Domestic abuse survivor from Chorley speaks out to tell others not to suffer in silence

Abuse comes in many forms - mental and physical and one lady who has suffered both is ready to bravely tell her story to help others.

Monday, 27th December 2021, 3:45 pm
The woman's lower back which was subjected to punches from her now ex-partner while she walked up the stairs.

Having been subjected to rape, punched and kicked repeatedly, told she is worthless and should die, by her now ex-partner, a 34-year-old woman from Chorley refuses to be called a victim, but rather a survivor of domestic abuse.

Not just leaving physical scars, the woman, who wishes to remain anonymous as police continue to investigate, explains how all of the torture inflicted upon her has left her mental health in tatters and that her four children are what keep her going.

Here is her story.

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The late David Edwards from Chorley who was abused and then murdered by his wife.

"I met my ex 17 years ago, he was 10 years older than me. Throughout the years we had four children together and for the majority it was good.

"He would always accuse me of cheating on him with the male staff wherever I worked. I'd deny the claim and he would apologise.

"Sometimes he would say to my children 'looks like you will be getting a new daddy' or he would say they weren't his kids. He would always apologise afterwards and say he didn't mean it."

She added: "This past year has been the worst. He would call me a whore and a slut in front of my kids.

"I don't go out anywhere and I have only one friend now as he slowly isolated me.

"Thankfully, she was the one who told me to call the police.

"Since August this year we agreed to go our separate ways. He said he would leave our house once he had a deposit for a flat.

"However, every time he had money to leave he would spend it on himself. He said if I wanted him to leave then I would have to give him £2,000."

His abuse soon escalated from mental control to physical when he held her down and raped her while he children lay beside her.

"One night when my kids were asleep in my bed with me he held me down by my throat and raped me. I couldn't move as every time I tried he would squeeze my throat until I went limp.

"He became a lot more angry and would scream and yell at me that I had ruined his life and that he will kill me and that he doesn't care if he goes to jail as he would get three meals a day and a bed.

"One night whilst yelling at me I tried to get our kids up to my bedroom so they didn't have to listen to him as the stuff he said was vile. I had my son who was six months old at the time in my arms, my two other younger ones already at the top of the stairs in front of me when he punched me hard in the backside leaving a bruise.

"My kids were screaming and I was crying trying to get upstairs away from him."

Other violent outbursts included him telling her how worthless and disgusting she was and that she was better off dead as no-one liked her.

Another incident occurred when she Facetimed her friend, discussing how to get away from him, not realising he was stood at the door listening. When she ended the call he lunged at her saying he would kill her.

The last incident that made her garner what little strength she was left with to call the police was when she was taking a nap with her children when he barged in ranting that he knew she had cheated on him.

"He strangled me until my three-year-old kept hitting and kicking him telling him to stop.

"My friend urged me to call the police and I am so glad I did.

"He was arrested and they took pictures of my bruises and my children told them how they didn't feel safe with him here and that they don't want to see him.

"My daughter who is three said to the police "daddy is a monster".

However, without sufficient evidence, he has been released after denying all counts.

"I have nightmares, no longer have any self confidence and can't talk to people face to face. My mental health was really low but I'm getting better slowly. My kids aim to make me smile every day.

"I have changed the locks on the doors, blocked him on social media and will be moving in the new year."

Thankfully, this woman has had a happy ending in one respect, however, not all victims of abuse are as fortunate.

In 2015 David Edwards from Chorley was stabbed through the heart and murdered by his wife Sharon in their home just weeks after their wedding.

The 51-year-old solicitor's death in July of that year was the culmination of months of violence.

He had told a paramedic about the abuse but a failure to follow procedures meant the report was not escalated to managers.

A report concluded that a perception that men were not domestic abuse victims may have contributed to the situation.

Police in Lancashire's South Division made less arrests over the past two years in relation to domestic abuse claims despite receiving a higher number of calls.

Figures released under a Freedom of Information Request (FOI) to Lancashire Constabulary have shown that calls of a domestic violence or domestic abuse nature have risen from 6,589 in 2017/18 to 7,002 in 2020/21.

There were 6585 arrests made in 2017/18 with only 5879 in the years 2020/21.

Of the arrests made 2,442 were charged in 2017/18 which lessened to 1,634 these past two years.

Operation Provide - an initiative which sees police officers responding to domestic abuse reports alongside a trained NHS domestic abuse specialist has now supported over 1,000 victims across Lancashire.

Victim Support’s Area Manager for Lancashire, Claire Powell said: “There are many possible reasons that could explain the rise in domestic abuse cases reported in Chorley and across the country more generally. While the recent Covid-related lockdowns may have exacerbated abuse, lockdown itself is not the reason why domestic abuse occurs.

She added: “The rise in domestic abuse cases may also be because more victims are coming forward to report abuse and Victim Support remains committed to helping them access justice and move on with their lives. Anyone affected by domestic abuse in Lancashire can access Lancashire Victim Services by calling our 0300 323 0085 or visiting our website at www.lancashirevictimservices.org. where we also have a Live Chat option. We will provide support regardless of whether the abuse has been reported or not.”

Anyone affected by any of the issues contained in this article can also contact the Domestic Abuse Helpline free on: 0808 802 3333.

If you feel you are in immediate danger, call the police on 999. If you can't speak, press 55 when prompted to let them know you need urgent help.