2nd March 2017
The following story is one of several accounts shared with us by a group of young people; all have experienced domestic abuse and have been supported by the Ypvas working at the Young People Violence Advisor (Ypva) Service in South Tyneside. They have shared their individual stories to raise awareness of domestic abuse in the hope that victims and services will be inspired to make change. For an audio version of this blog, visit our Soundcloud profile or scroll to the bottom of the page.
*Names have been changed to protect identities
I was 13 years old living at home with my family. I was suffering verbal (getting called names) and physical abuse from my parents and older brother. The physical assaults were mostly from my oldest brother who felt I should respect him and my parents and do everything they wanted me to do, even if I didn’t want to do it. They used to make me wear my hijab and try and control everything I did. I would sometimes be locked in the house so I could not go out to see my friends after school as my parents felt it would look bad and shame my family if a young Muslim girl was out on the streets alone or just with friends.
I didn’t understand as my other friends were allowed to go out with their friends and wear what they liked to wear. It went on for a while until I had to the courage to call the police from my house phone. My brother had hit me that day because I refused to wear my hijab and my parents supported him to do this, as they thought I was being disrespectful to them and my culture. I was taken into care for my own safety and placed with a foster carer.
Claire then contacted me from the YPVA Service and I have been supported by them since. I have completed lots of work including making safety plans, learning about healthy and safe relationships, including cultural issues such as honour based violence and forced marriage, as well as legal orders and how the police can help me. The police did lots to help me and worked with Claire to help me better.
We also talked about how to stay safe online, protecting my phone and stuff. Claire also helped me with school, my CV and my plans for employment when I leave school. And she supported me to meet other services, such as social workers, Connexions workers, cadets etc so I felt supported as I would not have gone on my own.
If I’d stayed at home and not reported it, and not got help, I feel I would have less confidence, no future, most likely to stay at home and cook and clean, (my culture), maybe have married too young.
Staying out of the home means I have more confidence, know my rights as a person/human, and police/court help for the assaults/abuse. I know about protection orders to help keep me safe and have lots more knowledge for the future, I’ve made personal improvements and have more career opportunities.
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Keep an eye on our Spotlight page for more information and resources around supporting young people experiencing domestic abuse.