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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 14 when I first met him and he was two years older than me. I met him through one of my family members who was the same age as me, but her friend was older and seeing his friend. After that day he added me on Facebook, and after talking for about a week, we started seeing each other. At the beginning he was nice and let me do things I wanted to do although a lot of my time was spent with him. I used to go out with him and his friends rather than my friends, which drove my friends away as I spent more time with him than with them.

As the relationship developed and we spent every day together, I think he became reliant on me being there. This made him become controlling and he didn’t let me go out with my friends or to parties, I wasn’t allowed to wear make-up and he told me to cover up. He also made a joint Facebook account for us and I had to deactivate my own Facebook account. This was so he could check who was messaging me. I wasn’t allowed to use social media that he deemed was “inappropriate” for me to use.

I was hardly in the house so I didn’t spend time with my family as much as I did before. That made me and my mam become distant as I didn’t tell my mam as much as I did before. The more time I spent with him, the more controlling he became, and the more he thought he could stop me doing things. He felt he was in control of everything. After a while of spending every day with him if I did or said the wrong thing I could tell he was annoyed. I wasn’t allowed to talk to boys and he constantly thought I was cheating on him if I had a conversation with another boy.

One day he didn’t want me to go home but I did and he followed me to the bus stop, as he would never let me walk to the bus stop on my own. He asked me why I wanted to go home, and I said I just did, and he went to strangle me. I backed off and he then realised what he was doing but when I asked him to leave he refused. I had went home and he had messaged me saying he was sorry, that he would never do it again and wanted to carry on as normal. I said ok as he promised he didn’t mean to do it and said he would never do it again. I also pulled him up on his controlling behaviour and he said he would change this too. But when I got back with him it never did.

A couple of months after this, his friends and one of his friends girlfriends came over to his house for a drink for his birthday. They had got cocaine and they were sniffing coke and getting drunk. His and his friend went to go and get more drink and another deal. On the way back his friend told him that I had cheated on him, and rather than just asking me, he kept this to himself resulting in him becoming more and more angry. When I asked him what was wrong he said “you have been fucking cheating on me”. I denied it as I hadn’t cheated on him but he became more and more agitated and backed me up against the door. He then put his hands around my throat and told me I better not be cheating on him. His mum and auntie were on the other side of the door telling him to let go of me and told him to open the door. Once he did I walked out and went home. I ended things with him obviously. After a week of talking to him over Facebook about the situation he apologised and promised he wouldn’t do it again so I got back with him. But I realised that staying with him was a mistake and I ended things with him for good.

Although I ended things with him he constantly text me, followed me, rang me and my friends to check up on me and he wouldn’t leave me alone. Until one day I had an argument with him at school on my friend’s phone and it got reported to head of behaviour in school. Due to their safeguarding responsibilities, the school had to contact the police. I panicked when the police were there and sort of just told them everything. I got sent home from school that day and when police got back in touch with me they told me they had contacted the YPVA Service for me to meet up with Claire. I didn’t want to at first because I thought I didn’t need help and I could do it on my own. But after a few sessions I saw it was being beneficial for me and my future.

Claire is the boss of the YPVA Service and gives the young people workers. My allocated worker is Hollie and the more I worked with her the more our relationship developed and I was able to trust her. So telling her things was easy and she would always try and help and give me advice. It was nice being able to feel confident enough to trust her enough to tell her things that I wouldn’t tell anyone else.

The police served a PIN (Police Information Notice) on him which stops him from contacting me and from coming anywhere near me until I am 18 years old. The PIN has been helpful as I can go out and not have to worry about bumping into him and taking verbal abuse off him.

I’m close to finishing with the YPVA Service and recommend it to any young person who is struggling with abusive relationships as it is beneficial and helpful for you. I feel more confident to get into new relationships as I can use the work with the YPVA Service to see if the relationship I am in is healthy or unhealthy. I have now rebuilt friendships that I had before, and gained new ones as the YPVA Service has supported me in increasing my confidence. I don’t think I would be where I am today if Hollie, Jamila, Claire and Melissa hadn’t have helped me. 

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