Domestic Abuse – A Young Person’s Experience
D began experiencing domestic abuse from his parents at a very young age. He would be told repeatedly by his father that he wished he had never been born, that he was a mistake and that he had ruined everyone’s life. But his two younger brothers were treated with love.
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In punishment, he was hit with hands, fists, feet, belts, shoes and canes. They left imprints and welts on his body.
“I would be treated completely differently to my brothers in every way.
The majority of my clothes were hand-me-downs from my uncle.
Any clothes or footwear my parents did provide I’d wear until they were completely worn out.
My brothers would be bought new clothing and footwear regularly.
I would have to make my own toys out of things I would find on the ground.”
Domestic abuse does not just happen between spouses or ex-partners. It can happen to children too. In D’s case, he experienced a range of different forms of abuse including physical, emotional, psychological and financial abuse.
“When I grew up into my teenage years,
the inequality between me and my brothers became even more pronounced.
I actually had to beg and grovel to my parents on my last day of school
for some new footwear, because the single pair of footwear I owned were split and worn through.
They ultimately agreed because interviews were key to me being able to bring money home.”
When D finished school, his parents pushed him into work based training.
“Whilst doing my NVQ, I earnt £55 a week.
My parents would take £35 of that leaving me
with just enough money to get to work and
back on the bus and to buy lunch each day.”
Financial abuse happens when a perpetrator(s) uses money to control someone else. It can also include restricting access to essentials like food, clothing or transport, and stopping someone from improving their financial situation.
D was made to feel guilty for not earning a full wage whilst in training and would be blamed for any financial problems the family had. This economic abuse, in combination with the physical, verbal and emotional abuse he experienced was used as an attempt to control him.
Once D finished his training, the family moved to Sheffield. The home was too small for the family so D was made to sleep in a sectioned off part of the garage. His father then decided he wanted it as a home office, so he made D homeless.
D was sleeping rough for three weeks.
“I mostly slept rough, and relied on friends for food.
I daren’t admit my true situation to anyone at the time,
I felt too ashamed.”
Eventually, he found a place to live. His brother asked to live with him. D felt guilty saying no, so he agreed.
“Money was short. My younger brother owed me money for food and bills,
but when I asked him about it, he responded by cutting the internet connection,
turning the power off to my room at the fuse box,
pouring bleach in the washing machine when I did laundry and poisoning my pets.”
D moved back in with his parents to help take care of his mother after hip surgery. But his younger brother would visit and verbally abuse him.
“One night he burst into my room, held me down and beat me,
screaming that he would kill me. He said he would set fire to me in my sleep. I
barricaded myself in my room until he left at lunchtime.
That day, I got help.”
D hadn’t realised that what he was experiencing was domestic abuse. It is not always known that parents and siblings can be domestic abuse perpetrators too.
D was ready to take his own life but decided to get help and found the Victim Support website. With time and dedicated support, he got his life back.
“I genuinely believe that Victim Support and IDAS,
not only saved my life, but also gave it back to me.
I’ve spent 37 years as a victim of domestic abuse, now I’m free.”