This is the story of a man from South Yorkshire who suffered domestic abuse from his girlfriend.

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Just before he turned 30 years old, B found out he was going to be a dad. He was incredibly excited and promised himself he would always do his very best to protect his child. But soon came a change in his relationship with his girlfriend at the time.

It changed for the worse. B didn’t realise at the time, but he was in a relationship with someone who was abusive. She stopped him from seeing his friends and going out without her. She was controlling and would make him explain anything he did.

He began walking on eggshells around her to avoid abusive behaviour. B was forced into doing whatever she asked or faced physical abuse. Numerous times, he was pushed into doing sexual acts he didn’t want to do. His perpetrator made him feel inadequate and ugly.

Coercive control is a type of domestic abuse that is used to establish complete control. This fear allows the perpetrator to have full control of their victim.

It involves creating fear, isolating someone from any support, exploiting them and limiting their independence. B also experienced physical and sexual abuse, another way a perpertrator can exercise full dominance.

The turning point came when their daughter was 6 months old.

“I realised I couldn’t take much more of being controlled and

used the last bit of my strength to leave the toxic relationship.”

B moved back in with his parents and started to rebuild his life. Because the perpetrator would not allow him to see his daughter, he fought for the right to see his child in court. He has been able to see the continuing effects of abuse on his daughter.

“My child has turned up numerous times with

unexplained bruises and behaviour problems that are gradually getting worse.

When she stayed with me for a couple of months last year,

she was sleeping through the night,

and was fully toilet trained.

Now all that has reverted and I have to

reteach her the simple things.”

Domestic abuse affects children in a number of ways. Witnessing it often has devastating emotional and psychological effects, but kids can face domestic abuse too.

This can have horrible consequences for the child. The stress of this has been a lot for B to handle.

“I have got to a point a few times where I have tried to take my life because it is too much to bear.” B found Domestic Abuse Helpline IDAS who still currently support him.

He has a one-to-one worker who stays in touch, checks on his well-being, helps him with things and offers general support.

“That’s massively given me hope!” B found the help he needed to get out

of an incredibly difficult situation. That help is there for anyone who needs it.

“They offered me help in all different ways possible and are generally so supportive of me.”