A Somerset woman has told of the abuse she suffered at the hands of her partner, after he was found guilty of assaulting her.
The woman has publicised her story as a warning to others not to ignore 'red flags' in relationships.
The woman, who is now aged 27, explained that she began her relationship with her partner, who is now aged 38, in July 2019. She said that her partner's former girlfriend did try to warn her about what he was like, but she believed his version of what had happened between them.
Her partner wanted them to have a baby really quickly and she soon fell pregnant. All was well until she was about eight-and-a-half months pregnant.
She said that at her hospital appointments the midwives would often make a point of asking her if she was alright, which surprised her because up until then her partner had not seemed to have done anything wrong.
But then the abusive behaviour began. Her partner started threatening her, and when she told him their relationship was over, he violently assaulted her.
Last summer the couple did separate, but after five weeks she agreed to his request to get back together.
This quickly turned out to be a mistake when he assaulted her again while they were in the car, punching her in the face, and smacking her face against the steering wheel. She managed to raise the alarm and called the police.
The man was later found guilty of assault by Bath Magistrates' Court. He was sentenced to 250 days' unpaid work, with a jail term of 26 weeks, suspended for two years. He was also ordered to pay £500 in compensation to the woman, and a restraining order was made to prevent him from contacting her.
The woman said that she thought that she had "a perfect little family", but in fact the warnings had been there, if she had only realised.
The first 'red flag' was the literal warning from her partner's ex-girlfriend. Of course, an abuser knows what they have done previously, and will do all they can to cover it up from a future victim. As the woman found out, an abuser's explanations can be only too plausible.
But then there were other warnings from the midwives. Clearly, these should have made alarm bells ring. All too often a victim of abuse will be the last person to realise what is happening. Warnings from others, especially professionals, should be taken seriously.
The woman also described how, during the first year or so of the relationship her partner had 'love-bombed' her with extreme displays of attention and affection. Now, such behaviour can of course be quite innocent, especially at the very start of a relationship, but it can also be used as a manipulative tactic, in an attempt to control the victim.
And perhaps the last red flag to consider relates to the couple's separation.
The woman said that when she first raised the possibility of a separation her partner apologised for his behaviour, and promised that it would not happen again. But his apology, typical of an abuser who has been 'found out', counted for nothing.
And then the woman made her final, similar, mistake, in agreeing to her partner's request to get back together. Obviously, it is possible that an abuser may change their ways, but it is unlikely that they will do so without professional help. Think very carefully before allowing an abuser back into your life.
The lesson from all of this is quite clear: don't allow yourself to become a victim of abuse by ignoring 'red flags' in a relationship.
What to do if you are an abuse victim
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