I remember how it felt,
As an adult afraid of my own home
Not knowing if there will be any light at the end of the tunnel.
Sitting trapped in darkness all on my own
The abuser was my father,
As an adult and as a little girl.
Both experiences different,
But existing in the same world.
I wasn’t heard.
I screamed but nobody came running.
Nobody was coming
But the pain was absolutely crushing.
I couldn’t escape because I was paralysed with fear,
An end to the nightmare never felt near
It went on for years.
But hope eventually came.
The abuse – I realised was definitely abuse.
I called it by it’s name
I said it out loud
He’s abusing me.
The words felt tinted with shame,
But I told myself again and again,
To call this by it’s name.
He’s abusing me.
The first step for me was to realise this truth.
It was a giant leap forward
In a world full of victim blamers.
I didn’t think I’d be believed
But when I was, I felt relieved
Yes, there were those who cried, “Just leave!”
I say at best, that’s just naïve.
They don’t realise the reality
Lockdown. How it felt at the time.
A prisoner in my own home and in my own mind.
But with time I grew stronger.
I was constantly in fear of him,
But I couldn’t do it any longer.
There was a possible way out.
At a time when I was really struggling to cope,
Out came that little bit of hope
It was time that I spoke
Speaking out was hard, but a friend helped me through.
No pressure to leave or report to the police,
Just an offer of a listening ear over a decent brew.
His grip on me was lessening.
To be honest, I think he knew.
And maybe I did too?
By no means was it easy,
I’ll not pretend that it was.
It wasn’t a case of reaching out one day,
Then “free” the next.
It was a slow process.
When an abuser senses you breaking free,
Their grip on you tightens.
Your sense of fear is heightened.
You are frightened.
But the abuser is frightened more,
Because he doesn’t have control over you any more.
Lockdown – how it felt in my mind.
But now we have stepped in to even scarier times,
Where Lockdown isn’t a metaphor for how being abused feels,
But a reality for everyone,
Despite it feeling unreal.
Must be so much harder with Covid-19 in the air.
It must feel so unfair.
Making it harder to trust yourself
And how you feel.
Making it harder to accept that the abuse is real,
Despite them relishing in the opportunities to make you suffer more.
It’s a pain unlike before,
Each incident scarring your mind,
One after another after another after another…
Spreading lies to you
About how it’s all your fault.
It’s not your fault.
And there are people out here who get it.
We can’t relate to how much worse it must feel
To go through this ordeal
But what we can do
Is tell you that we care.
We believe you.
Please hang in there.
The myths surrounding abuse still exist,
The government are telling us to look out for our neighbours
To listen out
And to report if they hear something.
But abusers don’t always scream and shout
And there are people who get that.
But it’s never too late
To put yourself first
Abusers are tactical
In the ways they convince you to stay indoors.
They might make you feel like the danger is
But your own safety matters so much more.
We might all be in Lockdown,
With this killer virus taking lives,
But you have the right to survive this
To escape this
And explore a life away from that Hell
We believe you
Whether coercive control
Is ripping in to your soul,
Or physical abuse
Is leaving you bruised.
No matter what the abuse,
No matter when it started
No matter who is the abuser
Even if they’re a “key worker”
We believe you