Making Misogyny A Hate Crime Is The Only Way To End Violence Against Women Children Are Going Without Gifts And Food Again This Christmas – Here's How To Help Grace Millane Murder: Should ‘Rough Sex’ Ever Be A Legal Defence In Court?
Related Stories
Latest News
Top news around the world
Coronavirus Disease

Coronavirus disease (COVID-19) is an infectious disease caused by a newly discovered coronavirus.

Most people infected with the COVID-19 virus will experience mild to moderate respiratory illness and recover without requiring special treatment. Older people, and those with underlying medical problems like cardiovascular disease, diabetes, chronic respiratory disease, and cancer are more likely to develop serious illness.

Around the World

Celebrity News

> Latest News in Media

Watch It
"Vanderpump Rules" Star Katie Maloney Opens Up About Abortion
November 27, 2021
fMA1NRmZMTg
Ice-T & Coco's Daughter Teaches Grandma How To Twerk
November 27, 2021
0O9KoeqoPik
"RHOA" Star Falynn Pina Welcomes Baby Girl With Fiance
November 27, 2021
d2b5cZQ3tsA
Bebe Rexha Doesn't Need Awards to Validate Song Popularity | TMZ
November 28, 2021
a3J6tT4rIHU
Faizon Love Says 'Elf 2' Doesn't Need Will Ferrell, Time for Black Elf | TMZ
November 28, 2021
j3mubDgTYnU
Blac Chyna Weighs In on Omicron Variant & Unvaccinated People
November 27, 2021
-biXwe9YaNQ
Peter Jackson Reveals How He Convinced Beatles Paul and Ringo To Let Him Make 'Get Back'
November 26, 2021
K95MIzDth_A
Kevin Hart, Wesley Snipes, and Eric Newman Talk 'True Story' and Kevin's Acting Skills
November 23, 2021
PuTxxFD4tHM
Adam Driver, Jared Leto, and Jeremy Irons Talk 'House of Gucci'
November 22, 2021
u5QhOKbdsoA
Vanderpump Rules star Scheana Shay feels sexy after struggling with post-baby body image | Page Six
November 29, 2021
ES2NkW-DbGY
Vanderpump's Scheana Shay thinks Lala Kent and Randall Emmett are done for good| Page Six
November 29, 2021
w9RW4zz2rCw
Joy Behar slammed for suggesting people ‘come out’ this Thanksgiving | Page Six Celebrity News
November 29, 2021
FmRHdHgzdik
TV Schedule
Late Night Show
Watch the latest shows of U.S. top comedians

Sports

Latest sport results, news, videos, interviews and comments
Latest Events
19
Nov
ASIAN CHAMPIONS LEAGUE: Group H
Sydney FC - Shanghai SIPG
17
Nov
UEFA NATIONS LEAGUE A: Group Stage
Spain - Germany
14
Nov
UEFA NATIONS LEAGUE A: Group Stage
Germany - Ukraine
08
Nov
ENGLAND: Premier League
Manchester City - Liverpool
08
Nov
ENGLAND: Premier League
Arsenal - Aston Villa
08
Nov
SPAIN: La Liga
Valencia - Real Madrid
08
Nov
ITALY: Serie A
AC Milan - Verona
08
Nov
ENGLAND: Premier League
West Bromwich Albion - Tottenham Hotspur
08
Nov
ITALY: Serie A
Bologna - Napoli
08
Nov
ITALY: Serie A
Genoa - Roma
08
Nov
ITALY: Serie A
Atalanta - Inter Milan
08
Nov
ITALY: Serie A
Lazio - Juventus
08
Nov
GERMANY: Bundesliga
Bayer Leverkusen - Borussia Monchengladbach
08
Nov
ENGLAND: Premier League
Leicester City - Wolves
08
Nov
GERMANY: Bundesliga
Wolfsburg - Hoffenheim
08
Nov
SPAIN: La Liga
Real Valladolid - Athletic Bilbao
08
Nov
SPAIN: La Liga
Levante - Alaves
08
Nov
SPAIN: La Liga
Real Sociedad - Granada CF
08
Nov
ITALY: Serie A
Torino - Crotone
08
Nov
SPAIN: La Liga
Getafe - Villarreal
07
Nov
GERMANY: Bundesliga
Borussia Dortmund - Bayern Munich
07
Nov
ENGLAND: Premier League
Everton - Manchester United
07
Nov
ENGLAND: Premier League
Chelsea - Sheffield United
07
Nov
SPAIN: La Liga
Atletico Madrid - Cadiz
07
Nov
SPAIN: La Liga
Barcelona - Real Betis
07
Nov
GERMANY: Bundesliga
Augsburg - Hertha Berlin
07
Nov
GERMANY: Bundesliga
Stuttgart - Eintracht Frankfurt
07
Nov
GERMANY: Bundesliga
RB Leipzig - SC Freiburg
07
Nov
ENGLAND: Championship
Rotherham - Preston NE
07
Nov
ITALY: Serie A
Parma - Fiorentina
07
Nov
ENGLAND: Championship
Watford - Coventry
07
Nov
ENGLAND: Championship
Norwich City - Swansea City
07
Nov
ENGLAND: Championship
Blackburn - QPR
07
Nov
ENGLAND: Championship
Derby County - Barnsley
07
Nov
ENGLAND: Championship
Huddersfield - Luton
07
Nov
ENGLAND: Championship
Nottingham Forest - Wycombe Wanderers
07
Nov
ENGLAND: Premier League
West Ham United - Fulham
07
Nov
ENGLAND: Championship
Sheffield Wednesday - Millwall
07
Nov
ENGLAND: Championship
Brentford - Middlesbrough
07
Nov
ENGLAND: Championship
Birmingham - Bournemouth
07
Nov
SPAIN: La Liga
Sevilla - Osasuna
07
Nov
ITALY: Serie A
Benevento - Spezia
07
Nov
ENGLAND: Premier League
Crystal Palace - Leeds
04
Nov
CHAMPIONS LEAGUE: Group stage, Group G
Ferencvaros - Juventus
04
Nov
CHAMPIONS LEAGUE: Group stage, Group G
Barcelona - Dynamo K.
03
Nov
CHAMPIONS LEAGUE: Group stage, Group A
Salzburg - Bayern Munich
03
Nov
CHAMPIONS LEAGUE: Group stage, Group D
Atalanta - Liverpool
Find us on Instagram
at @feedimo to stay up to date with the latest.
Featured Video You Might Like
zWJ3MxW_HWA L1eLanNeZKg i1XRgbyUtOo -g9Qziqbif8 0vmRhiLHE2U JFCZUoa6MYE UfN5PCF5EUo 2PV55f3-UAg W3y9zuI_F64 -7qCxIccihU pQ9gcOoH9R8 g5MRDEXRk4k
Copyright © 2020 Feedimo. All Rights Reserved.